Monday, October 22

Lost in London

This past weekend I went to London for the first time with my friend Bella. We left early on Saturday morning and caught a train into London and spent the rest of the two days exploring and getting lost in London. After falling asleep on the train because both of us were completely sleep-deprived, we made it into London about an hour and 1/2 later and hit the pavement. We found the hostel we were staying in, checked-in and dropped off our luggage and then headed towards Camden Lock. It was only about a 15-20 minute walk to the Market and along the way there were some very interesting booths and stores. Camden is definitely an eclectic area; I’ve never seen so many body piercings, dyed hair and odd makeup choices in one confined area. 
The market was super cool however, there was everything from jewelry to clothing to food and everything in between. You could just go through all the small alley ways and get lost in all the booths for hours honestly. The open food market was on the ground floor and there were dozens of people shoving food in our faces telling us to try this and that. We found a doughnut stand with these huge homemade doughnuts that looked incredible! We ended up breaking down and buying them for lunch!! Ha. 
After leaving the market we headed towards the heart of London to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Parliament, and the London Eye. We walked through this big lush park after getting off the Underground and then suddenly you’re in front of Buckingham Palace. It was surreal to be in the place where the Royal Wedding took place! We missed the changing of the guards but two guards stood guard in front. The Queen was even in residence that day, as the flag was flying! I loved it :) 

Next on our stop was to see Big Ben and Parliament, however we got lost trying to find it! Wouldn’t you know it though, we stumbled across Westminster Abbey instead!! I was shocked at how small it was, because it seems so much bigger in pictures and on television; to the point where I didn’t really believe Bella when she said it was Westminster! Ha. But sure enough, it was Westminster and we had just ran across it. Unfortunately the tours were done for the day but we got to admire it from the outside. Then right down the road from that was Big Ben and we could even see the London Eye. Somehow we don’t plan these things very well but just magically stumble across things, which, I believe, is part of the grand adventure of traveling abroad.

That evening we headed towards Trafalgar Square, Leiciester Square and Oxford Street for some retail therapy and a good dinner. If I was ever to move to London, this is definitely the area I’d live in; it was alive with incredible night life, great shopping, awesome restaurants and bars and the streets were jammed with people…sometimes I felt like I was back in Time Square! 
SUNDAY! Sunday morning we woke up early and had a full English breakfast at a little cafe by our hostel and decided our plans for the day. We decided to go see the Tower of London, get afternoon tea, and then head back to Stoke before nightfall. The Tower of London was much more than I ever imagined it to be; in my mind it was literally a tower full of the Crown Jewels but the place was huge- it was literally like a small village inside stoned walls. The immense history behind these walls and towers was unimaginable; like seeing where Queen Anne Boelyn was beheaded! Eerie. My favorite part of the entire afternoon there was by far seeing the Crown Jewels! They were absolutely mesmerizing and beautiful. I couldn’t imagine wearing a crown that was dripping in diamonds and jewels from hundreds of years ago! Eek. 
After a quick stop to look at the Bridge, we went to have tea at some place we had found online which ended up being another incredible lost adventure; turns out some streets in London have one name on the left hand side and it’s another street on the right hand side; who knew! After a quick tea because we were so exhausted, we retrieved our luggage from the hostel and caught the afternoon train back to Stoke! It definitely won’t be my last time in London as there’s so much I didn’t get to see or do :) In fact, I plan on going back in about 2 1/2 weeks!! Ha.