Wednesday, December 8, 2010

London Calling

Over Thanksgiving break, the fellow Romans and I took a trip to London to see our friends who are studying there. The trip was extra special because my best friend Ashley from home had come to Rome to visit and then joined our trip to London! Ashley had gotten there the previous Sunday. It was so nice to see her and to catch up! We did a bunch of touristy things like the Colosseum and the Forum, but we also just hung out and talked. On Thursday, Ashley, Jimmy, Beth, and I left for London. Once we got there, via the cost-effective Ryanair, it took us two stressful hours to find our hostel. But once we had arrived, we were thrilled. We took a long nap before Christine met up with us. She took us to the flat that she shares with about twenty other people. There, we found that her flatmates had cooked a Thanksgiving feast. It was so nice! At that point, I was really missing the USofA and my family, so sitting around a table topped with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and corn was amazing! After dinner, Caitlin came home. We all went to a pub for some beer. It was so cool! The pub was crowded and warm compared to the chilly weather outside (oh yeah! Compared to temperate Rome, London was frigid!). It was everything I wanted an English pub to be.

The next day, we meet Caitlin, Christine, and Keiran at our hostel. It was so nice for us all to be together again. Even though it was only a fraction of our regular Philly group, it felt like home for us to be hanging out together again. The three of them took us to Primark first. Primark is the British equivalent of Target, only cheaper. It was awesome! Then, we went to Borough Market for some lunch. This was Sam's favorite place when she lived in London, so I had promised to visit it and have to mulled wine for her. Now, I think it may be my favorite place too! Then, Christine took us to the Tate Modern. It was pretty cool, although I can't say that I love modern art. It wasn't my favorite. But afterward, we walked along the river and kooked at the Christmas shops set up there. So cute! We also saw the London Eye, Parliament, and Big Ben. Then, we went to this gorgeous mall and went to see Harry Potter 7. I had been so excited to see it for ages, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. So so so good! After the movie, we all went to this hipster club in Camden, followed by a Cuban club. It was pretty fun. We ran into our friend Scott from Rome, so that was really cool.
On Saturday, we got a late start and went to Portobello Market first. You remember Portobello Road...there is a song about it in Bednobs and Broomsticks...

...which I of course could not stop singing. It really was so cool! After that, we got some tea and went to the Museum of Everything, which was strange but exactly the kind of thing my friends would love. It was basically a collection of circus paraphernalia, creepy dolls and taxidermed animals. One display had all stuffed squirels doing things, like playing poker and getting in fights. So strange! But also kind of cool. Then, we met up with Brittany, Debbie, Scott, and his friend Red. They are from TU Rome and happened to be in London at the same time. We met at Buckingham Palace, where we took a few pictures before getting food at another pub. Then, we went to this huge Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It had rides and shops and ample mulled wine, which of course means that I loved it.
After that, we went back to their flat and chilled for a bit before going home to for short naps before heading to the airport at 2am to wing our way back to the Eternal City. London was awesome. I loved the general atmosphere of the city. I seems that every city I visit gives me a new place that I want to live after graduating college. Now, London has moved up to my number one. Cheers!

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