After a full five days in London, I finally feel like I've seen what I've been waiting to see for three years. Ever since my AP Euro trip to London and seeing the British Museum, I've been longing to be back to see it again and to see more museums that I had missed. Then, when visiting London for a weekend a few weeks ago we were basically doing just touristy things: all fun but all expensive and not very culture-filled. So finally, visiting London over our Reading Week (just means no school) was wonderful and I got to see a museum per day... sometimes two :) Plus, we really only spent money on food and Tube transportation... still an expensive place for sure, but I am always happy to spend money on food!
Anyway, from the beginning: on Thursday of last week we were off on our train to London, basically uneventful, we just played cards. Then we had to find our hostel which was conveniently right near the Tube station and easy to find. It was probably about 10 pm so we found a pub near our hostel and hung out for a little bit (plus we found what was to be our breakfast place the next morning right across from the Black Lion aka the best pub EVER) before going to bed.
Friday was a busy day... well, I guess they all were really, but we felt quite accomplished by the end of the day. We started off getting breakfast at that cafe we found the night before; I had a scone and water and we ate on our way to the British Museum. I was so excited to be back because I remembered how much I loved it the first time I had been there. And it was really great! We even decided to go grab lunch and come back to finish it up; it really is a huge place and even we didn't see all of it even though we were there for probably a solid five to seven hours. The one thing I was disappointed about was that there weren't any paintings at the BM. I either hadn't realised it last time or had forgotten but I'm a big fan of drawings and paintings but there wasn't a single one there! Lots of cool artefacts but I would probably visit the National Gallery again before the BM. After the BM we made our way down to Westminster to see Big Ben and the Abbey and we actually got to the Abbey right as they were letting people in for mass and communion so we sat in on the ceremony. I found it really interesting and informative because I had never been to either ceremony before and it's just plain cool to be able to say I've been to mass and communion at Westminster Abbey, right? :) Once the ceremony ended we made our way out into the chilly night air and went for a walk in search of dinner and we found a really yummy noodle place so I got a veggie stir-fry with udon noodles and it was just perfect. Since it was nearly nine by then we decided to head back near our hostel and do a pub hop type thing however by the time we got to our Tube station we realised we really only wanted to hang out at the Black Lion near the fire on their great leather couches... so that's what we did :)
Saturday started off with the idea that we would catch Singing in the Rain the musical but we couldn't seem to find the theatre for the life of us, so on this random walk (on which we ran into the Waldorf Hotel) we came upon the National Portrait Gallery. What I remember of this place from three years ago is basically my friends and I being so jet-lagged and wet that we just sat in one room staring at the wall trying to move. Needless to say I was quite excited to actually see stuff this time! It was very cool and a lot more fun than the first time but the real excitement of the day came after the Gallery: Hot Pot in Chinatown. Hot Pot, for those of you who don't know (as I didn't before this trip), is basically where you have a bunch of things to cook: meat, veg, noodles etc, and a big pot of broth which you get to a boil. Then, you just stick the uncooked whatever into the now hot pot and cook it! Then you eat it and you smile. So yeah, that's the gist of it. We had beef kidney (actually not gross at all), pork belly, spinach and lettuce, mushrooms, udon and glass noodles, mussels (wouldn't get it again, just didn't really work with what we had going), sea bass and a few other things to put into our spicy broth. It was delightful. We were pretty stuffed afterwards and decided it would be a good idea to walk off as much Hot Pot as possible so we headed towards Hyde Park, did some window shopping along Oxford Street, and later had quite a long walk to the Tower of London bridge (which is lots of fun to walk across... and to really, it's long if you're going from Westminster but worth it) and then stopped at a pizza place on our way back for a late dinner. And you guessed it, headed back home for some Black Lion time... it's such a great place honestly: it's basically all wood and metal with leather couches near a fireplace on one side and cool lighting. We were saying how much we wish we had a cool pub like that in Worcester... my guess is that we do but we just need to find it first.
I think that'll be the end of my Part I post; there are three more days to cover and I'm tired of writing so I'll get to the rest either later today or tomorrow!