Cheers!: Week 10

14 Nov

Wow. Week 10 has come and gone. It is absolutely insane how fast time is flying. But, so far, Week 10 has been my favorite week of the trip!

To start off, I’ll give you a little scholastic rundown. Week 10 was midterm week. Yes, it was just as painful as it is in the US. A seemingly never ending stream of tests and papers and studying. Needless to say, it was 4 days of little sleep and lots of studying. And, as these tests are worth 30% of my course grade, you could say the pressure was on. But, I made it through the week alive, so that is a positive.

Another great part of my week involves the apartment where I am staying. As you probably know, I have been hardcore struggling with the locks of the place for the last weeks. However, this week our lock broke (I swear, it wasn’t me!). So, the door had to get new locks, and I, a new key. The new key is a thousand times easier to use! I have managed to get the door open on the first try every time. It makes me feel like a rock-star! And then, since it has gotten a bit chiller here in Spain, the apartment building finally turned the heat on. My host mom was very proud of the fact that we have heat. However, this is the most useless heating system I have ever had the displeasure of encountering. It is only on from 5-10pm and you only feel it if you stand two feet away from it. So, I am missing the central heating in my house. Because here, I am bundled up from 8am-5pm and then wake up freezing every morning. I know, I know, I have a rough life here in Europe.

Although the new locks were exciting, my favorite part of the week (and the part you are probably most interested in) was my trip to London! London is my absolute favorite city of all time. It was simply perfect. It was clean, beautiful, historic, and I did not see any dogs running around without their leashes on. Plus, in London, thanks to my Western European blood (the freckles do come in handy sometimes) no one could tell I was American. That is, until I started talking. So, I did not get any suspicious or judgmental stares all weekend. What a change from being in Spain!

To be in London was a dream come true. Of course, it didn’t hurt that all of the London men had incredible accents, dressed impeccably, and were simply gorgeous. Needless to say, I am already trying to figure out when I can return to London. And, considering that I didn’t meet my husband on this trip, I simply have to return to do so. I have decided to substitute my goal of a husband with a beach house for a new goal of a husband with an English accent. So, I have lots of work to do.

Friday was a day of traveling and exploring the city by night. My plane touched down in London around 4 on Friday afternoon. Of course, it was cold and raining. Surprisingly, it was also getting dark outside. I didn’t realize how early the sun sets in London. Quite strange. But, considering I was in London, I was loving life anyway. I then had to figure out how to use the Tube system by myself to meet up with my traveling companion at a station. Attempting to use public transportation by myself was an adventure. At least the Tube workers were all very friendly and helped me even when I had to ask the same question twice because I forgot the answer the first time.

My love for London can be exemplified by my first night there. I was sitting on the Tube by myself, it was raining, cold, rush hour, and I was slightly lost after having taken the wrong train. Yet, I was loving life. I had to make sure that I was not smiling like a maniac, because I was so happy to be there. Then, a gorgeous British guy (wearing loafers, a pea coat, and reading a book) sat next to me. I was in heaven. In that moment I decided that I could spend my entire night on the Tube and I would be happy just to be there surrounded by attractive males and accents. That is how much I loved London, as I would have been okay to sit on the Tube all night long. Granted, I didn’t do that, but I seriously thought about it.

So Friday night, I explored the city. I saw Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and generally got a feel for the city. It was cold, but magical. There were also Christmas trees and decorations lit up around the city, which only made me more excited. (Side note: less than 6 weeks until the big day! Hope you all have started your shopping). It was a great night. I also stopped by Kings Cross Station to see the Harry Potter luggage cart at platform 9 3/4. Also magical. Plus, at the station, I got hit on by some English men! That was really exciting for me (as you can imagine). We had a nice conversation about the US and England and then when he left, he kissed me on the cheek. Apparently Kathleen is not the only one with some game!

The London Eye!

The London Eye!

Off to Hogwarts!

Off to Hogwarts!

