“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
Second weekend trip of the semester: LONDONLONDONLONDON!
London is the New York City of Europe and there was no way I could come abroad and not visit it. It happened to be the cheapest of all of my flights for the semester and I was also able to stay with a few friends who are studying there.
I flew in Thursday night and took a train from the airport into London. I had to take a 4 pound subway ride (known as the tube) to Marble Arch, which is pictured above. My friends Shana and Brooke live about five minutes from this beautiful entrance to Hyde Park.
They also live a block away from Wetherby Preparatory School, which Princes Harry and Charles attended…
and Madonna’s flat! Too bad we didn’t get to see her.
or drop off some fan mail.
On Friday, we all (including myself, the seven girls who live in the flat I was staying in, and five girls who also came in for the weekend from Florence. It was a full flat!) headed to the Borough Market for a bite to eat.
Let’s just say, if you can’t find something to eat there, you’re not human.
So many delicious foods were available to sample such as curry chicken
and a wide variety of olive oil.
I decided to go with a fruit smoothie
and the best veggie burger I’ve eaten in my entire life, in a lettuce wrap with veggies and salsa.
Gotta love a man who can flip a good veggie burger!
That afternoon, I met up with a couple friends for a tour of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)! We had just talked about the BBC in my Global Perspectives on the Media course, so it was really cool to actually go there.
The building is shaped like a question mark because it is built on a triangular piece of land. It is not only used for broadcasting news shows, but also for recording comedies, competitive dance, cooking shows, etc. We got to see the news room and learned some new lingo such as “What’s the prospects?” for “What are today’s stories?” I’ll have to try that one in broadcasting class at Syracuse one day :]
When it came time for the volunteer portion of the tour, I of course raised my hand and got to be our tour group’s meteorologist of the day. Unfortunately, I’m still not accustom to Celcius, so that was interesting.
Photo opps were minimal inside the BBC, but here’s a view of the inside of the rounded portion of the question mark.
Tons of celebrities come to the BBC for studio performances and show appearances. We didn’t get to see any on our tour, but we did hear some interesting stories about celebrities’ ridiculous demands. For example, Madonna wanted a portrait of the pope in her dressing room. Madame Toussands Wax Museum happened to have an extra wax statue of the Pope lying around, so the BBC put it in her dressing room. When she walked in, the lights were still dim and she thought the Pope was actually standing there!
After the BBC, I had some delcious pad thai for dinner back at the flat and relaxed for a night out on the town. I have no pictures from that night, so instead above is a photo of a license plate with my initials!
The next morning, we woke up early to get to Buckingham Palace by 11:30 a.m. for the changing of the guards.
The palace was beautiful, but packed. We had to push our way through the crowd to get close to the fence.
Here are the best pictures I could manage to get which were both taken as a quickly walked past the front gate while being yelled at to keep moving by the police officers.
Even though I didn’t exactly get to “watch” the whole process, it was still surreal being in front of Buckingham Palace and actually seeing the soldiers with the fuzzy hats that I’ve seen in so many photos.
Quick story: one of my friends was standing up on that black and gold fence, as were many others. As she was about to descend back to the ground, a guard yelled at her “GET DOWN!” then immediately said “YOU, COME HERE!”. He proceeded to ask her what her nationality was (American) and how she would feel if he came to the White House or the Lincoln Memorial and started climbing on those fences (she just nodded). We all thought she was about to get arrested.
Thankfully, it ended fine, so we laughed it off and managed to smile for the camera on the fountain.
And honor Princess Diana ❤
As we walked along the park between the Palace and Parliament Square, we realized something looked a little different than the countries we’re currently spending the semester in (Spain, France, and Italy). Oh yea…AUTUMN LEAVES!
Finally, we reached the main London attraction. Big Ben. It is 10x more beautiful in real life than in photographs.
While we were at the #1 tourist attraction in London, of course we had to do the most touristy thing: the telephone booth picture. There are literally lines to wait in to get in the booth and, no, nobody is making a call. The phones do work though!
Parliament is closed to the public, but it is beautiful from the outside.
As is its next-door neighbor…
Westminister Abbey. We could’ve taken a tour of it, but with only two days in London, time was of the essence.
We took a few snapshot of the London Eye from across the river and decided to head back to the flat to meet up with people for the rest of the afternoon.
We came across some strangely dressed people gathered around Marble Arch,
How could I have forgotten that October 8th is International Zombie Day! There were hundreds drinking “blood” and “shuffling” around Hyde Park.
We grabbed a quick lunch and took the tube toward Abbey Road. Right when we got there, a two women and a cameraman came up to us asking if we were Americans. They were from NBC!!! They ended up interviewing my friend Shana because she was the only one who actually knew something about Paul McCartney’s wedding the following day. I of course ended up talking to the girl interviewing us, who is actually an American intern, about NBC’s internship program. Out of all the things London had to offer, I must admit meeting people from NBC made my day.
We almost got ran over trying to take this picture, but I had to do it for my Dad who showed me the Abbey Road Beatles record cover years ago.
I loved all of the inspiring messages written in front of the Abbey Studio.
After relishing in legendary music, we decided to switch to legendary books/movies…
On my way to Hogwarts!
The Hogwarts Express ;]
Last stop of the day, Top Shop in Oxford Circus. I bought a pair of dark washed denim shorts, although the weather in London probably made me look crazy for buying summer clothes. Thankfully, in Madrid it’s still 80 and sunny every single day.
I headed back to good old Madrid on Sunday morning. It was nice to be back at home with my señora and speaking Spanish again.
Next stop: AFRICA