Saturday September 12th 2015
We woke up early for a guided bus tour of London, England. The weather was crisp and clear with a chill that follows rain and sunshine bright and white.
Our tour guide, Alan, was great. He kept giving us a bunch of silly nicknames whilst addressing our group. (my little pumpkins, cherubs, porkchops, poppies, etc.) The full British experience was had right there with him.
One of the first places on our tour was near the Tower Bridge.
Our bus driver parked in an alley on the Bankside of the River Thames. Alan took us on a little walk near the Tate Modern area whilst spurting random facts about our surroundings. In London, they mix historic landmarks with modern buildings. It’s really neat to look at how the architecture intertwines to paint such a picture.
We learned a lot from Alan whilst riding around the 2 main areas of London, passing places like: local markets, Harry Potter and Dr. Who filming locations, and the clock tower/church that rang for Ebenezer Scrooge to announce the ghosts.
Our next stop was St. Paul’s Cathedral for a coffee break. Alan pointed out a Starbucks and some French coffee shops nearby for us caffeine-addicts to charge up with. Of course, we got a history lesson on the cathedral as well. This man was a wealth of knowledge and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him.
On the way to Buckingham Palace, we passed statues of famous historical figures- like Winston Churchill, saw Big Ben (named for the bell in the tower), and got a quick look at the Palace of Westminster. Then we walked over and caught the end of the changing of the guard.
After the bus tour, we split off into smaller groups. The Beatles fans (a.k.a. me and everyone awesome) went to Abbey Road, of course. It’s funny how a crosswalk can be so famous. I’m pretty sure everyone crossed the road at least 3 times. The locals hate us.
Notice the weather/lighting change in the pictures. We had everything from bright light to cloud coverage that day. I loved it!
After our little excursion, we got on the confusing tubes and met with our group for a street art walking tour. It probably would have been more enjoyable if I’d eaten more that day and wasn’t exhausted. Nevertheless, we powered through and saw some cool artwork. Somehow, we even managed to wander by Cereal Killer Cafe. (I only knew what that was because I discovered it on a blog a few months before my trip).
When the tour was finally over, Christina and I made our way back to the hostel. It took us the longest time finding the correct Underground entrance. It’s funny how the country that spoke the best English (on our trip) was the hardest to maneuver in. Somehow we deciphered the black railways from the navy and gray ones and made it around some construction and detours.
Eventually we made it to our stop Elephant and Castle (where there is literally a statue of an elephant with a white castle tower perched on its back). I found it humorous. I was so worn out by the time we got inside that I went straight to the vending machine. Cheddar crisps, a water, the U.K. version of a Kit-Kat, and I barely made it to the room.
About 3 hours later, after a hot shower, (that was on a sensor that clicks off every couple of minutes so you have to wave your arm out for the light and/or dance around in the shower for water to click back on), Ernesta, Renata, and I made our way to the farewell dinner. We got a little turned around but eventually found the place with the help of some locals.
The dinner was in a nice pub restaurant (The Marquis Cornwallis). We ate upstairs. There were things like: fried fish sandwiches, burgers, quinoa salads, salmon, ham & eggs, and cauliflower salads. I actually had the rillette as a starter. It reminded me of a chicken salad sandwich consistency in a ramekin. The top was a hardened and glazed over. I had to ask Kathy how to eat it. I spooned it out and put it on the bread it came with and the apricot spread. It was really good! First time for everything.
After farewell speeches, Kathy gave us photographs of places allover our trip. She is too sweet. Then there was talk about how to spend our last night together. Someone came up with the idea of karaoke.
We headed down the road, closer to the hostel and roped Jordan into rapping Super Base with Sam. I sang Wrecking Ball. It was a blast. Something about listening to British people sing with their accents while drunk is really entertaining.
By the time we made it back to the hostel and packed up, there were about 3 hours to sleep. Some people stayed up talking and I tried for a bit but then crashed.
Werewolves of London | Warren Zevon