London: My search for Prince Harry and Rupert GrintPosted: April 19, 2012
After my week in Italy and prior to Barcelona, I was in London for 6 nights with my friends from high school, Hannah, Alexa and Alyssa. And do you know what was so great? Having everything around me be in English! I know that’s not the most open-minded remark ever, but after three months of trying to decipher foreign languages everywhere I go, I was pretty excited. What I was not used to, though, was having to look the other direction when crossing the street! Thankfully they have arrows painted on the crosswalks telling tourists like me which way to look :)
I was so glad I had so much time there because London offers so much to do, but we were still able to have a relaxing week. When I arrived on Saturday afternoon, I got my Oyster card and took the Tube into the city where we walked around Kensington Gardens and went to “Soundtrack Night” at a bar called Monarch in the neighborhood of Camden.
Here I am at Kensington Palace! One day Will and Kate will live here, but right now Prince Harry does. I was secretly hoping he was home and would come out into the gardens so that I could like propose to him or something….
Sunday was Easter and all the girls and I went to SoHo to have brunch at this really fun restaurant called The Breakfast Club. For anyone familiar with Boston, it reminded me of a combination of The Friendly Toast and The Beehive. We had to wait a while for a table, but it was so worth it!
And for dessert we went down the street to Hummingbird Bakery where I had THE BEST cupcake of my life.
It’s called the Blackbottom Cupcake and it’s a chocolate cupcake with cheesecake filling and cream cheese frosting. YUM! And the shop is really fun, as you can see.
And the afternoon got even better when we went to St. Paul’s for Easter Evensong. I wish I could have taken photos inside the cathedral because it was the most beautiful one I have been in. Even though it was pretty plain on the outside, there was so much gold everywhere inside that the whole place sparkled. It was a really different but incredibly special Easter Sunday.
On Monday while all of my friends were in class, I decided to start checking off some of the more tourist-y activities from my to-do list. My cousin Amara was supposed to come out to London for the week and do all of these things with me, but something came up at work so she had to cancel her trip :( I still had a lot of fun, though, and it worked out well that I could do all of the things my friends there have already done while they were busy during the day. My first stop was Tower of London.
The guy in the funny outfit is a Yeoman Warden and was the tour guide for what they call the Beefeater Tour. He told a lot of jokes and give a quick tour around the grounds so we actually knew what we were looking at. After the tour ended, I booked it over to the building with the Crown Jewels. I couldn’t believe those gems. The Queen’s crown weights 5 lbs and has a 530 karat diamond…. FIVE-HUNDRED, THRITY!!! To see it, you have to go by on a conveyer belt, and I went back down this belt three times. Conclusion: I like sparkly things and would look good in a princess crown.
To end the day, I did what any good London tourist does and I went to King’s Cross Station to take a picture at Platform 9 3/4. Unfortunately, this was the closest I got to Rupert Grint (aka not close at all) but, hey, it was fun pretending to go to Hogwarts!
Here I go! We tried to take pictures by Big Ben after this stop, but, as you can see, the weather would not cooperate. Clearly, I was getting the true London experience with all that rain and wind.
Photo credit to Hannah for this great candid shot. I got some better pictures of the tower later in the week, thankfully :)
Tuesday was museum day! I started off at the British Museum where I saw a whole lot of stuff, including the Rosetta Stone, Cleopatra’s mummy, and some 2012 Olympic gold medals. I’d say this was my favorite tourist stop in London. However, the next museum I went to ended up being my least favorite spot: Tate Modern. I feel bad that I can’t appreciate modern art, but please tell me how a stuffed crow pinned to a wall, representing freedom, is art? I don’t think it was helped that I was fresh off a trip to Italy where I saw works by the likes of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. That was art. Tate Modern, not so much.
I ended the day by stopping at Buckingham Palace and walking through St. James’s Park on my way to Westminster Abbey for an Evensong service. I got to sit in the choir pews and see Sir Isaac Newton’s burial spot!
In front of Buckingham Palace. I’d say it suits me pretty well :)
An engraving by the door of Westminster Abbey that I liked.
Wednesday was shopping day. I started the day at Camden Market and then made my way to Harrods, which was incredible and sooo luxurious. I felt the need to buy myself something so I went with a milk chocolate macaroon at the sweets shop, even though the designer handbags appealed to me quite a bit more ;)
That night we went to the London Ice Bar, which involves putting on a giant, smelly blue parka and having a cocktail in a glass made of ice, in a room made of ice. Basically, you pay for the photo opp. So here it is:
After half an hour we shed the smelly parkas and went somewhere much warmer to listen to live music for the rest of the night.
Thursday was my last day in the city and I was pretty worn out, so Hannah and I went and found Abbey Road Studios and Primrose Hill. The photo of me crossing Abbey Road in true Beetle’s fashion is on Hannah’s camera, so I’ll have to post it later once she finally uploads her photos to Facebook (hint, Hannah, hint). But here is a great view of London from the top of Primrose Hill:
I felt as if I was looking over all of my conquered territory when I was up there. I saw so much of London in that week, but could have easily filled up another week with more museums, parks, and tea times. I will definitely be back one day!