Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I see London...

Hello from Texas! Fancy meeting you here!

I'm sure you're not new here. If you are, feel free to take a look around and familiarize yourself with who I am and what this is all about. Or, if you're feeling frisky, just start reading this post with no background knowledge whatsoever. Ha. This blog is the furthest thing from frisky you could possibly find. Is this getting awkward for you? Vale. Moving on, then.

Once upon a time, I almost forgot about my trip to London! It was the first time I went on a trip by myself. Let me tell you, it was just what I needed. Living in a small apartment with four other people can make you long for time to yourself. So, to celebrate my 23rd birthday, I decided to jet off to London by myself.

Oh, Barajas. How I love thee

The journey to London wasn't bad. There were some flight delays. Stansed airport is not my favorite. It took over an hour and a half to get to London. My hostel wasn't my favorite, but it was conveniently located. Let's just say I barely found it and got settled in before sunrise. Hey, there's an adventure in there, right?! Optimism strikes again. 

But when I slept, oh was it glorious! Until the cleaning lady came in. She was insistent that it was time for me to check out. On the contrary, lady! I had just arrived! She asked me at least ten times if I was sure of my reservations. Yes. I finally simply left the room to take a shower.

I hate it when hostels advertise that they have great showers and it turns out to be a lie. I'll leave it at that.

Cleaning lady was nearly done in the room by the time I got out of the shower. I got dressed and ready and went out to tackle London!

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Tower of London. Fun fact: it's not a tower

Another view of Tower Bridge

Buckingham Palace!
Big Ben

Okay... so... I cheated a bit. I took a tourist bus around London. But really, the city is HUGE. I couldn't have seen much of it if I had relied solely on the underground and my to-do list from Janelle! Plus, the bus had a stop less than five minutes from my doorstep. Hello, convenience!

It's me on a bus! 

I toured the city for most of my time in London. I learned about the city and its rich history. I hopped off and wandered the streets on foot. I took silly pictures. I asked people to take photos for me. I did some people watching at the park. I generally just enjoyed a relaxing time in the city.

In the afternoon on my first full day in London, I met up with some lovely ASU alum that happened to be in London at the same time. We had all been teaching in Spain, but had never met. We chilled at the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, went to a few museums, visited Harrods, and had a great time. It was great to finally meet y'all, Addy and Jeremy!

I met Ana in Harrods!!

Me and Addie at the Victoria and Albert Musuem

You were waiting for this photo. Admit it.

Day two in London consisted of more sightseeing and a river tour of the city that eventually took me all the way to Greenwich. I wandered the streets of the city eventually finding my way to the park. It was open, lush, and overlooked the city. I could have sat on the hill for hours. I think I walked around like a lunatic with a huge smile on my face my entire time in Greenwich. Exploring such a lovely place with my own company was overwhelming in the best way.

Overlooking the city.

East and west!

I loved the park!

I stood in two hemispheres at once, bought a magnet, and headed back to London for dinner and a quiet evening with a book before going to sleep.

I made my way back to Madrid and baked brownies for my birthday for school.

This is as close to my name as I will ever find. I didn't even plan on buying a diet coke, but it was fate. Smart marketing, Coke. 

Thus ended my trip in London. My birthday at school the next day was wonderful! My students sang to me and gave me birthday hugs and kisses all day. I went out for lunch with some coworkers after school. Claudia and Alex lit candles without adult supervision to sing to me. Tuesday night was when I celebrated with friends by going out to eat and enjoying my fair share of tinto de verano. I'm so lucky to have celebrated my 23rd year.

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