Torture, Towers, and Turrets

So this weekend I fit in a few more tourist attractions. London has so many things to see that it’s almost overwhelming!

On Friday, I went to the Tower of London with some of my friends. While looking at the brochure we discovered that admission to the tower also covers three different guided tours. However, as we soon found out, the “guided tours” were just sitting in a chapel with a “yeoman” telling us about the history. Fail. We decided that it would  be more fun to walk around and just see the things ourselves. One cool thing we did learn from the first tour was that Anne Boleyn was buried in the chapel we were sitting in. The Tower of London should really be called the Towers of London because there are multiple towers. My favorite was the tower with the crown jewels in it. You have to stand on a conveyer belt to move past them so unfortunately I couldn’t stand and marvel at them for hours. They were breathtakingly gorgeous. I picked out the crown I want when I marry a British royal. It was so crazy to look at them and know that these huge oversized gems were actually real. The largest diamond in the world is actually in one of the scepters, so that was awesome to see. Unfortunately though we couldn’t take pictures. After the jewels we went in some more towers, shot a bow, jousted, saw the largest and the smallest armor ever made, where Sir Walter Ralegh stayed, the execution block and torture devices. Overall it was pretty interesting, but I thought there was going to be more creepy than it was. Whenever I’ve heard about the Tower of London it was about all the horrible torture and executions they did there but there were only 3 torture devices and they were the typical devices – the stretcher, the scavengers daughter (compressor) and shackles. I was expecting to see crazy ones like the coffin of nails. During the summer, one of the radio stations in Hickory was doing a special on torture devices used in London so I was gearing myself to see all of those but there weren’t any. I remember on the show they talked about how one of the kings had a favorite method of torture for prisoners: he would put them in a box and fill the box with hot coals, but had holes put in the box so he could hear their screams. Morbid I know, but that’s what I was expecting to see.

The Scavenger's Daughter

After the tower, we ate lunch at a pub on the river, where I had fish and chips, of course. That night, Elon parents who live around the corner from us hosted a party for us students and Elon alumni in London. We had some wonderful food (lamb, duck, shrimp, mini cheeseburgers, fish and chips and many desserts) and got to mingle with the alumni who were all really nice. The Dean of Admissions of Elon flew out to visit so we got to talk to him too. We even skyped with Leo Lambert!! For those of you who don’t know the great Leo, he’s the president of Elon and we all love him. After the party, I just hung out and watch the Lizzie McGuire movie with some friends. Don’t judge, I love that movie and it got me even more excited to go to Rome!

Saturday morning I got up really early to go to Windsor Castle. We had an absolutely beautiful day- low 60s and completely sunny, such a rarity for England at this time.

Check out that gorgeous sky

Windsor Castle is actually the largest castle still in use today. It’s also the Queen’s favorite castle, and I can see why. It had beautiful gardens and the inside was so ornate and elegant.

Gorgeous garden and fall leaves

Lovely garden and fall leaves

On display there was Queen Mary’s dollhouse, which is a huge dollhouse that was built for her and each room in it was designed by a famous London designer. Everything in the dollhouse is real too, like the plates are actually made of silver. It was awesome. After the castle we explored the town of Windsor, which was a cute little town. I had my first cup of English tea and scones with clotted cream. Clotted cream sounds like such a gross thing but it was actually amazing. I felt so British!

Sunday I needed to catch up on my sleep so I didn’t do any touristy things…

Today (Monday), Clinton and I went to the Museum of Natural History. We saw dinosaurs (including an animatronic T-Rex), lots of different animals (we had fun imitating the animals for pictures) gems, minerals, and many other things.

Being a bear, obviously.

It was a really nice museum, and just like all museums in London it was free! The museum building is gorgeous too, it kind of looks like a cathedral.

Inside the main hall of the museum

Now another long week begins….wait not really because class still isn’t real life! I’m hoping we finish watching Shakespeare in Love in class tomorrow….

