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Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Last weekend, I had the chance to see the places I've studied, watched, and dreamed of visiting - London.

Myself and 5 other girls on my program grabbed the 10 PM flight to London Luton last Thursday evening, finally arriving at our Maida Vale hotel around 1 AM. We went straight to bed, knowing that in the morning, we'd be up and at 'em to make the trek across town to Buckingham Palace.

The palace was first on our list because the changing of the guard was only happening once during our stay, so we hauled it all 4 miles in a little less than an hour to make it in time. I was really hoping to get a picture with one of the royal guards a la Fergie in her London Bridge video, but alas, they were locked behind the palace gates, far away from my tourist self.

But, we still got to see several uniform-clad guards, and having recently finished Netflix's series on Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown, I loved getting to see the very corridors that her car would go through or picture her arguments with Phillip happening just behind the veiled windows. 

Next, we headed over to Westminster Abbey. I knew it was going to be beautiful, but it was utterly breathtaking. You're not allowed to take photos inside the Abbey, but I had my small camera with me, and with my cape on I could wriggle the lens out enough to take a few photos when the curators were looking away.

For a few moments before we went into the Abbey, we stopped by the British Supreme Court. It's literally adjacent to the Abbey, and even though our plan was just to go in to use the restroom (public restrooms in Europe often aren't free... one of the unexpected things I'm still adjusting to!), we briefly toured the facilities and dropped by the Supreme Court museum. 

After spending about 3 hours inside Westminster Abbey (well worth every single second, I must say), it was about 4 PM and all six of us were absolutely starving. We popped into a local pub on Victoria Street (hehe), and after getting some fish & chips and perhaps a glass of rose or two as well, we walked across the bridge that's next to Big Ben and ventured along the side of the Thames River, just taking it all in. It was starting to rain, and the wind was howling, but it was just gorgeous. The London Eye was illuminated, the entire place was bustling, and it was just one of those moments where you realize how wonderful the world can be.

As we meandered down the walkway, we stumbled into the National Theatre, which happened to be showing a musical version of Peter Pan that evening. They certainly took some creative liberties with the characters, but it was a great show and the perfect way to conclude our first full day in London.

Stay tuned for day 2!

First photo by Abbie Siner, all others by yours truly

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