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!
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
London is seriously the mothership for all things Harry Potter. Click here to read all about my visit to Platform 9 3/4 and going on the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour.
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.
Funny story about Abbey Road. We got about maybe a fourth to where the actual crosswalk is before we started dying of thirst. Not to mention our feet were dying. I had been walking the HP studios in those blasted sandals. So we decided to find a random street sign and take a picture and call it a day. That counts, right? No? K.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?