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A Wonderful Weekend in Germany

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Germany for a few days. I had been to Germany before about 6 years ago and loved it so of course I was super excited to visit again. Our longtime family friends, the Fischers (Harald, Inga and their daughters Sophie, Clara and Lea), were kind enough to let me, Sarah and Clinton stay with them for the weekend.

Our flight was at 8:40am Friday morning. Which means I woke up at 5am because I had booked a taxi for us at 6:15am (look at me being all responsible and waking up early). We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so I bought a latte to become fully conscious. After boarding our flight, Sarah and I high-fived and congratulated ourselves on successfully booking and boarding our first flight without any help from our parents. Neither of us had gone through this process totally alone before (booking the tickets, arranging transportation to the airport, printing boarding passes, making sure we got there on time, having all the correct papers for customs) and it felt good to know that we were being “real adults” in the real world. We flew Swiss, which we quickly learned is the best airline ever. On the short 1 hour flight, they gave us warm croissants, Swiss chocolate and drinks (compare to: the miniscule bag of pretzels I got on a 4 hour flight to California). They also gave the children free puzzles and Rubik’s cubes. We had a layover in Zurich, where I continued to say Switzerland (Swveetzerland) in a Swiss accent, much to the annoyance of Sarah (and probably the Swiss people who heard me). After another short 30 minute flight (and more chocolate!) we landed in Nuremburg where Sophie picked us up. The last time I had seen Sophie was 6 years ago so it was great to see her again. We were best friends when we were little but I’d only seen her twice since they left to go back to Germany. Every time we see each other though it feels like we’ve never been apart.

Sophie drove us home where we were greeted with hugs and kisses from the rest of the family. After settling in and eating some delicious German cake, we went to explore Coburg, the town the Fischers live by. I had been there before but it was so weird to see a place I had been to so long ago and thought I’d never see again. After sightseeing and doing a little shopping, we headed home and ate a wonderful homemade dinner of beef Goulash.

View from a hill in Coburg

Sophie wanted us to experience German nightlife so she had planned to take us out that night. German nightlife is quite different than London nightlife. In London, the last call for bars is around 2 or 3am so people go out earlier, normally around 10pm. The Germans however, like to go out late. The last call for bars is at 5am, so people don’t go out until about midnight. Some guys that Sophie knew came over to hang out with us before we went out and they were hilarious (they were all our age). One guy wanted us to call him Doug because he was obsessed with “The King of Queens” and constantly thought we were talking about him every time we spoke English. They spoke English fairly well but wanted us to communicate with them in German. Obviously this did not happen. We only learned how to say cheers (“prost”). They were also interested to know what other languages we knew, so about 5 different languages were spoken between us.

Sophie called a cab to pick us at 11:45 to take us to the first club in Coburg we were going to go. Unfortunately, Doug and the other boys didn’t come with us because they didn’t want to pay to go out, at which point me and Doug sang “Money Money Money” by Abba together (totally normal). The first bar we went to was a swanky, contemporary bar where we met some other guys Sophie knew through her boyfriend. Sophie’s boyfriend is 25 so these guys were older than Doug and his friends. Vitamir is a lawyer, Christopher is a Ralph Lauren model (I kid you not, he told me to google him) and I don’t think I ever found out what Benedict did. They knew English really well and wanted to communicate with us fully in English, which was definitely good. They were very nice and funny guys, and also total gentlemen! This was quite a nice change compared to most of the American boys I’ve met….chivalry does still exist! You just have to go to Europe!

After the bar, we went across the street to an underground club where we met up with even more of Sophie’s friends (she is quite the popular girl). It looked like you were descending into a castle’s dungeon to get to the club. They were playing crazy techno German music so we wasted no time hitting the dance floor. The way people dance in Germany is also different than the dancing you see in American clubs. It’s more about actually dancing than just disgustingly grinding, so it was a lot more fun. After dancing with the model for a while (of course) he said in his cute little German accent “I would love to have girlfriend like you”, at which point I had to break the news to him that I was only in Germany for 3 days. This made him very sad but he told me everything would be ok when we got married. To this I just had to laugh and keep dancing to distract him from any future marriage proposals. All of us were having so much fun that we didn’t even realize it was 4am when we finally decided to leave!

