London Calling!!

Trip Start Jan 01, 2013
Trip End Jun 01, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, January 31, 2013

This weekend my friends and I traveled to our first country/city outside of Ireland... we hopped on a plane and spent the weekend in LONDON!

At about 3:30am, on Thursday, I woke up and got ready to go to the airport. My bag was packed and ready to go, so I just made a few last minute checks before leaving the room! I had passport, boarding pass and phone in hand with my bag over my shoulder... I was ready to go! At 4:15am our Taxi got the dorms and we took the Taxi to the airport!! You could say that we were zombies... which we kind of were... but we were also super excited to be on our way to London! We arrived at the airport around 4:35-4:40, got our bags and headed inside! Our line to check-in was not yet open so we found a nice place to sit and relaxed until 5am when the line would open. While waiting, I FaceTimed my friends at school, it wasn't even midnight there yet, so it was perfect, but also kind of weird because they were still in yesterday and it was already the next day here! At around 5:05am we got in line and checked in for our flight! We went smoothly through security and then headed towards the gate where we waited for our plane to board! From where we were sitting we could hear the wind and the rain pounding on the windows outside. It was crazyy! Finall,y our plane started boarding and we walked down a few hallways where we came to a door where we were going to walk outsite onto the mat and up the stairs into the plane. It was kind of cool! However, when we stepped outside we were immediately tossed around by wind and pelted by rain... it felt like we were in the middle of a hurricane!!! So we literally ran to the plane, got on, picked our seats and we were on our way! :)

We landed around 8:30am in the London-Stansted airport! We were all really tired, but also super excited to officially be in London!! We found our way to the Stansted express which was going to take us into the city of London! We hopped on (a few of us napped for a half hour or so), and made our way into the city! When we got to the train station in London we found a ticket booth and purchased our tickets/passes for the infamous London TUBE :) We also grabbed maps so we knew exactly where to go :)! Now that we had all the basics down, we took the tube to our hostel in Greenwich and checked into the hostel. Then, we found ATMs, withdrew POUNDS and were on our way! So, we took the tube back into London and without a plan, just began wandering places. We figured that we would stumble upon a cafe or restaraunt for lunch, but for the meantime we were jsut soaking it all in. First, we found St. Margaret's Church where many of the members of Parliament get married, right next to Westminster Abbey where the royal wedding just occurred a little while back! From there we could also see the London Eye and Big Ben! It was so cool to actually see everything up close, as opposed to the pictures we've all seen or these same places in movies! It was unreal! So, we made our way around, took all the touristy pictures, and found our way to Trafalgar Square where the National Art Gallery was... it was so pretty! There were fountains and statues everywhere and TONS of people, it was crazy! From there, we wandered down a different street towards Leicester Square. By now, we were really hungry and ready for food. So, we stopped and looked at a map on the road, trying to figure out which way was best to find food. While we were standing there, a nice British man came up to us and asked if we needed help. We said no, we were just looking to find a place to eat. After that, the man got very excited and explained directions to a street with many pubs and restaraunts with great food. However, after explaining, he decided that he'd just walk us there instead. He insisted that we go to a particular pub (I forget the name) and try the traditional British cider. So, we walked with him and found the pub where he asked the woman behind the bar to give us a little taste of it. I tried it and thought it was gross, but some of my friends didn't think it was too bad! By then, the man had become a little creepy so when he went upstairs to check on something in the pub, we immediately booked it and found a little cafe deown the street where we finally sat down and ate. I had a sandwich and it was very good! :) After lunch we wandered in the direction of Covent gardens and Picadilly Circus. We walked up past Covent Gardens to what seemed like the theater district with theaters EVERYWHERE for tons of different shows-- Mamma Mia, Lion King, Singin in the Rain, and soo many more! At the end of one street we found a ticket office advertising half-price tickets. So, I wandered in (dragging my friends), asking how much tickets would be if we came back in May or a different weekend. He explained how the tickets worked, and the prices were very cheap. So, on a whim, I asked "so, would you happen to have any tickets for tonight to see Wicked?" He got excited, said yes, he had 4, and just like that we bought 4 tickets to see Wicked for 20 pounds each. It was 4:30pm and the show was in exactly 3 hours! The show was in the Apollo Victoria Theater which was all the way across town, so we decided that we had time and could walk there. We walked through Picadilly circus, down Picadilly road and through Green park, where we somewhat got lost. So, we asked two policemen, who were very nice and pointed us in the right direction. They also recommended a place for dinner! So, we follwed their directions and just like that we found the theater! Nearby we found the Shakespeare Pub (which the officers had recommended) and decided it looked like a great place for dinner! I got the Roast of the day, which was very similar to Grandma's Pot Roast (my favorite meal!!). It came with string beans, peas, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes and bread. Safe to say, I was extremely full and satisfied by the end of my meal! Finally, we crossed the street to the theater, found our seats and got ready to see the showww!! The show was good, and definitely a really cool experience to have. Although it was not as good as Broadway, I still enjoyed it :) My favorite character Elphaba, was by far the best singer of the cast, so I was still very happy (and cried at the end of Defying Gravity haha)! It was incredible seeing a show in London and I was so glad that we were spontaneous and went for it... it was sooooo incredibly worth it! After the show we found our way back to Greenwich and called it a night. Time to get sleep for another long day tomorrow!

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