Sometimes you love a place so much that hardly anything can keep you away from it. For me, that was London town. I saw just enough my first time around to say I had visited, but not enough to make me satisfied before going back to the States. Ergo, I went again! Almost a month ago (sorry!!!)!
Thursday was spent getting myself into London and situated at my hostel. Not a lot happened.
Friday was spent first checking out Hyde Park, which was right next to my hostel. It is truly a lovely place and I recommend spending some time milling about there. It is time well spent. There are all sorts of fields and trees and fountains there and I would love to spend an afternoon getting lost there. Afterwards I went over toward North Gower Street to find 221B Baker Street. Or rather 187 North Gower Street, the flat for the exterior shots in the BBC’s Sherlock. After scouting that out, I did a hop, skip, and a jump over to King’s Cross to meet up with my friend Yvonne, a fellow SPARTAN who came down from University of Hertfordshire with a friend. We had lunch at Speedy’s (the cafe at 187 North Gower Street), and to my pleasant surprise it was REALLY good! And cheap! I didn’t see more than two items on their menu below 7 Pounds! I HIGHLY recommend stopping here for food and BBC tourism! Unfortunately I didn’t have too much time with Yvonne and her friend as they had to catch an early afternoon train back to Hatfield, so I left them at King’s Cross after trying to check out St. Paul’s Cathedral with them. After that I went to the British Museum for a few hours. It was amazing looking at artifacts and relics from ALL OVER the world! Even if some of the pieces were acquired as part of Britain’s colonial holdings, it is still amazing to look at. I then sped back to my hostel to freshen up a bit before a musical nerd gathering, also known as Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, at the SSE Wembley. The first thing you should know is that when two or three nerds are gathered in one place, cool things happen. Gather a few thousand in one place and things are off the charts. Even so, I noticed that British nerds aren’t as OMG energetic as their American counterparts. They also cosplay less; I saw only a few cosplays at the concert, but the ones I saw were phenomenal, including an AWESOME Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask! After that I grabbed some McDonalds to let the Tube crowd thin out and then went to sleep.
Saturday I went to the Natural History Museum. It was wicked cool; the first thing you see as you walk in is a massive dinosaur skeleton. Somewhere within myself, six year old me was absolutely giddy. If you’re in London and even slightly the science-y type, I HIGHLY recommend going! The main focus is on paleontology and biology, but there is some bit of each scientific discipline represented here. And it’s free!!!! So GOOOOOOOO!!!!
After that I loitered about a bit before meeting up with Angeline and Victoria, two of my hostel roommates from Rome. We went to this great fish and chips place on Liverpool Street, because you can’t get much more English than that. After that we did one of the favorite things I’ve done this entire semester. We found a Tesco/other off-licence (liquor store, basically), each got a bottle of beer, and went to this place called Primrose Hill in the outskirts of Central London. This place offers a PERFECT view of the London skyline. We cracked open our beers (there were a considerable number of people doing this as well, so we weren’t doing anything particularly anti-social) after begging for a bottle opener…since we neglected to bring one. But once we got them open, we drank our beers and watched the setting sun’s rays bathe London in shades of fire. We then laid on our backs and watched the stars emerge one by one. It’s something you see in those cheesy coming of age movies, but actually doing it is indescribable. If you have the chance to do this in London, do it. I am so grateful I did.
The next day consisted of killing time before my flight in the form of seeing some smaller London landmarks. I saw an actual blue police box…oh who am I kidding, I SAW THE TARDIS!!!!!! It’s right outside the Earl’s Court Tube station, for those interested. Sadly, no Doctor or companions to be found. I then high-tailed it to St. Bart’s Hospital, backdrop for the climactic ending of Sherlock Series 2. No sign of any trouble, except for Sherlock fans writing in the dirty windows near street level. Tourists, man. After a fair bit I went back to London City Airport and flew back to Dublin.
I’m so terribly sorry for being so late on these, again. Barring any interruptions/updates/emotional posts, my next post will focus on my weeklong adventure through Ireland last week!