London

We took the train to London from Paris (the one that goes under the English Channel) on Friday morning, July 7th.  Got there around like eleven in the morning, and we went towards our hostel, which was the same chain as the one that we stayed in in Paris.  It was right near the London Bridge, like a five minutes walk from the metro station there. When we got off the metro our big group got sorta split up, so the half of us that were left behind took like fifteen minutes to find where Galyna and the others were.  And then they had gone to the wrong place.  Apparently there were two St. Christopher’s Inns on this street… Once we got all checked in I had a lunch from the grocery store right next to us, and some other people ate some Moroccan restaurant or something that was also very close.  We all brought our food to the hostel lobby and ate there on the couches.  Then the six of us who were going to see Wicked that night changed into whatever we were gonna wear to that, and a huge group of us went to the British Museum.  It was seventeen of us, which is way bigger than the usual amount that we split up into.

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The British Museum was pretty cool; it had that famous wave painting on display, but you had to buy separate tickets for that and it was all sold out.

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We saw the Rosetta Stone, which was pretty neat.

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And they had a Moai statue here too, like in the Louvre.

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I’m not sure what this is, but I recognized it, so I figured it was famous or something.

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Oh this is cool.  So in the Louvre Madison and I came across this little piece of a plaque or something and we wondered what it was.  The sign told us that it was a piece of this palette, and the rest of it was housed in the British Museum.  Well I just happened to come across the other two pieces of it.  The top left piece, you can tell from the picture, is just a replica of the piece that’s in the Louvre.

Then the six of us left the museum to have dinner and then go to the show.  I was getting a little sick now, and I had to steal some toilet paper from the bathroom of the restaurant because I was blowing my nose so often.  We ate at a Nando’s chicken restaurant, which I didn’t love, but they’re a sorta famous English chain so I was okay with eating there.

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The show was great.  The stage is actually built for Wicked, which is something that I’ve never experienced before only seeing it in Memphis and Birmingham.  You could definitely tell the actors were British.  Their accents even came out in their singing sometimes.

The next day was our planned excursion to Stonehenge and Bath.  There were ten of us that went.  It was like an hour drive from London to Stonehenge.

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Stonehenge was just a really cool thing to see.  We got audioguides, but I’m really not into audioguides much so I just let Madison and Patrick tell me cool facts.  Theres a perimeter around the stones so that you can’t get too close.  We ran into some people from Ole Miss there.

Then Bath was neat too.  I think the appeal of it are the Roman baths in the center of the city, but we didn’t actually go in to see those.  First we ate some sandwiches at a little shop, and then while they went in to check out the abbey, I went to Starbucks to steal some more toilet paper.

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When I found some of them outside the abbey, they were following a woman holding a sign that read “Free Jane Austen Walking Tour”, and I joined them.  It was pretty neat, she told us where the author hanged out and where she wrote and where she lived, and then the tour led us to the Jane Austen Museum.  We checked out the gift shop and then decided to go to the Holburne Museum.

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That was kinda cool, but we just messed around the whole time and didn’t really pay much attention to the exhibits.  We went back to the spot to meet the others and wait on the bus to pick us up, and while we were waiting I walked around the courtyard area a little bit to see what it looked like.  There was this cool plant book thing in the park down there.

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When we got back to London and our hostel, we rested for a little while, and then the four of us met back up for dinner downstairs in the hostel restaurant.  Madison had a friend who was studying abroad in London, and she came and ate with us.  Her name is Maddy.  Then after we ate I went to get ready for bed.  I was still feeling pretty sick.

Sunday was our planned group tour of the Tower of London (the one with all 25 of us and Galyna).  Most of us walked over there together and met Galyna there.  On our way was this spike in the ground, and we didn’t really know what it was for but we took some fun pictures with it.

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At the Tower of London, since I’d already seen all of it and didn’t particularly want to see all of it again, I went to take a picture with one of the guards with Kathleen and Madison because they wanted to, and then I went to see the Crown Jewels exhibit because that was very cool.  After that I made a plan to meet up with Patrick, Madison, and Caleb, and I left.

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I walked around a few blocks of the city near there, and then I just laid down on a concrete structure where we were gonna meet up and I took a nap.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been one to sleep in public, but at least in London that was going to change.  When they woke me up we went back to the hostel to have lunch from the supermarket, and then we went to the Westminster Bridge to see all the big things: Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey.

