Eurotrip 2012 – London (Days 5 & 6)

For those of you who anxiously await my daily posts because you just can’t sleep until you hear of our continued adventures in the UK, I apologize for not writing yesterday. Actually, yesterday was a pretty chill day, we went to The National Gallery with Snigdha and then Ali and I left to go on a mini adventure of our own–shopping. There was a pair of shoes at H&M that Ali wanted that apparently they don’t sell in America and there was only one store in the area that had them so we went there. Then we went vintage window-shopping and discovered that contrary to popular belief (and by popular, I mean, MY belief) London does not have a fantastic selection of vintage attire. I forget that they get our styles like a decade later, which means that it’s was mostly ugly 80s stuff like overpriced and oversized sweaters. Oh well, that saved me money. The vintage shop in Edinburgh was way better and I have something to show for it too…The random train hopping and bus riding we had to do took up the rest of the afternoon, so we met up with Snigdha at the entrance to another museum she had wanted to see that we didn’t and headed back to the apartment together. Day done.

Today was far more jam-packed with awesomeness. (By the way, what’s with the phrase “jam-packed”? What kind of jam is it? And why not marmalade? Personally I prefer preserves, but I digress.) We started out the day bright and early so that we could find an Internet cafe to print out our tickets to Oxford for tomorrow. Printouts secured, we made our way to Westminster Station where we said a quick “hullo” to Big Ben and the glorious Parliament building. Gazing upon it I found myself thinking only of the scene from “V for Vendetta” where it’s gets blown up (click here to watch it). But it’s still a really pretty building.

Then, we walked passed a bunch of schmancy important financial buildings, like the Royal Treasury, and into Churchill’s War Rooms. Sir Winston Churchill is one of my favorite people ever. I had to memorize one of his wartime speeches in middle school and it got me hooked. The War Rooms are a series of underground bunkers that served as the headquarters for the Prime Minister and his officers when London was under air raids. Some of the most important decisions of WWII were made there. The rooms were sealed and kept in secret until the 70s when they were reopened to the public. Most of the rooms look just like they did in 1945. Overall, it we definitely my favorite museums we’ve visited last year. It was really neat to walk around the rooms and imagine what it would have been like to be there in the thick of it all.

After saying goodbye to Mr. Churchill, we walked a bit and stumbled upon the National Household Calvary Museum. What is that? It’s basically the British form of the Mounties, except they have much fancier uniforms and super furry saddles. We didn’t go inside the museum, but we did get to watch the changing of the guards–so Snigdha got to see the ceremony after all, even if it was for a different sort of guards. Then we had takeaway lunch in our flat and took a small break.

After lunch, we visited the Tate Britain museum of art. After that museum, I feel like I’ve seen almost every type of art possible. I’d totally be okay if I don’t see another portrait of a redcoat again. Just saying. Then, we walked back up to Parliament Square and into Westminster Abbey–and just in time too, we barely made the last admission time! Thankfully we did. Actually, I’m rather glad we got there so close to closing time because it allowed us to get good seats for the Evensong, an evening weekday ceremony held inside the Abbey. And when I say good seats, I mean good seats. We got to sit with the choir! Only a handful of people got to sit where we were since the rest was reserved for special guests and the men’s and boy’s choirs. We got to listen to beautiful music while inside the cathedral where kings and queens are buried and where they are crowned (not to mention the location of several scenes from “The King’s Speech”). It was pretty dang cool.

Exhausted and hungry, we decided to have a dinner out instead of cooking in our flat, so we popped into a pub on the corner and ordered some grub. Snigdha got to have her first every “fish and chips” and I even tried a bit of her cider, although, I’ll admit, I still prefer ice tea or soda to alcoholic beverages. All in all, today was a great day full of many unique experiences.

Tomorrow we will spend the day exploring the country outside of London–Oxford. Can’t wait!

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