More London

So the next day we got up and had a general plan to see the area around west London along both sides of the Thames. We first went to St. Paul’s Cathedral where we caught a glimpse of the inside and also the sign saying that admission was 9 quid (about $18CAD) and decided that it was a little steep to see a church. Next we walked across the millennium Bridge and went to Tate Modern, which was a hugely nice change from seeing every single painting ever painted in the renaissance. I couldn’t help but laugh a little bit at the explanations all the artists had given for their paintings, saying that a splash of yellow in a painting all blue symbolizes uprising against the ideals of society and governmental control etc. Funny…I thought you just spilled your paint. Crazy people are great because they make the world more interesting. Stopped off after to see the Globe theatre and just missed the tour that was leaving, so we decided to have a 10 quid(!) meal of souvlaki and by the time that was done we didn’t have enough time to go back to the Globe.

We walked along the Thames on the Queen’s walk and crossed at Tower Bridge, hopped on the tube and went to meet some Australians who we were supposed to go to London’s oldest licensed pub with (only seats 16 people so it was necessary to go before people get out of work). Somehow we ended up wandering around Nelson’s monument at the same time as the Australians though we never actually saw them, so we just headed back to the hostel to eat dinner.

We lounged around for a bit, eventually making our way into the bar, where around 10pm they set up for karaoke. By then everyone was feeling pretty courageous from their happy-hour pints, myself included and the fun was on. I managed to be one of the first 5 people up singing so I got a free drink for that. Lots of really bad drunken singers were continuously stumbling up to the stage and it ended up being a pretty fun night. There were some music breaks for a while when they played some real music and this is when I met the love of my life. Her name was Paloma, she was about 5 feet tall, from Argentina and she danced like nobody’s business. We were best friends for at least a good hour that night. There was a lot of “you’re faaaaaabulous!” “no yooooooooooou’re fabulous!” going on. I never saw her again after that night (tear).

Apparently I walked right by her a breakfast the next morning and didn’t even recognize her. Ha.

After the night of singning and dancing we got up early again to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace for our last day in London. I’m not sure exactly the historical significance of this ceremony, but there was a lot of marching, a band playing, men yelling stuff and soldiers shifting their rifles around and I got good pictures and even videos of it all. We walked through St. James park where I almost fell on the ground and died when I saw a huge pelican standing in the middle of the walkway! A pelican! I was close enough to touch it, but I was a little scared especially when it started coming at me. I think it was in love with me because it wouldn’t stop looking at me.

We then went to Westminister Abbey, which is a huge marble church stuffed with a whole lot of dead people. Everywhere you turned there was some plaque or statue starting with here lies interred…. Everywhere. My favourite one started with here probably lies…

That night when we got back to the hostel there were a couple of the Australian guys who desperately wanted not to hang out in the hostel bar one more night, so we made our way around to a few pubs in London, first stopping at the Walkabout which is actually an Australian bar. When it got a little too loud to think in there we hit another pub, which closed at about 11pm, so we got kicked out and went to one more on the way home. Because it was still only about midnight by the time we got back to the hostel we went to the hostel bar and had a few more. Eventually they kicked us out too at 2am, when we again moved to the “chill out” room, which stayed open until about 4. There were still drinking competitions going on between England and Australia as guys chugged bottles of Smirnoff Ice (all that was for sale from the tuck shop at that time of night) and everyone else cringed at how disgusting it was. Around 4 we decided it was time to finally call it a night as we had to get up at 8 to get ready to catch our plane.

It was a pretty rough journey home. Carrying huge, heavy backpacks and two full shopping bags of stuff that I’d bought we walked to the tube station, took the tube to the train station, then the train to the airport, the shuttle to our gate we finally got on the plane around 2pm. The air on the plane was incredibly dry, which really helped the fact that I was incredibly dehydrated from drinking the previous night. Factoring in the kid playing a video game with the sound on in the row in front of me, little children running up and down the aisles and the movie Monster in Law (I think thrown in especially to torture me) I was relieved when I finally stepped off the plane (though I thought I was going to have to knock a few people down first) and into my loving parents’ waiting arms who took me back home to my warm bed and hot pizza.

Aaaaaaaahhhhh, home sweet home.


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