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[personal profile] sarahblack
London was wonderful!

I‘m a bit bummed to be back in reality, but at least the Easter holidays are coming up. Thank the Easter bunny for five day weekends!

I‘m going to tell you all about the trip, but since it was quite packed with activities I will break it down with LJ cuts so that you can skip over stuff that doesn't catch your interest. You are of course free to skip everything and just read the tl;dr at then end. (But then you miss the pictures!)

[ profile] olukkans and I flew to London on Thursday. I did manage to swing by the gym for a noon Zumba class before we drove to the airport, but other than that I didn't do much with the day except travel.

It was a very smooth trip, no one got lost, and all the luggage made it across the sea in one piece. The hotel was lovely, and actually better equipped than our student apartment. (It had a dishwasher and a washing machine! I wanted to just move in there permanently.)

Once we‘d situated ourselves in the hotel, we went to the Tesco next door and ran wild in the aisles. A small part of what we purchased can be seen in the following picture:

We woke up before noon on Friday, excited to get to the first planned activity of the trip. The Harry Potter tour at the Warner Brothers studios!

It was amazing!

I loved seeing all the props and the Hogwarts express, but I think my favourite bit was getting to taste butterbeer! It was so delicious. I may also have teared up a tiny bit when I saw the Hogwarts Express and realised I‘d be able to go aboard. ♥

Also, I wanted to buy everything at the gift shop.

Like this replica of Professor Snape's wand.

But we ended up going with a Gryffindor scarf ([ profile] olukkans liked the colours) and a Slytherin tie (because that is my house). We also got a chocolate frog and some fudge flies!

Once we were back in the city centre, we met up with Amanda (my mum‘s friend) and she took us to Byron for hamburgers. They were quite excellent hamburgers! I‘d definitely recommend them. After the burgers, Amanda and I caught a showing of the Book of Mormon!

I‘ve been wanting to see this show for ages, so I‘m really glad that I went! It was kind of a last minute decision, so we were in nosebleed seats, but they were actually quite good! We were far away, but it gave us an unobstructed view of the stage, and the audio was flawless. So we heard every word clearly, even during the songs! (I've found the singing in musicals can often be a bit unclear.) I had of course heard most of the songs before, but it had been a while since I listened to them, so it‘s not like I had them memorised.

Anyway, amazing and funny show!

Also, I sat next to an American couple who were there all the way from Ohio to see the show. I asked if it wouldn't be easier to see the show in New York, and they told me this was just part of a trip that would lead them to Cardiff. They were massive Doctor Who fans, you see! They even had matching Doctor Who tattoos on their wrists. The gentleman confided in me that this was actually a surprise trip he‘d planned for her, since he was going to propose! Isn't that adorable?

Saturday started with a trip to the Burberry shop on Regent street. There we were able to exchange the trench I got [ profile] olukkans for Christmas for a trench in the correct size. I‘d apparently got him one that was two sizes too big! Whoops. It was a lot of fun to enter such a fancy shop and be treated like some kind of royalty. I don‘t think I've ever been brought a glass of water on a tray at a shop before.

Don't even get me started on the changing rooms

Then it was time for our tour of the Palace of Westminster (a.k.a. the Parliament buildings). It was so cool to go inside these iconic buildings! Everything looked so pretty, and [ profile] olukkans was in raptures with all the history and the politics. We weren't allowed to take pictures except in a few places, but I think those places were quite impressive!

Of course, the best bit was afternoon tea on the terrace, overlooking the Thames. Such yummy!

We walked around the neighbourhood for a while before dinner. Looked at Downing Street, Buckingham palace and wandered around St. James‘s Park.

We ended up having excellent steak and ale pies at The Imperial, a pub near Leicester square, for dinner.

On Sunday we got up really early, and not just because the clocks had moved forward one hour due to Daylight Savings. We wanted to be ready by the time Amanda came over to our hotel. Then we all left together for Paddington station in order to catch a train to Windsor.

Windsor castle is a lot of fun to visit. It‘s sort of a castle on the outside, and a palace on the inside. The queen is quite often there, especially on weekends. She was actually there on Sunday, but did not invite us for tea for some reason. We got a really good tour of the outside area with a guide, and then an audio tour of the inside rooms. You weren't supposed to take pictures inside, but I snuck a few. Shhh!

After we finished looking around, we went to the Palm Sunday evening service at St. George‘s Chapel. That‘s where King Henry the Eight is buried! The service was very interesting, but mainly it was the choir singing. Why go to a service, you ask? Well, we really wanted to see this famous chapel, and since it was closed - being Sunday - to everyone except people going in for the services, we decided to just join a service. We got to sit in the fanciest church pews ever.

For dinner we had massive steaks in the city. I had a funny moment when my steak arrived and there was no sauce. (In Iceland everything comes with a sauce, and I forget that this is not always the way of things.) But I didn't really need a sauce. I had some red wine, and the steak was beautifully cooked.

The rest of the evening was spent packing up at the hotel, since we had to check out of the hotel at 10 o‘clock the following morning.

Monday morning began with the usual last minute packing you do right before you leave a hotel.

But the highlights of Monday were checking out St. Paul‘s cathedral (mostly from the outside), getting hot chocolate at Starbucks (mmmm), finding a pub with excellent fish and chips on the menu, surviving a shopping expedition to Primark on Oxford Street and enjoying a much more serene shopping experience at Marks and Spencer‘s and H&M.

Then it was off to the airport, out of the 10 – 15°C temperature we had been enjoying in London, and into the -7°C temperature that greeted us in Iceland.

Please will this winter end?

Tl;dr version:

- Harry Potter studio tour: Very train. Delicious butterbeer. Much emotions. Wow.

- Book of Mormon show: Incredibly funny and worth the ticket price. Met interesting Doctor Who couple who were about to be engaged!

- Parliament tour and afternoon tea: So majestic! And the best scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam you can imagine.

- Windsor castle: Queen was at home but did not come out to greet us. Also, breaking news: Rich people make giant rooms with awesome paintings and furniture.

- Went to church??? (Got to sit in very fancy church chair.)

- Saw St. Paul‘s from the outside and also spent money on Oxford Street.

So. That was my trip to London.

Like I said before, I'm glad that I have another few days off coming up so that I'll be able to rest and recuperate. Although, I'm already invited to one party on Friday, and my mother got tickets for a Jesus Christ Superstar show on Thursday. Still. I think I'll probably have plenty of time to rest as well.

You guys have any plans for Easter?


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Sarah Black

March 2015

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