Winning London: Part One
Just a warning, this post may be extremely long. Sorry, your fault for reading a journalism major’s blog.
Basically, I fell in love with London. I don’t think I’ve loved a city more than I loved London. I’ve always wanted to go there, pretty much due to the fact that Mary-Kate and Ashley movie was my favorite as a child.
Unfortunately, the main reason why I wanted to go to London was sold out a week in advance before we arrived. What was that reason? Nothing other than the Harry Potter Studio Tour. But, it all turned out okay. I still got to go to Hogwarts at Platform 9 3/4 outfitted in Slytherin attire (which, the guy taking my picture was very surprised I chose Slytherin. It was a Harry Potter nerd fest come true.
We took the train from Paris to London on Thursday. Bianca was expecting the train to be a clear underwater tube so we could see fish. Unfortunately, her dream did not come true. We were just in a dark, noisy tunnel for 20 minutes.
We made it to London at around 10 o’clock their time and (stupidly) decided to walk to find our hostel. Not such a great idea to walk on cobble streets with my rolling suitcase. Good thing Bianca had her giant hiking backpack, which she reminded me I should have brought one….every time I was on the struggle bus with my suitcase.
We finally found our hostel, which we were quite skeptical of at first because, well the word “hostel” just scared us. However, it turned out to be really cool because it was a youth hostel so many other college kids stayed there.
After, we immediately took a two hour scenic bus ride of the English countryside to Stonehedge. Pretty sure the bus driver thought we were crazy for wanting to see a pile of rocks. But seriously, it was such an amazing thing to see. The rocks have been standing there for thousands of years, placed by humans. And it’s one of the 7 wonders of the world (on most lists), so of course we had to see it.
We planned on going to the London Eye at night so we could be like the Bachelorette, but unfortunately it closed at 8. And we ran into a slight problem where Bianca thought her computer was going to explode back in Paris because she forgot to unplug it. No worries, she didn’t forget to.
We met our roommies, and they were super cool. One girl from the south could immediately recognize we were from Wisconsin because of our accent. Yes, it does exists (well, and she did have a roomie from Wisconsin). Another girl was from Australia, so of course I wanted to talk to her. Pretty sure she might have been my first real Australian I’ve ever met. A different girl we met later….well when she went to bed at 10 and we came in at 12 kinda loud. OOPS. It’s cool.
The next day we went on our tourist excursion of London. AKA, let’s ride the double decker bus and walk until our feet were about to fall off. And yes, I’m pretty sure Bianca’s feet almost did fall off.
We started off with attempting to find where to buy the hop on hop off bus tickets. Surprising, it only took us 15 minutes to find. We hopped on a bus and I felt like Amanda Bynes in What a Girl Wants (obviously before she got crazy). We got off at a stop by where the building they used as the Ministry of Magic for Harry Potter, took a picture, and then found a British guard to take a picture with. Typical. Even more typical, we took a picture in a London phone booth. And yes, it smelt like straight up piss. After, we quickly took a picture by a fountain and threw a penny in the well.
Finally, we hopped on the bus again and went to the heart of Touristic London: Parliament & Big Ben. Don’t worry, I got the classic selfie with Big Ben. Fun fact of the day: did you know that the tower isn’t actually named Big Ben? It’s the bell inside of it. This was told to us by 3 or 4 different tour guides.
We decided to do something different and go to the War Rooms, where Churchill had all his meetings during WW2. Which was actually pretty cool. And there was a huge Churchill museum…pretty sure I now know more about Churchill than I ever need to know.
After, we traveled to St. Paul’s Cathedral…aka where Princess Di and Charles were married. Let me tell you, that was an impressive building. We went to the top, and I decided not to go to the very tippytop…somehow I was kind of scared of heights. So, I sat on the balcony outside and waited for Bianca. And waited. And waited. and waited some more. I was freaking out thinking what the hell happened to Bianca. Well, turns out there’s two sides of the balcony, and where Bianca came out of goes to the other sides. So I wasn’t there. Pretty sure we both had heart attacks. It’s cool though we were only lost for like 40 minutes.
After, we made our way to the London Tower. I was about to pee my pants. No, not because I was about to see the Crown Jewels, but because I was about to see my best fran, Caitlin, whom I haven’t seen in 6 months. Of course I ran to her screaming Caitlin. Normal Nikki. It’s cool. Anyways, the castle was super cool. We had a weird tour guide, who we really couldn’t understand much. Embarrassing moment of the day: we decided to leave the tour early and get up out of a church…but the doors wouldn’t open and he exclaimed it to the whole group. OOPS. We then waited in the longest line ever to see the Crown Jewels, but it was so worth it. SO. MANY. DIAMONDS.
Later that night, we decided to do a pub crawl in Camden Town. Basically, it was really fun. I had my first legal drink (…or drinks). We somehow found all the midwestern people in London that night I think. We even found a guy who goes to UW Madison, crazy. Of course, dumb Nikki and Bianca thought it would be a great idea to save money and walk back to our hostel. Nope, we got lost of course. Don’t worry though, we asked nice Londoners where we should go (people are a lot nicer there than Paris. And less sketchy. And speak English). We ended up taking one of those bike taxi things to get home. Which, yes, was quite fun.
THINGS I LEARNED:
1. British guys have weird looking mustaches. But British dads all have shaved heads.
2. McDonalds has waffle fries over there. If this was implemented in the states, I would actually eat at McDonalds (Don’t worry guys, I only ate at McDonalds because I had to pee).
3. Watch out while walking. That whole driving on the other side of the road thing is quite confusing.
4. Yes, you will start talking in a British accent by the end of your trip. It’s perfectly okay.5.
5. Yes, you will feel like Harry Potter
6. Yes, you will want to listen to the Beatles while your over there.
7. Crisps are chips.