I promised a shorter time span between blog posts, and to all you 7 people out there who read the last one, take note that I followed through. Though I am writing mostly because I had a great and grand adventure in London last weekend and feel the need to share with all who read the experiences I had. So without further ado, a quick recap of the most expensive place ever! (Minus all of Norway)
I flew out of Marseille on the glorified bus/plane that RyanAir call's a Boeing 737 last Thursday, the 18th of November. Unbelievably small and cramped, I definitely remember every time I ride on a RyanAir flight why their prices are so low. Unfortunately, every seat in the plane was booked and, as luck would have it, the seat next to me, the last open one in the plane, was filled by a large smelly Frenchman who couldn't speak English and cut me off from my fellow American sitting next to me. Sad day. But, as one might imagine, life went on and I landed in London Stansted airport at 9:45 PM that night. That night I took a wild ride on a bus driven by the shortest and most unsafe driver the world has ever seen. Somehow this man poked his little head above the steering wheel and navigated us into downtown London in one hour, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. This fact allowed me to blow my first pounds of the trip on a horribly overpriced Tube ticked to my hostel. Thank you London for making the money waste a theme. That night I slept well and prepared to meet my traveling buddies in the morning after they arrived.
My friends, all six girls of them (too much for the ginger to handle), showed up not quite bright eyed and busy tailed, but they were game to romp all over London so we went on our way! First stop for the day was...you guessed it...FOOD! We grabbed some breakfast and then hopped on the Tube to see the biggest of Ben's. Much more impressive than imagined, Big Ben was quite the sight. Lots of gold and...stones and stuff...adorned the clock's sides and faces, making it much more large and in charge than a clock should ever be. Following a quick photo op of the bridge that the dementors destroy in the 6th Harry Potter movie (important site I know), the crew and I headed two blocks down the road to Westminster Abbey. Also large and in charge, this abbey also commanded a large sway on our pockets as well, with its 12 pound entrance fee playing the role of mean parent not allowing you to do something you really wanted to. After some photos and whatnot, we moved on to bigger and better things, like the queen of England!
Yes, we dropped in on the queen real fast cause her place was just up the road. We called her up but she didn't answer and the silly guards in big tall hats weren't too keen on us going in unannounced, so we settled for pictures and leaving a nasty message for the queen telling her to get some better guards. Moving on, we closed out the day with some time in the parks that are all over London and the Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge was pretty neat, also large and in charge. That night finished with a frantic hostel changing experience after the girls decided our hostel was not safe or nice (at 11 PM) and the meeting of a very nice Martinique inhabitant named Jean-Louis.
Next morning was the big day, the moment we had all waited for. HARRY POTTER ON IMAX!! Yes, we more or less came to London to see the HP movie. On Britain's largest movie screen no less. And in the end it was totally worth. I'd forgotten what an IMAX experience was like and came out of the movie with my mind blown and my head spinning and ears ringing. To put the cherry on top, a group of four or five British girls came up to me and told me I looked like Bill Weasley. Needless to say, I was more than honored and told them that they were my favorite British girls I'd met in London yet. I don't think they realized they were the only British girls I met but it don't matter. After that we wrapped up our site seeing with a visit to Abbey Road (with complimentary four-people-walking-across-a-crosswalk picture). Then a Notting Hill visit (six girls...need I say more?). Finally, we visited a Christmas carnival deal in Hyde Park, ate our dinner then decided to take the train out to the airport. So yet again, I had the honor of sleeping in or around an airport yet again. This time, though, the airport stayed open and I was actually WARM all night. You appreciate the little things after awhile I guess.
This about wraps up the time I enjoyed in the London town area. Lots of good times, money spent and memories created.
In other news, my French is progressing quickly still and I am enjoying my time here for sure. I changed my flight yesterday, so I'm coming home two weeks earlier than anticipated. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. Mostly good in my opinion. And I have peanut butter here now, sent from home. My life is good. Now for pictures!!
Ronnie the Bear! I am apparently his brother's doppelganger
You have to ride the Tube to get this one
the mean guard man
the biggest ben
and platform 9 3/4...yes we went there. and yes it exists. sort of.