The next morning, Saturday, we went to the Veste Coburg, which is the castle in Coburg.

View of the Veste Coburg from the hike up to it

The hike to the castle had an excruciating amount of stairs but the view from the top made it all worth it. We toured the inside of the castle too and saw some neat artifacts.

Sophie, Sarah, Inga and I at the top of the Castle!

After the castle tour, we ate at an authentic German restaurant in Coburg. I had sauerbraten, which is definitely my new favorite food. It’s like pot roast but the sauce is such a unique sauce. I can’t describe the taste but it almost had a hint of gingerbread in it. It was served with 2 potato dumplings, also called “dunking balls”. So yummy. That night we just watched a movie and went to bed early for our full day of Oktoberfest on Sunday!

Sunday morning we woke up super early to catch the 8am train to Munich. It was kind of a long train ride so I curled up “like a homeless person” in the words of Sarah, to sleep on the way there. When we arrived in Munich we stepped out of the train station to find a Lederhosen and Dirndl outlet. Sophie had been wanting a Dirndl to wear to Oktoberfest because everyone wears traditional German outfits there so we had to go try some on. Of course we found really cute ones and couldn’t resist buying them (how many people can say they have a traditional German beer maid outfit actually from Germany?).

Us in our dirndls! Don't we look cute? Also notice the random man who stuck his head in the picture

Now that we had the appropriate outfits, we were ready to go! Oktoberfest is actually a huge fair that families go to, not just a load of drunken Germans (you find those in the beer halls). There are tons of rides, food and carnival games. Of course we had to have a beer at Oktoberfest (the thought of this made me cringe, I’m not a fan of beer) but to my surprise it actually was pretty good; I mean Germany is known for their beer, they can’t disappoint. After this we decided to go on a roller coaster. You would think a fair would just have small coasters, but we’re talking Six Flag status roller coasters here. Being thrill seekers, we chose the largest one to ride. It was called the Olympian Looper because it had five loops that resembled the olympic rings. It. Was. Awesome. We were all crying laughing from how fun it was (and of course doing the totally logical thing, I screamed the whole time despite my current laryngitis…).

The awesome roller coaster

After the coaster, we met up with yet another one of Sophie’s friends who was in one of the beer halls, Hofbrau. I don’t even know how to describe the beer halls. Just think of beer maids running around with their arms full of 1 liter beer mugs to hundreds of drunk Germans singing, dancing on tables, hugging and kissing everyone and just being ridiculous. Everyone is in such a good mood so you can’t be anything but happy at Oktoberfest. It was so much fun and I wish I could have spent more than just one day there.

Just a small sample of the ridiculousness in Hofbrau tent

On Monday, the girls had school and Inga had work so Harald took us to Bamberg, a historical city on the way to the airport to do some more sightseeing. The city is modeled after Rome so it has churches on seven hills.

View of Bamberg and the Cathedral we visited

We climbed 9 flights of spiral stairs to a tower overlooking the city, went in a Gothic Cathedral and then had cake in a gorgeous rose garden behind a palace. Just a normal day in Germany.

My favorite rose in the rose garden

After our afternoon in Bamberg, Harald dropped us off at the airport and we had to say goodbye 😦

In one of my previous blog posts I mentioned that I had a separate flight home than Sarah and Clinton. I was a bit worried about this because it flew into an airport I’d never been to and I didn’t know how to get home. But luckily, I sat next to this Swiss guy who lives in London part time and he was kind enough to take me from the airport, through customs, on the DLR train and then all the way to my tube station. What a kind man! He also spoke perfect English and German. This weekend has made me realize that Europeans are so much more intelligent than us. Almost every person can speak 2 languages well enough to communicate. Even Lea, who is 12 years old is fluent in both English and German. I feel embarrassed to admit I can barely say 2 sentences in Spanish…

Anyway, I apologize this post is so long, there was just so much I wanted to talk about! There’s even more but I had to cut it down a bit so I wouldn’t lose your attention.

