I never thought the day would come when I would finally cross the UK border, but thanks to the dwindling of my savings account (plus saving up for over a year) and EF College Break, my travel dreams finally came true. Even when I was on the plane flying to London, it didn’t really feel like happening, but low and behold, I made it through my 9 1/2 hour flight. Even with my head pounding, I was so freaking excited!
|Waiting to cross the border! UK customs wasn’t nearly as bad as US customs.|
|If you think we look rough here, you should see the picture I took while we were waiting to board the plane. Except you won’t because that picture will never see the light of day.|
I won’t bore you with my day-to-day activities, because that could literally take a million years, and it would take forever for that blog post to load, so I’ll just share some of the highlights.
Everything Harry Potter
Even though I already blogged about it yesterday, everything Harry Potter was a major highlight of this trip. So so amazing. There aren’t enough words. It’s like a Harry Potter nerd’s dream land.
We had both a walking tour and a bus tour of London. Unfortunately, our bus tour wasn’t on a double decker, which would have been ideal, but our tour guide was so wonderful that it didn’t even matter. We got to see all of the major things that people come to London to see plus a few more interesting things that I had a lot of fun learning about.
|What people call the London Bridge, but apparently it’s not actually the London Bridge, just a pretty bridge that happens to be in London.|
|Charles Darwin is buried at the church to the left.|
|Tallest building in London.|
|Shakespeare’s Globe. We didn’t get to go inside, but it was still neat to visit.|
|We visited Tate Modern and saw lots of awesome artwork. This was a photograph taken by Henry Wessel.|
|Another painting by Picasso|
|The London Eye. I didn’t ride it, but it was still pretty to look at. You could see it from so many places in Central London.|
|The Covent Garden! We did a little window shopping, but then got depressed because we couldn’t actually afford anything.|
|We walked through the little market though.|
|And saw these guys pelvic thrusting in tutus. The little boy included. The ring leader (the guy with the hat on) was trying to start em young, I suppose.|
|The National Gallery…|
|…and the blue rooster in front of it.|
|I had to.|
|I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.|
|It’s not Buckingham Palace, but we did get to see this changing of the guards.|
|Oh hey Big Ben – the bell, not the building.|
|Sister trip. Loved sharing this experience with her.|
Changing of the guards
While we didn’t get to go up to Buckingham Palace and harass the guards, we did get to see the mini parade leading up to the changing of the guards. It lasted all of 20 seconds, but it was still neat to see.
|But first, lemme take a selfie…with the band.|
On our second night, a few of us joined a pub crawl with 1 Big Night Out. It was an absolute blast. We visited five pubs, got a shot at each plus discounted drinks, a t-shirt, glow sticks and super fun company. We met people from all over the world and started dance parties everywhere we went.
|We looked so cute before we started drinking…|
|…then these happened. Bad iPhone selfies for days.|
London wasn’t my favorite place to eat compared to Paris and Rome, but the food wasn’t bad. It could have used some Tony’s though. All of my southern friends understand.
|First taste of London food! The cashier was so nice!|
|We got a free sample of something. Of what? No idea.|
|This burger was so delicious!|
|Ate at the Sherlock Holmes pub! Wish I would’ve had time to visit the museum too.|
|The cashier made fun of how I said “hello.” When I asked if they had toilets (trying to speak the lingo here), he said no and acted like he was going to get me a bucket. Funny fella.|
|Chicken and “bacon” sandwich. The quotations are there because it wasn’t like our American bacon. It comes from a different part of the pig and is less fattening. Similar to Canadian bacon. It was still really good though!|
|A few of us had dinner here. It’s right in Covent Garden.|
|Fish and chips. They were pretty delicious, but nothing to write home about.|
|These lovely folks though.|
Getting to know my EF family!
Seriously, it’s amazing how much you can have in common with people who live on opposite sides of the country. There were lots of laughs, awkward moments and good conversation with these people, and I already miss seeing them every day.
|On a casual stroll through the gardens at Buckingham Palace.|
|On our bus tour. All the cool kids sit in the back.|
|Monopod selfie because we’re tourists.|
|Welcome mixer at Ye Olde London Pub.|
Things I learned in London:
– They have English accents, not British accents. They don’t call themselves Brits. They’re English.
– Water comes from bottles, and most English people drink their water sparkling. Ask for still.
– Drinks don’t come with ice. If you request ice, you’ll only get up to three cubes.
– There are fast trains and slow trains, and if you get on the fast train, it won’t stop at the smaller stations.
– They don’t have what Americans call “lemonade.” If you order lemonade, you’ll get Sprite with lemons in it.
– There’s no such thing as personal space when you’re riding the tube.
– Public transportation actually isn’t that bad at all once you learn how to read the tube map.
– Men in London dress really nice. Most of them have perfectly tailored suits.
– English people are really nice and super helpful with directions when you’re a confused and lost tourist. Most of them are happy to help.
– Motorcycles can drive in the middle of the roads. As in, on the dotted white line.
– The tube is a good place for a quick nap if you need one.
– If you don’t get off the tube fast enough, tough luck. People don’t want to move aside for you. My sister and I learned this the hard way. I was able to get off, and she was stuck on. We probably would’ve panicked if we weren’t so sleepy.
– Interracial relationships galore! Not gonna lie – I loved it!
– Sometimes if you get on the wrong train, people will pity you because you’re a tourist, and they won’t charge you 20 pounds because you don’t have a ticket.
– Baked beans and sauteed mushrooms (separately, not together) are considered breakfast foods.
– Some English people are scared to come to America because they hear about a lot of shootings, particularly school shootings. Fun fact: Police in London don’t carry guns, just sticks. If there’s resistance, it’s just man-to-man.
– English people don’t use the term “awkward” like Americas do.
Fun English slang
– A “coffin dodger” is an older person. Get it? They’re dodging the coffin.
– They like to use a lot of slant rhyming. So if you were to say someone doesn’t have a “scooby,” it would mean they don’t have a clue, because clue rhymes with doo, like Scooby Doo.
– “Randy” means horny, so if you plan on having a child and letting him visit England, you may want to rethink naming him Randy. Our tour guide told us a story of an older gentleman on one of his tours named Randy, and when he went to introduce himself, he would say “Hi, I’m Randy,” and there were lots of giggles.
Have you ever visited London? Would ever want to go?