Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Item off the Bucket List!

It's so strange to think that in less than 48 hours I will be back in Michigan. I have been having such an amazing time in London that I almost thought it would never end! Yes, I knew that my plane ticket was booked to go back (my dad makes sure to remind me of that when I talk about not wanting to leave), but you never imagine leaving something that makes you incredibly happy. Also, I never imagined London would make me this happy. I had hoped that I would love it, but I thought that when it was time for me to go home that I would be ready. I am excited to see my family and friends and can't wait to have home cooked meals again, but after living in such a large city I realized I am going to have to make Michigan exciting. Challenge accepted.

Last Friday I went into the city by myself. I never had a day to myself to just walk around and see the sights I wanted to see. I went to Picadilly, Leicester Square, Harrods (and got lost multiple times... that store is huge!), Green Park, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace and eventually met Ellyn at Trafalgar Square. We were going to get some dinner together but neither of us were hungry so we got ice cream instead! She was lucky enough to see The Queen and Prince William earlier that day!

Saturday was another day by myself! Ellyn's host family has a free pass to the palaces in London so she let me borrow that to go see Hampton Court. It was really cool because we got to see some rooms that we hadn't seen in other palaces. The gardens were my favorite part, though. They were so beautiful! The trees were shaped in really unique ways and there were so many different gardens.

Sunday I had set aside for packing. I am an awful packer, and considering I don't want  to leave..... let's just say packing isn't going so well for me. But as of now I am almost done and I think I can get everything to fit!

Ellyn and I went to the London Zoo on Monday! Our first stop was to the reptile house so we could see the place where Harry set the snake free in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We were very happy when we found it! We also saw gorillas, tigers, penguins, monkeys (they were adorable!), pigs... just your average zoo animals! 

We met Maddy in Chiswick for our last Nando's meal that night. She texted to say that her parents rented a flat in the city and said that we could stay with them for the night! That was perfect because we had planned on going into the city early the next morning and we didn't want to say bye to Maddy that night. The flat ended up being right by Trafalgar so it was in a prime location! 

The Queen and Philip
Today was the coronation celebration for The Queen. It's her 60th year on the throne and had the coronation service today. It was at Westminster Abbey. We set our alarms for early this morning, got Starbucks for breakfast and walked to Buckingham Palace just to see what was happening. We did see a few ladies dressed in fun hats waiting to see The Queen, but we decided to walk to Westminster to see how the crowds were there. When we arrived there were more people, so we decided to stay there. We had second row! We saw all of the guests go in with their fascinators on their heads.... I was quit jealous. Then a police escort came through and the car behind it had the Duke and Duchess of Kent in it! They waved to everyone waiting. We waited some more then a big group of royals showed up... Beatrice, Eugenie, Zara Phillips, Princess Anne and I can't even remember all of the others! We waited some more and then the ones I was waiting for showed up: Will, Kate and Harry! Will and Kate were in a car together and they both got so excited when they saw everyone waiting and they waved to us. Harry was in the car behind and didn't really interact with the crowd. I was in between Ellyn and Maddy and I looked at Maddy at this point and we both giggled uncontrollably for a little bit. The lady behind me told us we had to calm down, but then the lady next her asked us "Isn't this exciting?" We weren't being obnoxious or rude so we didn't get why we were told to calm down! Oh well.... A little later Camilla and Charles drove by and then Philip and Queen Elizabeth drove up the the Abbey. 

Camilla.... Charles is in the car too
We left after The Queen went in and we kept looking at each other saying "Oh my god.... we just saw the entire royal family!" We could not believe it! We went to a cafe by Trafalgar to have a quick lunch, then went to St. James park to soak up the sun (I even got tan lines on my feet and a little bit of a tan on my face... never thought I would say that in London!). Maddy's parents eventually called and we found them. Ellyn and I were getting ready to leave since we both had packing to do. I didn't think I would cry when saying bye to Maddy since I was so happy with what just happened, but I was wrong. It's so incredibly hard to say bye to someone that has become one of your best friends knowing you won't see them in a long time. Fingers crossed she can come to America next summer!

Kate (in the beige) and Will

Harry, Kate and Will
Camilla and Charles
Ellyn and I made our way to Big Ben to see it one last time (and take pictures ... we looked like tourists again). It just seemed surreal to us. Even when we were walking away we were saying how we felt like we will come into the city tomorrow. We walked past the London Eye and made our way to Waterloo for our last train ride. I was in such a rush to mine that I got on the wrong train! I realized this just as it was pulling away, but thankfully this one also made a stop at another station I live near. I started crying on the train when I saw the London Eye and Big Ben.... people must have thought I just went through a break up or something because I probably looked ridiculous! 

Thinking back to when I first found out I was officially going to London I came up with all of these crazy fantasies in my head.... I would meet One Direction, go to fancy parties in the city, make friends that I could potentially live here with one day, see a royal (or meet a prince and fall in love.... but that one I knew was just a hopeful wish). Looking back at my experiences, I came really close to all of these thoughts, I even achieved a few! I have said this before, and I stick to my words when I say that there is no luck in London. It's all fate. 

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