Life is sweet

Ok it’s official, I’m never moving back to the United States.

If you know me, you know I have a major sweet tooth and much to my delight, English candy does more than just satisfy it.

Let’s be honest, the sweets here are just so much more awesome. In addition to having amazing candy of their own, they take American sweets and make them ten times better. Ex: Kit Kat Senses – Kit Kat’s filled with hazelnut praline creme.

Rewind like 6 years to my first experience of English candy: The Aero Bar. My friend from England had gone for a visit and brought some of these bars back. It was love at first bite. The bars are made by Nestle and have air bubbles in them so they’re very light. My favorite are the chocolate and mint ones. Of course I couldn’t find these bars in the US but was delighted to find them in Canada on our family vacation a couple years later, but haven’t had them since. I think you can guess what the first candy I bought here was.

The first time I approached a candy aisle here I literally was a kid in a candy shop. Thanks to Easter and Cadbury Creme Eggs, I love Cadbury chocolate which happens to be the major chocolate here (not Hershey’s). After having a couple weeks to try a good amount of different types, I’m here to tell you about my favorites (in no particular order).

Rowntree’s Randoms

I kid you not when I say these are the best gummies in the world. There is a large section of my suitcase being devoted to bringing these home in mass quantities. They literally are the most random shapes you could ever imagine (umbrellas, socks, alligators, ice cream cones, etc) and they have the best flavor. There are some that are just fruity, then some that are fruity with a marshmallowy bottom, and some that are kind of all marshmallowy (I don’t know how to describe these haha).

Aero Bar

I already described this above.

Kit Kat Senses.

Also above.

Cadbury Nibbles

These are little disks of chocolate that come either in milk, white, or dark chocolate or filled with caramel. The caramel are my favorite.

Starburst Choozers

These are like Gushers but they’re Starbursts filled with that gooey stuff. They have cool flavors like blueberry filled with lemon and mango filled with cherry.

Cadbury Twisted

A Cadbury Egg but in a cool twisty bar form. So basically more enjoyment for a longer time.

Now candy isn’t the only sweet thing here that I’ve fallen in love with.

*This deserves a drumroll*

CADBURY CRUNCHIE BLAST!!!!

The. Best. Ice. Cream. Bar. I. Have. Ever. Had.

The bars are honeycomb flavored ice cream covered in Cadbury chocolate that has popping candy in it (like Pop Rocks). You’re probably thinking this sounds weird, maybe disgusting. Don’t worry though, it’s normal to have these feelings at first. I did too. But then I took a bite. It’s a little piece of heaven.

Even our American fast food restaurants that they have here have cooler things. I haven’t had tried any of them yet but we’ve seen the menus/advertisements and it’s totally not fair. KFC has these awesome ice cream things called Krushems that look like Blizzards or McFlurrys and Burger King has ridiculously yummy sounding flavors of milkshakes. Will update on you when I try these.

Aaaaaand I made the best discovery the other day. There is a Krispy Kreme right around the corner from my school. Hollah!! I can officially move here now and not regret leaving any of my favorite eateries behind! And of course, they had better flavors here in addition to the originals. I had a Caramel Dreamcake donut, which is an amazing caramel filled, chocolate iced donut (they might have these in the states but in my 19 years of Krispy Kreme I have never seen them). Also on the menu: butterscotch fudge and coffee cream. Mmm

Update: just had the Butterscotch Fudge! It was like the chocolate ice creme filled donuts but the creme was butterscotch flavored. And there were pieces of caramel fudge on top. So yummy!

I hope I’ve made your mouth water at some point during this post and I promise I will continue to update you on my new sweet discoveries!

Random thoughts that didn’t individually warrant a whole post

We’ve figured out how people grocery shop in big cities!! They bring little suitcases so they can roll them home instead of lugging tons of grocery bags.

English people have weird flavors of chips. Prawn cocktail, bacon, roast chicken, and beef, to name a few.

I can’t find Ranch dressing in any of the grocery stores.

Laundry detergent is very strong scented here.

On a different note, the other day a couple was placing bets on whether I was British or American. This made me happy to know that it’s not glaringly obvious I’m American.

