We knew it would be cold and rainy in London upon arrival, but no mental preparation would have been enough. Our arrival was delayed per usual. After navigating the less than ideal Tube/Underground, the Google-estimated walk to our hostel was more like 30 minutes than 10 minutes in the pouring rain with heavy luggage. The lift (elevator) was also out in the hostel. The joy continues.
We try to remain optimistic, and despite not having time for our afternoon plans, we decide to have dinner then go on a “London By Night” sightseeing tour. We walked more in the rain to eat at the best pub on King’s Cross Road called Betsey Trotwood. This Shepherd’s Pie hit the spot in the freezing rain.
I could detail the most ANNOYING night ever, but that would only piss you off too. Basically, the bus tour didn’t happen. We just walked a lot in the rain, wasted our phone battery trying to figure out what was happening, and got yelled at by the driver of the bus tour(refund currently pending; many angry emails have been sent). Ultimately, we stopped at yet another grocery store and bought 3 candy bars each. We actually needed them. My favorite candy ever is bueno, and I think white chocolate bueno might be my new favorite.
The fun continues. I was skyping my boyfriend from the hostel hall floor around midnight when the fair alarm sounds. The doors around me all close automatically like some horror movie shit. No one seems scared, just incredibly confused. We go downstairs where the workers quickly assure us it is a false alarm. We return upstairs to girls running down from the floor above us saying there is smoke from the bathroom like an electrical fire. The workers tell them it’s a false alarm. More confusion. We don’t know what to do, so we go to bed. We are alive, so I think whatever happened was solved accordingly.
This hostel also provides a well-rounded breakfast of more toast. Seriously Europeans – eat some protein!!! I’m saying that from the bottom of my heart and not the gym rat side of my brain.
We begin our day back at King’s Cross Station, the Underground station which houses Platform 9 3/4. Spoiler alert: the scarf is not actually magic. A worker holds it for you after he wraps it around your neck strategically. Also, there were scarves with colors of each house. I wonder if he doubles as the sorting hat because he did not ask which color hat I preferred.
From there, we walk to the British Museum. We intended to stop in and see the mummies and Rosetta Stone, but who are we kidding? We had to explore. Everything we saw was incredible, and now I really want to watch the newest Night at the Museum again to relive it. They offer a sleepover at the museum to recreate it, but you have to be under 15. Pity.
Then we walk down to pick up our London Passes. Friends recommended these to us, but if you ever visit London only for a couple days – DO NOT BUY THESE! They cost 90 pounds (too many dollars) and they advertise all of these awesome things you can do, but everything we did was free! Many museums were free admission, and so much of it is walking around. Contrary to belief, there is no hop-on-hop-off bus. We were going to use it for a River Thames boat tour, but they stopped selling tickets 2 people in front of us after standing in queue for 30 minutes. That was fun.
After we got those pointless passes (which we definitely can refund at least!), we went on our own walking tour. The roads are confusing, but it was beautiful.
At Picadilly Circus, I sang Mary Poppins’ “Feed The Birds.” This might be deemed offensive? If so, I’m sorry.
We walked by a park and the Guards’ barracks/museums/etc. I really have no idea what anything in London is.
Turns out Westminster is more than just an abbey. And that’s how we got a little lost. Big Ben was big, and the House of Parliament was bigger. Like wtf could they possibly do in there?
We ate lunch by the river which was beautiful and the cutest cafe. We walked all along the Thames (and waited for that boat tour.. Moving on) and crossed to the bankside at Millenium Bridge. We passed the Globe Theatre which was neat but also not authentic but that’s tourism. We passed the Clink Prison Museum and decided we were happy our hostel was not actually a prison anymore.
We decided to take a cab back to the hostel, but hardly any cabbie accepted credit/debit, so we walked even more and took the Underground. Then we walked about another mile underground getting to our correct line. I firmly believe the Tube is actually an underground city with pointless, confusing walkways and absurdly steep escalators going up and down and up and down.
Finally, we get to our hostel. We physically cannot walk anymore, so we don our heels and I change out of my leggings for the first time since Monday (judge me I dare you). We head back to King’s Cross to take the Tube back to Picadilly Circus for a show.
We stop for a light, quick dinner at Yo! Sushi. BEST PLACE EVER. You can order your own sushi, or they have a conveyor belt around the chefs with fresh items for your selection. The color of bowls indicate the price, and you serve yourself “still or fizzy” water from the tap at your table. Awesome. We got 1 California Roll, 2 Spicy Chicken Roll, a bowl of fruit, and fried rice balls of some sort. I have to find one of these in Rome or start one in Chicago.
The Phantom of the Opera at the next door Her Majesty’s Theatre was absolutely stunning. It was a smaller, more intimate theatre, but our view was excellent especially for the price of our tickets. Words can’t explain how beautiful the show was. I want to see it again. Anywhere and everywhere.
The Tube back was crowded af but we made it back. We found a taxi line at King’s Cross and I immediately burst out into Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been All My Life.” My life should seriously be a music. We asked our driver what would happen to the money when the queen died, and he told us they would slowly phase in new currency with the king on it. Then we discussed the queen and her age and her reign. Kelsey was surprised how common it is for me to form strange friendships with taxi drivers.
My feet are actually covered in blisters and there’s no way I will be able to walk tomorrow, but it’s fine because we will be in Rome. As Kelsey put it, I am Lon-DONE! London is beautiful, but these last two days have really worn us down. We are ready to unpack in our dorm rooms and breathe in the warm, Mediterrannean air. I still can’t decide how many consonants are in that word.
I would love to return to London and spend more time there when it’s not cold and rainy. But, it’s also inspired me to write my final blog post “_ Reasons Why Chicago is the Best City” because London just doesn’t compare in my opinion. However, if if I can win over Prince Harry’s heart, I will change my mind. Later London. I will explore you more one day when I am not as bitter.