Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Loving London

Last weekend Steph and I stayed with my friend Andre in London, which was an extremely good time. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and say that this was the best trip I have been on so far this year. Not only am I completely in love with London and England itself, but I just had a really great time there in general.
On Thursday night, we got in around 6 and decided to get some fish and chips and a drink at a nearby pub. We dropped our stuff off at Andre's apartment, which happened to be a very convenient location for us throughout the trip. We walked to a pub in Covent Garden and got some fish and chips/ strongbow. It was probably the best meal I've had yet, no lie. Steph and I really felt like we were experiencing genuine English culture. One of my favorite things about English culture is how they head to the pubs after work to drink and socialize casually. The thing that is cool about the pubs is that they are so old and have so much character to them, unlike many of the bars in America. Hearing the English accent in the background never hurts either :-) . So after this, we went to a bar near Andre's campus, which is called the London School of Economics and Political Science. This bar was full of students and was pretty laid back, so we just sat on some couches and talked. He made us try this thing called a snakebite, which is Strongbow mixed with liquor. It's pink and has an "s" drawn on the top of the foam...pretty nifty. After staying here for a short while, we decided that we were exhausted and wanted to get to sleep so that we could do a ton of sightseeing the next day.
On Friday morning, we woke up early and headed out to see the city. We started in Notting Hill, walked through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, went to Harrod's, then we headed to The parliament buildings, big ben, buckingham, st. james' park, then we headed to southwark ( the tate, the globe, the millenium bridge, etc.). We also walked by St. Pauls. It was just so intense! We were absolutely exhausted out of our minds. I got to see the Tate this time. This museum is the only modern art museum that I have visited whileover here, and it was definately a welcome change. I have never been one to appreciate modern art, but this time it just really struck meas fascinating for some reason. Sometimes I still don't get it, b ut at any rate, I appreciate it and admire it. After all of this, we walked around Soho and got dinner at a cheap Indian restaurant, because Andre pretty much lives off of nothing and we felt that we should treat him for being so hospitable to us. I'm sure he enjoyed it. Soho was really a unique part of town. Honestly, I can't really describe it, but it was full of cute little bars, boutiques, and other shops...all very antique looking. Covent Garden was sort of the same type of thing. They are both mainly pedestrian districts, so it just has less of the busy urban feel, which I liked. That night, we went to a club sort of thing at King's College, which was a lot of fun. They played 90's music, so it was fun to reminisce on the old times ( N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, etc. haha).
On Saturday, we decided to head to Oxford, because I have always wanted to see it and also I wanted to see what was outside of th ebusy city. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible and we were constantly ducking into buildings to avoid the wind and rain, but overall it was a great experience, because it's just such a beautiful old campus. We went into Christ Church, which is this really old college located in the town of Oxford. Parts of Harry Potter were filmed here. We saw the dining hall that is used for the films, and walking around the campus just reminded me of the movie...pretty awesome. After that we just walked around town and then stopped into an antique bookstore. I finally got an antique book! I could not decide, but I finally purchased Great Expectations/ oliver Twist. It was one of the cheapest ones, so it isn't a really old edition, but nevertheless, I can say that I got an antique book in Oxford, England, which is an exciting claim for an English major to make! haha
Saturday night we met up with my friend Ruth and her friend who is studying in Leeds. We went to Picadilly Circus, which was absolutely out of control. I felt like I was in New York city or something. All the girls were dressed to the nines, and everybody was looking for the best nightclub, so they had promoters outside selling VIP passes, etc. I seriously felt like a ragamuffin amongst all of this A-listers. The rain was coming down like crazy too, so this added to the craziness. We kept searching for the cheapest place for like an hour, until we finally decided on this one club called Oxygen. It was full of weirdos and it made me feel really uncomfortable. I have never felt so intimated/awkward in my life. I expected it to be this way though, I guess. I kind of just stood there until we all mutually agreed that it was absolutely no fun at all. So we left and trudged home in the rain. Hey, it was an experience! haha
On Sunday,we went to the British Museum and the British Library, both of which were amazing. The British Museum has the biggest collection of Egyptian relics that I have everseen in my life. There were tons of old tombs from mummies and collections of burialtreasures.I usedto be obsessed with mummieswhen I was little, so I was in heaven, haha. They also had tons of gold from as far back as 2,000 B.C., which is some o fthe oldest stuff I have ever seen. That was cool,but way too much to see in an hour.
The british library had original manuscripts of some of the best books ever written..including Beowulf and Shakespeare's First Folio. I was literally drooling.I could not believe that I was actually seeing these things! After this, we headed to southwark againa nd had a drink at the George Inn, which is where Charles Dickens and Shakespeare used to drink!Talk about an English major's heaven! I literally was in heaven there. That was hands down the coolest pub I've been in and probably ever will. I was so sad to leave. If I could, I would move to London or England in questions asked. I am in love.

1 comment:

Ronnie K said...


I was so glad to see you visited the Tate - we went there with Mgean in 2005 and I loved it - did you walk that path between the buildings that had voices saying different phrases coming out of the walls ? That was very surreal - we also visited The George while we were there - my favorite as well - I hope you had a John Smith's Extra Smooth on draught - it's the best with a ham croissant - yummy !

Can't wait to see you in a few weeks and hear more about London - if you go back you have top go inside St. Paul's where Princess Diana was married - we went to an Anglican Mass and loved it !

Love, Uncle Ron