We went to the Portobello Film Festival tonight and let’s just say I could have found better things to do with my time. It was cool to go to a film festival but they were showing student films tonight and all I’m going to say about that is we are getting a really good education at Elon.

Weekend Update!

So this weekend was my first free weekend in London, and it was one well spent! Since I only have class Tuesday-Thursday, I have 4 day weekends every weekend. So awesome.

Friday afternoon, me, Sarah and the boys on our trip went to Camden Market, which is a huge open air market. (If you’ve seen the Mary Kate and Ashley movie “Winning London”, it’s the market where they try on all the crazy space age clothes. Obviously, I got super excited about this). They have everything there, from cute flowery dresses to leather studded costumes, Beatles bags to Ke$ha shirts, and tons of jewelry and random knick knack stuff. It’s also the place you’ll find all the punk people that are often associated with London. I bought some souvenirs for my family and I got a super cute dress for myself that was only 5 pounds! We stayed at the market until dinner time and then headed back to our flats to get ready for our night out.

Mary Kate and Ashley in Camden Market in "Winning London"

Earlier that day, me, Sarah and the boys (minus Clinton) had bought tickets for a nightclub called Proud in Camden because they were doing a Circus theme night, which included flame throwers, people on stilts and other entertainers. Proud has been voted one of the best clubs in London and it did not disappoint. You can only get in via guest list, which is why we had to reserve tickets. The club had 2 large rooms for dancing: one was all 80s music (where me and Sarah spent a majority of our time) and the other was typical DJed dance music. The coolest part of the club though were “the stables” which were private rooms that you could reserve. The boys ended up somehow getting us a room, which was nice because they had leather couches and chairs we could sit on to take a break from dancing. There was also an outdoor terrace which was nice to cool off on. The club had such a great atmosphere and I spent basically the whole time dancing, which was a blast. Navigating our way home from Proud was another story though. The tubes close around midnight so we always have to take the buses home, however none of our buses run through Camden so we had to find a bus stop and then figure out which ones we could take (Hey Dad, this is when that Blackberry would come in handy- the hardest part is finding the closest bust stop). You know I don’t know who said that girls are directionally challenged though because Sarah and I did all the navigating, while the boys just tried to find food the whole way home. After much stress and dealing with buses “on diversion” (aka detours) we made it home safely!

Saturday we went to the Thames festival, which is the end of the summer festival that’s held along the Thames River walk. We got lunch there (I had the most excellent Greek pita) and walked around to the vendors. There were a lot of neat handmade crafts. We also discovered this cool graffitied skateboarding area where we stayed for a while so I could take tons of pictures.

Graffiti and some of the bikers and skaters hanging out

Saturday night a bunch of us girls and Clinton went to see the new movie “Going the Distance,” starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. It was such a funny movie. It wasn’t just a chick flick either, as there was lots of “guy humor” in it. The movie is about a girl who aspires to be a journalist and is a summer intern in NYC. She meets a guy and they end up falling for each other, although they are aware the girl is leaving after the summer. They end up deciding to try long distance, and the movie follows the ups and downs of a long distance relationship. I won’t tell you the ending though, but I really liked it!

Today (Sunday), I woke up with a cold 😦 so I just hung out in the flat for the day and rested up for tonight. Since it was the last night of the Thames festival, there was a night Carnival parade with dancers, marching bands and other groups (even some Zombies). The festival ended with a firework show designed by renowned pyrotechnic artist, Mike Jones, who has won many firework competitions. The fireworks were shot off from 2 synchronized barges in the middle of the river. The display is actually one of only 3 displays allowed on the Thames each year. It was hard to get a spot right next to the river for the show because it was so crowded, so we watched from a side street. It was still an awesome view. And let me tell you, these English know how to put on a firework show! America, you may have 4th of July but London can do one heck of a production too!

There were always so many fireworks at once!

It was a great way to end my weekend!

