Friday, June 3, 2011

One Last Adventure

I keep saying how sad I am that I didn't travel all over Europe this semester but I really did enjoy my three visits to London. If I didn't have a great family at home and a bunch of wonderful friends I could totally leave my life behind and settle into the great city. I would more or less say I'm a country girl at heart but there is just something about London that makes me so happy. I love the buzz of the city and there is always something exciting going on. If you end up being bored in London, then you are not trying at all to have any fun. If I would have studied in London this semester I would have been out of money in a month, I guarantee it! I could easily spend the rest of my life's savings going to the shows in London alone! Overall, going to London three times was worth not traveling around the rest of Europe, guess I will just have to come back sometime in the future and see what I all missed!

Monday morning started out at 5 AM and not because I wanted to. I woke up and couldn't fall back asleep because I was so excited. Around 6 I finally rolled out of bed and decided to get ready for the day. By 7:30 I was showered and fed and all ready to walk out the door. We were almost to the train station when I realized I forgot my iPod so I ran all the way back to the room to get it. Traveling is never fun without music so I thought it was worth going back for. By the time I started walking back to the station, Riley was on her way back up because she forgot her concert tickets. Good thing we left early. I waited for Riley and once she caught up to me we decided to run just in case the train was early. Good thing we did because by the time we got to the platform the train was just about ready to pull away. I was exhausted by the time we got on the train because it is just so much fun running up and down hills at 7:30 in the morning with a huge back pack. Oh well, we made it. Funny part was, Riley and I are usually waiting for Sheilagh and she was the one that had it all together that morning. The remainder of the trip everything that would go wrong we referred to as riding the "struggle bus" haha!

The rest of the travels to London were pretty uneventful. It rained the whole way there so we decided instead of walking to our hostel we would jump on the underground. There is something beautifully awful that I love about the underground. The people are packed into these tiny little trains that go through little tubs at 90 miles an hour, just crazy, but I love it. We also had to rework our route because one of the lines was closed that we wanted to take. Everything in London is currently under construction because they are revamping everything for the Olympics in 2012. Once at our hostel we were told we were too early to check in so we ate our lunch, put our back packs in the luggage storage and headed out to explore. The day cleared up petty nice so the walk was enjoyable. We decided we wanted to go inside of Westminster Abbey so thats where we headed. Westminster is the most glamorous abbey I have been in this semester and it is very sad that there were no pictures allowed. There were hundreds of tombs of kings and queens and other famous people in the Abbey. I thought the coolest one was Charles Darwin. After the Abbey we still had plenty of time before Wicked started and the weather was kind of turning ugly so we headed for a pub. We had a round in the bar area and then eventually moved upstairs for some grub. I even managed to snatch my guiness glass before we left.Wicked was so amazing yet again! I love it more and more every time I see it. If I had the opportunity to I would see it everyday. I hope they make it into a movie some day!

The next day started with a trip to Wimbledon. Riley and Sheilagh are both big fans of tennis so they really enjoyed themselves. I also enjoyed myself but I'm not really into tennis. It was a nice long ride on the District line of the underground that we took all the way to the end. Then we enjoyed a nice long walk to the stadium. It was really a beautiful area and the stadium was cool to see from the outside. After our walk around the stadium we enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and then headed back into the heart of London. We were still plenty early for Phantom of the Opera that we would be seeing that afternoon so we decided to walk around the National Gallery in the meantime. Our friend Tiia who is from Finland and was also studying in the Bangor program this semester was also in London and met up with us at that point. The National Gallery was pretty cool and the best part was seeing one of Van Gogh's original paintings. Once it was 2:30 it was show time for Phantom! It was so amazing!!! The things they did with the stage just blew my mind and the acting and singing was perfect. I feel so lucky to have been able to see one of the greatest shows of all time. The show has been running at the Her Majesty the Queen Theatre for the past 25 years. I thought Wicked was amazing but Phantom left me speechless. I love both shows so much, I can't even decide which one I liked better. After the show we decided to do the south side of the river walk like we had done the first time we were in London. Sheilagh had not done the walk before and neither had Tiia. It was a beautiful night and we all really enjoyed ourselves. Sheilagh and I broke down and spent the 18 pounds to ride the London Eye which was spectacular. The Eye is basically this huge ferris wheel and you can see the entirety of the city. The best part of it was seeing Parliament from above.

The next day after checking out of the hostel we headed to Abbey Road to see the Beatles' studio and to walk across the street just like on their album cover. We ended up completely missing the studio the first time and by the time we walked the entire length of Abbey Road we broke down and called one of the girls back in Bangor to ask exactly where it was located. She said it was right at the beginning so we turned around and walked back. When we got to the start of the road we easily saw why we missed it the first time around. The studio was under construction and the outside was completely surrounded by blue scaffolding. Oh well! It was also easy to miss the cross walk because there were tons of them and they all looked exactly the same. After that wild goose chase we headed for another one. We went to King's Cross Station to try and find platform 9 and 3/4 from the Harry Potter books. King's Cross station was also under some major construction so we never actually found it. We were going to ask for directions to it but we were all getting tired of searching. We weren't far from Euston station so we walked there and waited for our train. The ride home was full of cards and we very uneventful. It is sad to think we won't be traveling by train anymore. I love the train system and it's too bad there isn't one in the states.

The next time I blog it will be the last time. Today is my last in Wales and in just a few short hours I will be heading to the airport. I will say it again but it is very hard to believe it's time to go home already. The last couple of days have been full of bittersweet memories and goodbyes. It is so hard to say goodbye to all the wonderful people I have met this semester but hopefully we can all cross paths again someday. I have had a wonderful family of friends here in Wales and i'm going to miss them all so much.

Until next time...


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