Saturday, May 2, 2009

London! And my BEST post ever!

I was thinking that since I will be coming home is less than two weeks I should probably finish writing about all my adventures here. So here goes. Warning, this is gonna be long so if you have something better to do...but I am fairly certain that this will be my best and most interesting post. Lots of pictures!

Well, I finally got out of Sarajevo and visited another European city! YAY! I was very fortunate to go on a short trip to London in April. One word...AMAZING.

I arrived in the middle of the afternoon on Friday and took the tube, which is so well organized and so easy to use by the way, straight to Oxford Street. I met up with Flor (she was already in London doing a training) and then we went to Starbucks for a sandwich and a chat. What a pleasure! Like a little piece of home. LOL, not that I got to Starbucks often, only when I feel like splurging on a $5 hot chocolate, but you know what I mean, its just comforting. Later we dropped my luggage at Javi's (Flor's boyfriend)and then the 3 of us went for a walk along the Thames River. I caught glimpses of the sites I was desperate to see. It was lovely to see them from a distance all lit up and it got me so excited for the rest of my trip.

For the record, I did not take this photo. I forgot the camera that night but this is exactly what I saw.

Saturday morning Flor had training so I spent the morning exploring the Tower of London, But first I had to walk across the Tower Bridge to get there. It's very impressive. The detail in the architecture is unbelievable.

How cool was it to be in the actual royal palace? Obviously I have heard the stories and seen the movies about the Kings and Queens of England, but then there I was, where it all happened. It's the craziest feeling thinking that you are standing in the exact place where Anne Boelyn was executed or where a battle was fought. I have always loved history but this experience gave me an even greater appreciation for it.

The White Tower (the central keep at the palace) houses the armour of King Henry VIII. It was really interesting to see the evolution of the armour worn by the knights. Some of the helmets and shields were like works of art, super cool!

My favorite part of the Tower of London...the Crown Jewels! Forgive me, I am a girl and what girl doesn't love huge diamonds. Wow, the crown jewels are brilliant. Of course you are not allowed to take picture so you will have to see them for yourself someday. Outside the Jewel House there is armed guards and then the vault doors are seriously like 2 feet thick, no joke. Inside the vault the jewels are in glass cases in the middle of the room and then on either side they are those flat escalator things like in really big airports.(what’s the official name for those things, anybody know?) So you just stand there and the thing moves you along and you just gawk at the enormous diamonds and gold and silver plates and goblets and basins and all those things they use in the different ceremonies for the Kings and Queens. Its incredible really!

The Jewel House

The Armed Guard outside the Jewel House

After I had my fill of looking at old stuff I decided to get some new stuff. I went to Oxford circus and did a little shopping. I got great deals at Gap and H&M! I also checked out Selfridges which was stupid expensive but I picked up a few things at MAC of course! I met Flor for lunch at Pizza Hut. Okay, I know what you are thinking, you are London why in the world would you eat at Pizza Hut of all places. Well I will tell you why, because the pizza in Sarajevo looks so nasty that I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole and because I love pizza and especially pepperoni, which they don’t have in Sarajevo, and because anything from home is golden even if its just mediocre greasy deep dish. Anyways, after we ate I did a bit more shopping and then Flor and I met up with Javi for the evening.

That’s when it all began, the non stop walking and walking and walking. I really felt like I should have been singing that primary song about the pioneer children. LOL. I make it sound like a bad thing now, but in reality it was fantastic. I realized when we were walking that London is pretty small and you can get anywhere by foot. I saw everything while we walked.

The Houses of Parliament

Big Ben

The London Eye

And much more. Then we came to my favorite place of the whole trip.
Westminster Abbey.

When standing directly in front of it I was completely overwhelmed...yes I started crying. Not just because it's that beautiful but because I had seen the paintings and photographs of this place so many times before and had dreamed about being in London and seeing it for real for forever. I was actually there, finally, and that was just too much for me to handle I guess. The crazy thing is that I didn’t even get to go inside, it was closed, but still it was an amazing experience that I wont forget.

Flor and I (tiny specks in comparison)

I took my first ride in a double-decker bus on Sunday. It was cool and a bit scary being up so high on the road. We rode to Hyde Park for a little picnic. A note about the parks in London...they are HUGE! I loved it, there were so many people just hanging and talking and since it was the first day of sunny weather since I had arrived, we soaked up the sun. We ate our strawberries and dried mangoes and then laid down in the grass for a little nap.

Flor and I in Hyde Park

When we were rejuvenated we took a walk that lead us to the famous Harrods.
Harrods is unbelievable. It’s so gigantic that you totally get lost. Its decorated in an Egyptian theme, I loved it. They have anything and everything you could imagine. Food, clothes, toys, sporting equipment, make up, perfume, purses, and shoes...whatever you want! Most of it is much to expensive to even think about purchasing but I did manage to get a few more eye shadows from Mac and some yummy treats.

What can I say, I am a huge dork!

Next we headed for Buckingham Palace. So, I was just a tiny bit disappointed with Buckingham Palace. I expected it to be grander, more royal looking. Maybe it's just me but I wasn't as impressed with it as I was with the rest of London's sites. The tulips on the grounds were gorgeous though!

Monday was my last day in London, Flor had training again so I planned to do some more shopping before I took the tube back to the airport. First we ate a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast (again something I cant find in Sarajevo)and then we headed for Oxford Street. I shopped plenty that morning and got some summer clothes. After that I was off. My trip was so much fun but not long enough. I will definitely be going back to London in the near future!

Just because every person who tours London should have photo like this!


The Kradolfers said...

hails bells...i didn't even know you posted this. Thanks! I thoroughly enjoyed it. When you get home you will have to print out your blog. So the date said may 2nd but then you said you were coming home in two weeks so i don't get it? maybe i read something wrong. Anyway, im very glad you got to go to london, especially since you cried at westminster abbey. That is awesome! love you! Hope we'll see you sizoon!

The Cobabes said...

how awesome...i enjoyed all the pictures. i cant wait to go to europe myself one day!

and im excited to see you when you get home!


Lisa said...

London looks beautiful! So great that you got to check it out. Yay that you are coming home. Not sure when I will be home next, but we have to get together!

HeaTheR & ChRiS said...

Those pictures are gorgeous. I'm so happy that you got to go there and experience that!!! That's awesome! And we will definitely have to go to pizza bell when you get home :) or make homemade pizza and watch a movie, or both! lol I can't believe you come home so soon! I'm excited! :) anywho, sounds like you had so much fun, enjoy your last days there!

p.s. If Brenda reads this...I can't look at your blog for some reason...I know it's blocked but I think since I gave you a hotmail e-mail it doesn't work so here's my gmail... please add me :)

Rilla and Derek said...

Oy, this looks fun. Glad you got to go!

btw-- we call them "people movers"