Oh wait, my weekend’s not over yet because I don’t have class on Mondays! Bahaha

Deadlines and Freelancers

No I’m not talking about my journalism career, I’m talking about war. War during the era of Pax Britannica, where Britain reigned supreme as world super power, invading and colonizing countries. Now you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about war. And there’s a simple answer to this: history class. We started class on Tuesday and I’m taking London theatre, British history and Art history. I’m really excited about my classes because not only do they sound interesting, but the professors believe that learning comes from experiencing, so the majority of our classes take place outside of a classroom.

For our theater class, we meet once a week in class and then attend a play the next night. The professor is a sweet little lady who used to be a professional actor and director so she knows what she’s talking about. Wednesday night we went to our first play, and what a great way to kick off our theater experiences. The play was “The Merry Wives of Windsor” held at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater!

The Globe

Our professor wanted us to get the full experience of what it was like to go see a play in Shakespeare’s time so we had “groundling” tickets which meant we stood in the area in front of the stage (think the pit at a concert). While this did hurt our feet towards the end, I felt like we had a better experience because we were able to see everything up close.

Where we stood as groundlings

I went in to the play a little worried because I’ve seen some bad Shakespeare before where it’s so hard to understand but luckily this play was unlike any others. We didn’t have any problem understanding the actors (I wonder if this was because it was British people speaking it instead of Americans) and the play was absolutely hysterical. In a nutshell, the play is about these 2 best friends who are being seduced by the same man and decide to play a trick on him. Sounds like a modern Rom Com eh? It was one of Shakespeare’s comedies that I hadn’t read, but now I really want to read it. It was such an amazing experience to be in the country where Shakespeare originated and seeing one of his plays at his Globe theater (yes I know it’s a reconstruction but it still counts for something). It’s still not real to me that I’ve had all these great opportunities.

My next class, British history, is held twice a week and we’ll be visiting a couple museums during it. The teacher is quite a funny bloke. He has no reservations about what he says and often has us rolling in laughter. He likes to poke fun at America (“If you’re sick just don’t come to class, here in Britain we don’t work while we’re on our death beds like you Americans.” “You can all buy me a drink, this isn’t like America where you have to wait til you’re ninety eight to drink”) and he makes history interesting because he tells it like a story and uses videos too. Today he told us that many of the words we use today (like deadline and freelance) came from British war terms, which I never knew.

And then my only class on Wednesdays is my art history class where for most classes we’ll be visiting art museums in London. We’ll be going to the National Portrait Gallery, The Tate Modern and many other museums. Our teacher is actually American but she moved to London a few years ago because she liked it much more. She told us that all the museums in London are free and still thinks its ridiculous that you have to pay to get into American museums. I completely agree.

On a totally different note, me and Sarah discovered a little piece of heaven today. And that place is Primark on Oxford St. Just when we thought we couldn’t love London anymore, we walked into what is basically Forever 21 (my favorite store) times 100 million. There wasn’t a single piece of clothing in there that I didn’t think was cute. And everything was so cheap! It was so crowded though that we ended up trying our clothes on in the middle of the store instead of waiting 30 minutes in line for the fitting room. After these shenanigans, we went upstairs to discover the shoe section. I never knew what it felt like to be in love until I saw the shoes. Every type of shoe you could ever imagine in every color you could ever want. In the end, I made it out with a pair of shorts, tights, a jacket and socks for only 21 pounds. I. Love. This. City.

Sorry Mom and Dad, I’m never coming home!

Big Rocks, Slippery Lions, Creepy Guards, Scary Sharks

I’ve been too busy going everywhere in London to blog for the past couple of days so I’m going to slam you with another long post describing both of them.

Saturday we went to Stonehenge and Bath as our last orientation trip. We had about a 2 hour bus ride to Stonehenge. I won’t spend much time describing Stonehenge because I’m assuming everyone knows what it looks like, and you can’t really spend much time explaining rocks anyway. But it was pretty awesome to see. Our tour guide said that the large rocks weigh about as much as 7 elephants! Imagine moving those from thousands of miles away! And this was before the invention of the wheel. You couldn’t go up to the rocks because they were fenced off but you could walk all the way around. We spent about an hour there before we left for Bath.

