Hello!

I am finally back in Madrid safe and sound. I got back yesterday actually but was too lazy to update this blog. I did, however, upload all my pictures to facebook and Brian will give me a bunch more so I’ll put some of my favs up here. By now the ones from Germany and Turkey should be up, but if they aren’t let me know.

London was so much fun! The first day I got there before check in time for the hostel so I left my bags in the luggage room and wandered around Hyde park and the area surrounding my hostel. Don’t laugh, but I got KFC for lunch and then got coffee at Starbucks so I could use their free wifi;) Then I went back to the hostel and met up with Brian. We took a long walk in the completely wrong direction so we got to see a different part of London than most tourists do, but don’t worry they were nice neighborhoods so there was no danger. We made it back to the hostel and met a lovely Canadian couple, Blase and Matt. We went to a British pub with them and had dinner and a few drinks. We actually ended up hanging out with them most of the time we were there because they were super cool.

Also, they were really the only other people our age in our room. Our hostel was not really a youth hostel…there was boy/girl scout paraphernalia hung everywhere and there were lots of kids and people over the age of 40 who would turn the lights out at 9pm and yell at people for talking past that time. TRAVEL TIP #1: If you want to go to bed at 9pm and get a good night’s sleep get a room in a hotel NOT in a youth hostel. I try to be respectful to everyone, but it works the other way around when you are living in a room with 12 other people.

Anyways, the next day Brian, Blase, Matt and I tried to go on the free walking tour of the city, but we couldn’t find it so we rented bikes and had our own little tour. We biked to Buckingham palace and Westminster Abbey and tried to ride in the middle of a horse procession because we didn’t realized that the road was closed for it. But it was all good. We ended up ditching the bikes near Westminster because it was raining. Then we wandered around on foot for awhile and eventually stumbled upon the London eye. We went on the London Eye and saw London from above which was super cool. Since we bought joint tickets for the London eye and the aquarium, after lunch we went to the aquarium. The aquarium was nice, but I swear we look at the same fish from seven different angles. I think there was really only one tank and then there were some separate turtles and penguins and that’s it. First we saw the tank from above then walked around it then through it and then looked at if from behind. And we saw at least 20 signs warning us f the dangers of poaching sharks for shark fin soup. But we enjoyed ourselves anyways.

After that we wandered back to our hostel and got ice cream on the way and saw a couple of memorials. That night Brian and I went to see the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s theater, which was awesome. It is my absolute favorite musical and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did Brian. Brian took all the pictures there since I forgot my camera, so it might take a bit longer for those pics to get up online.

The next day, we hung out with Matt and Blase again. We wet over to the Tower of London and spent almost all day there. It was beautiful and creepy at the same time. We saw the Crown Jewels, which were sparkly haha. They were lovely actually. We also saw the weapons room, the royal chambers, and the torture chambers, although the British weren’t huge fans of torture so it wasn’t that big or impressive. Then we wandered off and had a late lunch. Blase and Matt had a dinner date on a boat on the Thames so Brian and I went on a London Ghost tour. It wasn’t all that exciting but it introduced us to the East end of London where we spent the next day shopping. We also learned a bit about Jack the ripper and some of London’s darker history. After the tour we were hungry so we got fish and chips from a little corner store which was reminiscent of Captain Scotty’s in it’s hayday.(For those of you who don’t know it is a restaurant in Cape Cod that all the Bellingham descendants and East Sandwich beach cottage kids went to all the time)Then we had a couple of drinks with Blase and Matt since it was their last day in London.

The next day they left for a music festival and Brian and I went shopping. We poked through all the backstreet vintage stores and went to Spitalfield marketplace in the East end where a lot of artisans come and sell their stuff and we both had a bit of luck:) WE had fun shopping all day but got worn out easily. We went for a nice dinner the next night and I had one of the best veggie burgers ever.

The last day in London I met up with my friend Jack, who Kate and I met while traveling in Italy this past February. Even though he lives close to London he’s never really been sightseeing so we walked all around the city taking pictures and catching up. We actually found out you can go to the top of the Wellington arch:) I think you are supposed to pay but we didn’t and no one stopped us so check it out the next time you are in London;) The view is not nearly as impressive as the one from the top of the arch in Paris, but it was still cool and not something most people do. We eventually made it to the British museum but only had about 45 minutes to look around before it closed. Jack headed home and I went back to the hostel where I proceeded to basically fall into bed. I wandered out to get some dinner because I hadn’t eaten all day and read a little about the elections before passing out.

The next day Brian and I had a 9:30am flight so had to leave our hostel by 6:30am. Waking Brian up is like waking the dead and it took 10 minutes of me shaking him and finally shouting to wake him up. We made it on time to our plane but by the time we got to the airport and got through check in basically only had time to grab a coffee and muffin and get on the plane. The flight was fine and we landed, get a cab and got back. So now I am back to the work and the stress. I have three exams to study for and a thesis to write so I probably won’t be updating too much and if I do, it will probably be a rant haha. But I will be uploading my photos from London soon so keep a lookout for that.

xoxo,

Alyssa

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