Saturday was a full day of touristing. And not just any touristing, but I was a legitimate tourist as I had a special pass and lanyard to wear around my neck. As you can imagine, this really attracted the men of London. I visited the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and took a night cruise along the Thames River. The Tower of London was very large and very interesting. Not only did we get to see the towers were prisoners were housed (and the engravings they made on the wall after being tortured; eerie), but also the crown jewels of England! As it had to do with the royal family, I of course, loved it! The only problem was that much of the fortress was outside. And, why was this an issue? Because I decided not to bring my umbrella out of the hostel. Rookie London mistake. It started pouring and I was drenched. It also didn’t help that one of my shoes has a crack in the bottom, so my foot was essentially in a pool all day. But I survived! Plus, I made friends with a couple from Texas who awkwardly let me stand under their umbrella.

And Westminster Abbey. Awesome. I not only got to see the tombs of many famous royals (Queen Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots), but I also got to walk down the same aisle that Kate Middleton did on her wedding day. Granted, there was no prince waiting for me at the end, but it was still pretty amazing. In addition to visiting the Globe Theater and taking a cruise, I also rode twice on a double decker bus and had fish and chips at an English pub for dinner. Needless to say, it was a very English day! I even had an English woman ask me for directions. She acknowledged the strangeness of asking an American for directions, but when I was able to point her in the right direction after only being in the country for less than 24 hours, I felt like a champion.

Looking a little wet at the Tower of London

Looking a little wet at the Tower of London

Creepy engravings on the wall

Creepy engravings on the wall

 

Westminster Abbey (and some blue skies)

Westminster Abbey (and some blue skies)

Big Ben

Big Ben

And Sunday was the day of the royals. The morning started off with a visit to St. Mary’s Hospital where Kate gave birth to Prince George a few months ago. Yes, I took a picture on the same steps that the royal family walked down. And, some people did judge me while I was having the picture taken, but it was totally worth it. So yes, that was twice that I stood in the same spot as Kate Middleton! Dream come true. Now, I just have to meet her!

Then I visited Kensington Palace (where William, Kate, and George live) and Buckingham Palace. As Sunday was a day of remembrance for England, the royals were out and about. I was at Buckingham Palace when the Queen returned from her duties, but I only saw the car she was in. It is fun to know that I was only a couple hundred feet from the Queen of England! I did actually get to see Princess Anne (one of the Queen’s daughters), but that wasn’t nearly as exciting as seeing the Queen or one of the princes. But now that I have seen one member of the royal family, I am ready to set out on my quest to spot all of them. No, I don’t think it is a strange goal.

London was absolutely beautiful on Sunday morning and I enjoyed getting to walk around the city and see the sights, buildings and parks. It is honestly the only city I have ever been to that I would consider moving to. I really enjoyed it. Don’t worry, I will stop gushing soon! On my way to the airport, I had to take a bus through the English countryside. After the initial shock of being on the left side of the road, I realized how pretty the country is as well with its rolling green hills, cute houses, and occasional sheep farm. It also reminded me a lot of New Jersey.

Quintessential London picture

Quintessential London picture

Buckingham Palace!

Buckingham Palace!

Just some English pride

Just some English pride

Blue Hens in London!

Blue Hens in London!

Favorite Picture of the Weekend

Favorite Picture of the Weekend

In case you couldn’t tell, I enjoyed my weekend in London very much. Thanks for making it through all of the gushing. And, if you ask me about my study abroad adventure when I return to the States, I will most likely talk about London, so sorry in advance!

It was exciting to get to see the city and to make my way around thanks to the nicely laid out Tube system. I also enjoyed the accents very much. It was bad though, because hearing people speak with British accents made me want to respond in my not-so-good accent. But, I didn’t because I didn’t want anyone to think I was poking fun at them! I did experience some culture shock in London when I realized that people actually eat meals at normal times (unlike Spain) and they actually move with purpose instead of meandering along the sidewalk.

London was a nice break from my life in Spain and I can’t wait to go back!

I did have to walk back to the apartment by myself in the dark on Sunday night, so as a treat for making it to the bottom of this post, I will tell you an embarrassing story. How did I survive the walk back without freaking out about the murderers? I talked out loud to myself in a British accent saying all of the phrases and Tube stop names that I frequented over the weekend. Yes, this is a true story. Yes, anybody who passed me probably thought I was a psycho. But it worked, because I didn’t think about creepy people trying to kill me. Go ahead, judge me. But I will probably do the same thing this Sunday when I walk home after my trip to Paris.

Oh, and only a little over 5 weeks until you all get to see my lovely face again!

Cheers! God Save the Queen! Pip, Pip Cheerio!

 

 

 

 

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