A week ago today, I went to London with Lauren Swanson, Blair, Danni, and Kevin (Danni's friend from home). My flight was very early, and at one point I was afraid that I wasn't going to make it. I got on the bus at 5:30 and it takes a half an hour to arrive at the airport. My gate was going to close at 6:20. Although I was a little worried, I made it to the airport with a little time to spare. Luckily, I was used to Barcelona's T1 terminal and found my way around quite easily. I met up with Blair, Danni, and Lauren a few minutes after I had gone through security and we all made our way over to the gate.
The flight was about two hours long. When we got there, we had to go through customs. Then, we met up with Kevin who had arrived at the London Stansted Airport the night before and spent the night there. We then went to buy our bus tickets and headed to London. We dropped our stuff off at the hostel, paid for the two nights we would be staying, and then we went to meet Lauren Chassin at a restaurant called the Breakfast Club. I was very excited because Spain doesn't have the breakfast food that I am used to eating in America. Pastries are delicious but sometimes I just want all the bacon and eggs you have. After we ate, we went to the Hummingbird Cafe to get cupcakes. I got a black bottom cupcake which was dark chocolate and cheesecake. It was delicious.
Next, we went on a walk to Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Parliament, and then we rode the tube to Camden, which is a really awesome alternative area with a lot of shops and markets. After Camden, we headed back to the hostel. We were going to see if we could snag cheap tickets for Sweeny Todd, and Lauren needed her glasses if we were going to go. Unfortunately, we got to the theater too late and couldn't find cheap tickets for the next night, so we didn't get to see a show in London. On the bright side, however, we got to go to London's M&M store. I bought gifts for my host siblings. I got them each a cup that says London and has a picture of each of the M&M characters. I also got them bags filled with their favorite color of M&Ms. Julia gets a blue bag, Marcal gets a green bag, and Nora gets a purple bag. After the M&M store, we went to a pizza place called Pizza Express. Being an IU student, I loved the name. This place, however, was a lot classier than the beloved Pizza X (Pizza Chi, as Jason likes to call it). I was glad to be eating pizza. That's another food I miss while I'm here, and I hadn't had any since Italy. After dinner, we were all tired and decided to go back to the hostel since we had all been awake since about 4:30.
The next day, we woke up early and ate breakfast. Then, Danni, Lauren S., Blair, Kevin, and I went to Abbey Road. It was a really cool thing to see. Danni is really passionate about The Beatles, so it was really cool to see how excited she was to be there. After Abbey Road, Blair and I went to meet Lauren Chassin and Wales at The Globe Theater. There was a bit of a delay on the public transportation, so we had to wait awhile to meet up with Lauren. When she got there, we waited a long time for Wales. We finally found out that she wasn't sure how to get to the Globe Theater and made our way to meet her at the Tower Bridge. On the way over, Lauren and I stopped at St. Paul's Cathedral. We were thinking about going inside, but it was too expensive. It is very beautiful, and I wanted to take pictures, but I got yelled at when I took my camera out. We did get some pictures of the outside of the building though, and that is also amazing. When we finally met up, we decided to all go get a drink. I got a Strongbow which is a British cider. I wanted fish and chips, but the restaurant we went to was all out. The girls took me to a "chipie" after we were done drinking so that I could get some fish and chips. A chipie is a stand that sells fish and chips. According to Wales, its more authentic and usually tastes better. After being a little tipsy, the fish and chips tasted amazing. We all made our way over to Kings Cross to meet up with the others and take pictures at Platform 9 3/4. After the Platform, Wales and her friends said goodbye and went to Buckingham Palace, and we went to Fleet Street, where Sweeney Todd takes place. After that, Blair went to go see Sweeney Todd, and the rest of us went to restaurants. I was still full from fish and chips, so I didn't get anything to eat, but I did order some tea. After dinner, the Laurens and I went to a bar and ordered dessert to split. We got chocolate cake and bananafee, which is a toffee and banana dessert. They were both amazingly delicious. After the bar, we said goodbye to Lauren, thanked her for showing us around, and headed back to the hostel.
The next morning, we all woke up, had breakfast, packed all of our stuff, checked out, and headed to the metro. I was going my own way since my friends were going to the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. I went to Kensington Gardens, which I had heard were beautiful. I saw some really cool statues, a palace, a lake, lots of bulldogs, a flower walk, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, and a Peter Pan statue. The gardens really were beautiful. I felt a bit rushed because they are so big that I literally could have spent all day there. Since the airport was a two hour drive from London, however, I decided to leave really early. I left London at about 1:45 to catch my 5:50 flight. Although I had to wait for awhile at the airport, I was glad to be there on time. I got back to my apartment in Barcelona at about 10:30 and was so glad to be home. Barcelona is much warmer, cleaner, and there are much less people. Once again, I was grateful to be spending my semester in such a beautiful place.