I haven’t done a great job exploring London while I’ve been living here, not like I would like to anyway. But I have been up to a few fun things…
I explored Hamleys for the first time in my adult life. J. K. Rowling had to have gotten the idea of the twins prank store from this toy store. It was magical. The staff played with toys, showing them to customers, most of them wore wheely sneakers that lit up as they skated through the store. Life size Paddington Bears and Lego Queens. Things were bouncing and moving every where.
A group of us from the internship company went to the Shard the other Sunday. The Shard is by far the tallest building in London and England, I’ve heard rumor in Europe too but don’t quote me.
We went to the top and got a free glass of champagne. They played heavenly-type music to make you feel like you’re in the clouds and the champagne kind of sucked.
The top level ceiling was open. It was cold and gloomy. But I did maybe technically moon the city of London when I used the Shard bathroom. Anyway, I was too tired on this Sunday and went home. Some people did stay another hour and apparently I really missed it- my friend sent me this.
Nick’s completely obsessed with Arsenal and his co-worker had extra tickets- so a club football game I got to go!
Arsenal won and the entire time it was like a bunch of grown men dressing up as Where’s “Wallie”? (I was standing next to a massive sign they aren’t staring at me I swear.)
We had another event with the intern company to see Matilda on West End (their Broadway). I personally thought it was terrible. They changed the entire script!! It barely resembled the movie!! (Except they did keep the cake scene.) The actual production was good and the children were amazing- but I just couldn’t deal with the plot. I kind of may have fallen asleep, live theatre isn’t my thing. I couldn’t even do Jerry Seinfeld live standup.
I went to the Camden market once before, but my roommate and I went back today for a longer time. I. Love. Camden. It’s edgy and beautiful. I don’t have much to say, other than that you should go. The food is killer but the clothes are over priced (and creatively wonderful). So here are some of my pictures…
The weather does not permit a London open bus tour this time of year, yet the Global Experiences program that I was going through for my internship set one up for us. Some people faired the weather, but my roommate and I scored front row seats in the covered section of the top. We went through the Original Bus Tour and the “red loop”. It was nice because it was all audio recorded with head phones and no one was trying to speak in a raspy microphone the entire time that just hurt your ears. It was kind of worth it. We did the whole loop and it became way too long by the end, but you can hop off and on and go to the different sites on the loop but as a group we just stayed on. I’ll leave out the previous sites I’ve already mentioned but post pictures of the rest below. I have some captions but I’m super sorry I don’t remember some of the specifics… I was just taking pictures of random buildings off the streets that I found noteworthy and really liked.
It was a hotel statue of horses (I think) but I enjoyed the guy playing the bagpipes.
Trafalgar Square with a French tribute going on.
Royal Courts of Justice
Coolest statue in London (“dragon”)
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Just some neat window buildings I liked…
Big Ben and Parliament
London Eye from the Westminster Bridge
From the Lambert Bridge
Today for the first time I was a tourist in the city that has been my “home” for over a week now. I figured out the tube system well enough to get where I wanted all by myself (woo!).
I met my friend at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. My english sim card hasn’t come in yet, so seriously I did this one on my own. I took the tour of the Theatre (11 pounds for students).
The theatre is actually a bit from the original spot, but this was the only spot they were able to build their hand-built replica. The new playhouse was funded by a ton of celebrities, one girl even found Stephen Hawking’s name as a sponsor. Unfortunately, the tour was only of the seating and around the stage. I really wanted to go behind stage or even on stage. It was still pretty cool anyway and I enjoyed the 45 minute tour.
After that came the British Museum. We walked there and passed some pretty views, and the Millennium Bridge. This is the bridge in Harry Potter Deathly Hollows Part I that is twisted and thrown by the death eaters.
We didn’t stay too long at the museum we were just looking for a few certain pieces. but I did find a few other interesting ones.
But really we went in for the mummies. The British Museum is the home of the Cleopatra mummy even (who knew?).
We also stumbled upon the Rosetta Stone which was pretty neat.
We walked a little farther and we went through the Marble Arch to Hyde’s Park.
We went out of the park and through the Wellington Arch and past the other monuments and memorials in the area.
Last of the day was Buckingham Palace. We were strangely… unimpressed. You hear so much about it but in reality it’s not even better than the White House in my opinion (which isn’t a huge deal to me either). The gates surrounding the place were far more interesting in my opinion.
My Thanksgiving break in Europe has begun!
I got into London in the afternoon and then proceeded to sleep most of the rest of the afternoon. We went out and I had my first proper drink in a London pub, homemade Earl Grey (tea) gin and tonic water.
I woke up the next morning in London, it was surreal. Only the night before Nick divulged the secret of where my birthday vacation trip was to, within 12 hours of take off and I had no idea previously. We had to take the tube and a train to the London Gatwick airport to catch our flight to Prague.
The flight from London to Prague was only about an hour and a half but Prague’s an hour ahead of London and with all the other travel included by the time we got into the city it was 5 and dark. It seems to get dark incredibly early here. We’re staying at the Brixen Praha Hotel. It’s a 10 minute walk from the main square and tourist area, so it’s pretty perfect.
As soon as we dropped out stuff off and exchanged some money (1:22 exchange rate) we scoured the city looking for a bar that was playing the Arsenal-ManU game. After literally an hour we finally found this “sports bar” packed with fans.
We tried to go to a restaurant for dinner that Nick’s friend strongly recommended with traditional Czech cuisine. After being heavily ripped off by a cabbie we got there and found out the restaurant was closed. Great. We got a meal at this (crappy) Italian restaurant (it looked nice the food just sucked) instead next door. The city of Prague is quite small and if you want you can walk everywhere. It’s just really hard: no grid system, all the road names are in hard czech, and the road names change at certain points along the same road. So after our taxi experience we said screw it and tried to hike back up to the main tourist area. We saw a lot of crazy beautiful buildings on the way back, despite sometimes doing circles and being beyond lost. We stumbled upon some famous ones, like Henry’s Bell Tower.
The National Theater
This cool plexi glass building next to it:
The Bethlehem Chaple (which was actually super lame?)
Along with a few other random fun streets and buildings…
But my favorite is the Old Town Hall. We first saw it peeking up…
The building turned up looking like the kingdom in Disney. It was beautiful!