London: Day #3

First of all, I need to apologize for not writing this last night. I packed up my stuff (We are leaving for France today. I know…my life is tough), called some room service, and literally fell asleep with one had on my computer typing this out. Yesterday was busy, guys.

Right now, it’s 7am in London, England. At 9:30am, we are leaving for Paris, France, at which I will eat all of the chocolate and all of the bread and drink all of the wine. All.

Yesterday was a dream. There’s really no other way to put it. We woke up early and set out for a perfectly planned day. Sophie, our resident tour guide / organizer of life, set us on a course that let us hit all of the major points that we had left to see. You might not think that this was an impressive feat, but it was: They were all on opposite ends of the city.

At 8:30am, we departed and took a taxi to the Tower of London, where we saw the crowned jewels. My god, they were divine. I think the thing that stuck out to me most, though, while watching a video of the coronation of Queen-Elizabeth-the-whatever is how poised royalty is. Homegirl was wearing a crown on her head, holding a different crown in one hand, a scepter in her other hand, had this massive gold-encrusted (the wrong word, I know. 7am.) robe over her shoulders, and had to carry them all like 12 miles down this huge walkway while everybody watched. I would have tripped immediately. Like coming off of the throne, I would have been face down, probably knocked unconscious by my own scepter. This is why they never picked me to be queen.

The Tower of London was also cool because it was just so OLD. It’s weird walking around London, and especially places like Oxford, and knowing that some of these buildings are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years old. Older than the entire country of America kind of old. We saw the room where they tortured the prisoners and the awful devices that they used. I would’ve lasted 12 seconds in there, to be honest.

After the Tower of London, we hopped on a boat that took us over to Westminster House of Parliament, where we were able to sit in on some debates about current events that were important to the locals. It was interesting, to say the least, but the room was so warm that I, in true fashion, fell asleep. While I was awake, I observed that British people are so brilliantly snarky. It seemed like everyone in Parliament was friends, yet they all basically teased each other with seemingly rehearsed yet spur-of-the-moment jabs. I want to do that. I mean, more than I do now. The debate was lively and involved. It made C-span look like the home cooking channel hosted by, I don’t know, the most boring man you can think of. Ben Carson, or someone like that.

We grabbed fish and chips at a local pub, and I realized how much I do not like peas. Guys, British people love peas. I don’t know what it is. My dish was fried fish, french fries (chips) and then….peas. I felt like I was young again and my mom was trying to balance out a meal by throwing something random on there. The fish and chips were absolutely delicious, and we set out for the rest of our day.

We stopped by the National Museum of London where I got to see some of the work of Van Gogh. I died and then rose again, right there in the gallery. Miracles still do happen.

After this, we walked for awhile and attempted to find an area that everybody had raved about. It was supposed to be artsy, with a ton of cool little shops and vendors. We never did seem to find that, but we did find a gelato place and it really made up for all of it. We sat on a bench in the middle of a busy square and ate our gelato. Today I am physically paying for that, but who cares. London. Gelato.

Now to the good stuff…the stuff that you have been waiting for…

That’s right, you guessed it. Yesterday, I, in the flesh, saw Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. Sophie and I got our picture taken, and I bought myself a new wand, a phone case, some candy, a keychain, and all of the pictures that they took of us.

And if you are wondering like my Aunt Linda was last night over room service, the answer is no. This wasn’t my first wand… (“Wait…This isn’t your first wand? People have more than one?”) YES AUNT LINDA THEY DO.

After Kings Cross Station, it was about 7pm, so we hailed a taxi and headed back to our hotel room where we all plopped on the bed and laughed about the day. It’s funny to me how quickly the last 3 days has flown by, but also how much we have seen. We have literally done about 2 weeks worth of site-seeing in 3 days. We have sore buttcheeks to prove it.

So before I sign off, it’s time for my top note-worthy moments of the day. I know I had a cool name for this in a previous blog post, but it’s early and I went to bed late and I haven’t had my tea (I’m fancy now, guys.).

  • There were bobbies (police officers) guarding the entire Parliament building, and we wanted a picture with them. We kind of walked in their area a few times before we got the courage to go ask them, and when we did, we were denied. (“Bobbies can’t take pictures, madam.” That’s not what he said but it’s what Aunt Linda said he said in a very British accent.) So in true American form, we all gathered around the area in front of him, leaving a small opening in our group picture for him in the background. He looked rather stern but very bobby-ish, ready to defend the crown. And we looked like dorks because we were so excited and because we are dorks.
  • There was a man behind us in Parliament who was coughing and hacking so much, that we are all pretty sure we are now infected with the Zika virus. If we die in Paris, please make sure I am buried with my wands. Yes, BOTH WANDS.
  • While Sophie and I were taking our pictures at Platform 9 3/4, I was so nervous and didn’t know what to do with my hands. So in all of my pictures, my hand that’s not holding the wand is gently rested on my inner thigh, face out. But I’m standing…so it’s the most awkward pose in the entire history of poses. It definitely gave the crowd attendant a good laugh. That or he was like, “Get this woman out of here.” It’s a fine line.
  • I wanted to buy postcards and stamps to send some mail home, and we were attempting to use all of our remaining pounds before we get to France. While paying, I was short some change, so we were all scrounging through our pockets and backpacks looking for more…except we collectively could not figure out what the coins were. (WHO MAKES A 2 PENCE COIN 56X THE SIZE OF A 1 POUND COIN, OKAY PRINCE CHARLES GET A LIFE). Eventually, after about 2 minutes of holding each coin up to the light and asking for the total about 12 times, the cashier said, “Just give it to me.” And then proceeded to tell us that we were still short. And then, out of nowhere, this 50 pence coin appears from Aunt Linda’s pocket, and praise the lord, we were saved. The clerks were laughing at us, and I was apologizing profusely. “Gosh, I’m so sorry! We’re from America. Clearly. We don’t have a lot of coin currency.” But seriously. The coins make no sense. Or maybe Americans make no sense. I don’t know. Where’s my tea?

All in all, London has been amazing. I’m a feeler and a processor, and I’m not sure that it has hit me yet that I’m here. I’m nervous for Paris. Not nervous like it’s gonna be bad, nervous like I know how amazing it’s going to be and how many croissants I am going to eat, and I am not physically prepared for the sensations.

This is a trip of a lifetime.

Goodbye, London. You have been lovely.

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