Sarah and I at Stonehenge!

We then had to drive another hour to Bath. Bath was such a gorgeous city. It was so picturesque because it looked more like Italy than England, due to the Roman invasion. We had a little while to grab lunch before our tour of the Roman Baths. I had a Cornish pastry. It was a super buttery pastry filled with beef, stilton cheese and potatoes. It was actually really good.

Beautiful park in Bath

We then toured the Roman Baths which were really cool. The main bath is still intact and some of the smaller ones too. The baths are fed by a natural hot spring and there is also a cold bath for detoxing. Apparently the detox bath was good for wishing because there were thousands of coins in it, so of course we made a wish and threw our (American) coins in.

The Roman Baths

After the tour, me and Clinton walked around Bath for a little while. We went into a fudge shop that smelled amazing because they were making the fudge right out front. We had the best chocolate and caramel fudge. We then walked to the Pulteney bridge, which is one of only 4 bridges in the world which has shops all the way across it on both sides. We went into the art museum for a little while before heading back. We drove 3 hours back to London and saw some of the prettiest English countryside on the way.

Pulteney Bridge

The next day (Sunday) was our first free day in London. Me and Sarah decided to go to Trafalgar Square and do some sightseeing. We attempted to mount the lion statues in Trafalgar, which was quite the feat. The lions are much more large and slippery than we realized. They’re made of bronze so when we would try to jump and climb up their haunches, we would just end up slipping back down. It didn’t help that we were wearing leggings so it was especially slippery. I finally managed to get up with a boost from Sarah. Sarah however wasn’t so lucky. She’s a bit shorter than me so she couldn’t reach the legs as easily as I could. After multiple boosts from me and strange looks from other tourists, we finally gave up.

Me on the lion at Trafalgar Square

After Trafalgar we walked down the street to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. On the way we passed some guards on horses and stopped to take pictures with them. Mistake. Each picture led to a weird story. For the first picture, I stood next to the horse with a guard on it even though the “Horses may kick and bite you” sign freaked me out a little. Everyone before me hadn’t had a problem with the horse but as soon as I stood next to it, it nudged me with his head and then decided to lick my whole arm with his huge disgusting tongue. Everyone around me thought this was hilarious, especially an old English couple. They were just in complete hysterics and when they finally were able to speak, the man goes “You wouldn’t have minded if the fellow licked you, eh?” Talk about hilariously awkward.

See the horse going in for the kill

Picture number 2: next to the guard on the ground. I didn’t think they were allowed to talk but I said hi anyway because I felt weird just going up and taking a picture with him. So while we’re taking the picture he mumbles “you’re my new friend.” I was so in shock that he talked and didn’t even know what to say to that so I just said thanks and ran off.  After that weirdness was over, we walked to Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately we couldn’t go in because it was closed for visitors on Sunday but it was still cool to see. We had lunch at a pub called the Red Lion, where we had the best Fuller beer breaded fish and chips.

After lunch we went to walk down the Thames and then realized the London Aquarium was right along the river so of course we couldn’t resist that. The aquarium was one of the best I’d ever been to. All the tanks were uniquely designed. Some were bubbles, some were tubes, some were tunnels, some were like little coves you could walk into and they even had a glass floor over the shark tank. They had a ton of different types of fish including sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, tropical fish, rainforest species of fish, and even fish found in the Thames. It was 3 floors and I would totally recommend it to anyone. After the aquarium we found a crepe vendor outside and I got a Nutella and banana crepe which was so good. It was at this point that I realized just how happy I was. Me and Sarah both agreed that life couldn’t get any better than it is now. We are living in one of the most amazing cities in the world and have some of the most awesome opportunities on our doorstep. London has so much to do and I still can’t believe I’m living here for 3 months. I’ve never had the opportunity to live in a big city or experience one for an extended period of time so I can’t wait to see what adventures this city holds for me! 🙂

Super excited about my crepe and being in London

P.S. If you’re friends with me on facebook, I put up around 160 pictures so make sure you look at them!

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