I am sitting in the Stansted Airport waiting to board my flight back to Seville. London was amazing. I am exhausted and my feet feel like stone... I never realized how heavy my body was until yesterday evening. I will start the tale of my adventure from the beginning, since that is usually the best place to start a story.
Thursday. Day 1.
I arrived at midnight. Planning to camp out in, what I imagined to be, a dark empty airport terminal. When I got there I was surprised to find a wonderful coffee shop open 24 hours... with couches and large mugs of coffee. I staked my claim. Eventually, I moved because the cold air was blowing on me and I was freezing to death. I bought a very large mug of coffee and 24 hrs of internet (not consecutive ... luckily) and sat. I talked to my parents, grandma, my sister's boyfriend... though by accident. I organized my schedule for the fall semester, watched Volver for my cinema class and also just browsed online. I did not sleep, not even dose. Night 1.
Friday. Day 2
6:15am... time to "get up". I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth rinsed my face and so on. Then, I looked for a map. I went to information. They have no free maps at Stansted, in case you are wondering, it cost 3£. And so the ridiculous tale of overpriced London life began...
7:15am. I got on the bus. I looked outside and it was beautiful countryside. Then I fell asleep.
I arrived in London at Victoria Station. It took a moment to orientate myself. After some needless walking I found out where I was and headed for Buckingham Palace. I got there too early. I looked in my 3£ map/ guidebook and it said that every other day in March - September they do changing of the guard every other day at 11:30. I left.
I walked to look for an English Breakfast. Not that easy to find, considering it was Friday so I needed one without meat. I was determined not to eat around Victoria Station because I thought it was too typical tourist. So, I headed to Westminster Cathedral. It was beautiful and wonderful.
I took photos and then sat to enjoy the beauty and pray. Then, I pulled myself away and though not wanting to, I left.
I did not find food over there save McDonald's. I swear McDonald's and Starbucks are taking over the world. McDonald's is the dark force and Starbucks is the true way to caffeinated salvation.
Anyway, I (you guessed it) ended up eating by Victoria station at place that had a vegetarian English breakfast. I went to the Hostel to check in. I was too early. I left my computer there and left for Buckingham Palace, hoping that today was the odd day that they did it. It was and It was really cool. I saw it, was awed then I left.
I walked through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and I fell in Love. It was extraordinary. I found Peter Pan and I was enchanted with the quaintness of the gardens. I walked to Notting Hill... admittedly because of the movie. No, I was not looking for Hugh Grant, I was looking for the charming facades that were in Notting Hill. I found them and then I left.
It took me a while to orient myself. I tried to go to the metro but it costs 4£ just to get one pass. So I left. I walked to the British Museum. Before I went in I went to STARBUCKS. You are out of your head if you think that I could go anywhere without going to that place. Actually, I wasn't going to go but it was the only place (for coffee) that I saw and my feet were killing me. I got a Caramel Macchiato, which was incredible, toyed with the idea of buying a London mug... and then I left without the mug.
I liked the British Museum. I saw exhibits from ancient Egypt, Africa, Asia, Britain, and more and then I left.
I walked to the London Bridge. It took me a while and I got lost a few times so that by the time I got there I abandoned my idea of going to Tate Modern because I was so tired. I got some really good pictures of Tower Bridge. It was cool to see it lit up at night time. I decided that 4£ for the metro was not so bad after all. I hopped on and I left.
Decidedly, it was a good decision to take the metro because I had trouble walking from the station to the hostel, which was very close. It was then that I realized I had walked extremely far and had not slept in 24 hours. I gave up my idea for dinner of Fish and Chips and I went to the Hostel to go to bed... after I skyped my mom to wish her a Happy Birthday.
9pm. I went to bed.
Saturday. Day 3.
I woke up at 6am and laid in bed till 7. I got up and stretched for 45 minutes. I went downstairs and had breakfast: toast and dry cereal. Tried to skype my Uncle for a few minutes. Emailed my mom. Checked out of the hostel. Then, I left.
I walked to Tate Britain. It does not open until 10am. So, I left and walked to The house of Parliament and visited the well known St. Stephen (Ben) before breakfast. I took photos and saw Westminster Abbey. From the outside of course, I am sure that it is quite beautiful inside... but I decided that I do not belong to the Church of England so I will not honor it, but rather the Catholic Church in Westminster: The Cathedral. Anyway, I took photos of everything in that area including a photo of our good friend Churchill. Then, I left. I walked back to the Tate. I got a huge bottle of water on the way there because I had realized I had not had any liquid other than coffee since Thursday. Then I went to this cafe called PRET A MANGER. If you ever see one, go in. The food was nice (natural) and the people were SOO NICE. I drank my coffee and chatted with them the whole time. It was nice. Then I went to Tate Britain and enjoyed myself immeasurably. The art was astounding and there were so many families with little children there doing art projects. There was an art cart for children. It was idyllic, the children making art surrounded by beautiful works of art. I walked around and studied the art and the information about the art. Then, sadly, not wanting to, I left.
At 1:15 I was supposed to get on a bus back to the airport. at 1pm I decided I had to get Fish and Chips whether or not that would mess up my travel plans. I ate wonderful and expensive Fish and Chips after a series of doubts and recollections of our last meal in Paris which led to a good hard run. I enjoyed it. Then, I left.
It seems I did so many things in London.. but I had forgotten to buy anything to show it.
I made it to the airport. And bought a magnet and two postcards. I got my boarding pass made it through security, walked around aimlessly for about 20 minutes. Then decided to get coffee and a muffin from a cute shop. I sat down and enjoyed it very much. Then I left. At, First I went to the wrong terminal. I was very early. I made it to the correct terminal with 1 hour and 45 minutes to spare.
I got on the plane...
It took off...
and I left London.
I did many things in London. I enjoyed everything I did except the leaving, which was as frequent as the coming... One day I will go back and hopefully do much less leaving and much more staying to see and enjoy.
~ I had a wonderful weekend I hope you all did too ~