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Then we went to the edge of St. James’s Park to meet Maddy and go into the Churchill War Rooms, a WWII exhibit.  We were waiting there for about thirty minutes, and we laid down on the grass and I fell asleep again.  Patrick had given me some medicine that morning that he’d gotten in Rome, and my nose felt much better but I was extremely dizzy, which he said didn’t happen when he took it.  When Maddy got there and we were waiting in line, I was so dizzy that I decided to skip out on the exhibit and keep napping on the grass (I also didn’t much want to see the exhibit anyway).  I slept for like two more hours until they woke me up again.  Then we went to see Buckingham Palace.  This is Maddy on the right.

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The dizziness didn’t go away the rest of the day, even though patrick said the medicine only lasted like five hours for him… After Buckingham we went to the area where Maddy was staying and had dinner at a pub near there.  Then Patrick and I went back to the hostel because they all said that I should go to bed.  We bought some cheap ice cream from the supermarket and ate it in the lobby, and then when others from our group came in to sit down and saw our ice cream, they went to get their own.  We basically had an ice cream party in the lobby with ten of us sitting there.

Monday was our last day all together on the trip!  Galyna had a planned lunch for us near Trafalgar Square, so that morning Patrick, Frank, Caitlin, and I went to check out this department store called Harrods that others had gone to and told us about.  It was INSANE.  Basically it was a very high-end department store, with literally a department for everything.  We walked into the jewelry area first, and then the watches, and then the bakery.  We found our way to the wine downstairs and then an elevator that took us to the toy department.

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Then we wandered some more into the technology area, and then the really cool furniture department.  The furniture was crazy fancy and weird.  Like one coffee table was a bunch of two-inch-thick sticks piled all together and then it looked like they used acrylic to keep them all together and then cut that whole thing into a cube so that it could be a table.  Idk it was all just really cool.  By far my favorite department.  We left there and went to Trafalgar Square to meet the others for lunch.  We couldn’t see the actual square because they were taking down the stage and stuff from the Pride events that were this weekend.  We had lunch, and it was sorta sad saying goodbye to everyone.  I mean we were still all staying together in our hostel, but some of us wouldn’t run into each other again there or tomorrow morning.  And none of us were gonna see Galyna again in Europe…

A group of us went from there to the big London-themed gift store that was by Piccadilly Circus that Mom and I went to last time.  Got a bunch of souvenirs and stuff, and then we went to Kings Cross station to see Platform 9 ¾ and the Harry Potter gift shop that was there.  We spent probably an hour waiting on Kathleen and Caitlin to get through the line to take their picture with a cart that was set up halfway into the wall there.  Eventually we got out of there and went back near our hostel to try and find the place that Diagon Ally was supposed to be based on, but we ran into some others from our group over there, and they told us there was nothing to see, so we went back to the hostel.  On our way back on London Bridge we came across a cucumber on the ground.  It was wrapped in plastic, and it was still cold, so it must have been recently dropped.  I picked it up and took it with me to the hostel. 

After showering and resting, we met back up downstairs at seven to find dinner.  We had a few ideas of restaurants near us, but then we ended up just eating at the hostel.  A lot of our group were gonna have one last partying night, and Kathleen sorta wanted to participate, but we hadn’t hopped in a fountain in London yet.  So we went right after dinner to Westminster Bridge to find a fountain to hop in.  She had one in mind that didn’t really work out (it turned out to be a hospital courtyard), and we ended up walking all the way from the London Eye to the north end of Green Park.  I had my cucumber with me and I took my picture with it at all the hotspots we passed.

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We did eventually put our hands in the fountain at Buckingham, but we weren’t satisfied and kept going.

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We put our hands in the Canada Memorial Fountain, and we were ready to go back so we walked towards the metro.  But on our way there we found a water fountain that we could dunk our heads in, and then that’s what we really counted because we got all wet.

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From the metro station near the hostel I took the cucumber back to London Bridge right near there to take some more pictures.

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Then I went back to the hostel to join everyone else downstairs enjoying each others company before we all split up.  We were all having a good time, and eventually most of them left to find a bar, and I went up to my room to pack and get ready for bed.

The next morning, the four of us going to Athens (RJ, Patrick, Madison, and me) left pretty early and walked with another group to the metro, and then said goodbye to all of them and went to our airport.  We had Callie with us, and we didn’t say goodbye to her until she got on her plane to Poland or somewhere to meet her dad.  It was kinda sad, but we still weren’t done with Europe.  Next stop: Athens, Greece.

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