Well I’m now back from London, so I thought you all would like to hear about it.

Day 1 (Dec. 21)

As I mentioned before, my first night I walked over the millenium bridge and saw the Globe theatre. They’ve made it as accurate as possible, while still having to follow health and safety regulations. It’s really awesome. One woman though had heard so much about Shakespeare in recent years that she asked ‘does Mr. Shakespeare ever come to watch when you put on one of his plays?’ and another person asked what Shakespeare’s last name was. *sigh*

After I had supper I went back to the hostel. Met one of the people that I was sharing a room with. She’s from New Zealand, and has actually been living out of the hostel since May. We talked a lot, it was really nice.

Day 2 (Dec. 22)

Got a call from Jeff pretty early in the morning (awww) then first stop was Leicester square. Bought myself a ticket for the Phantom of the Opera at a box office. Then on to a souvenir shop. I noticed whilst walking that any direction you look you can see a Starbucks. THEY’RE TAKING OVER THE WORLD! Seriously, worse than McDonald’s. Back to the hostel to drop off my shopping, and then took a tour of St. Paul’s cathedral. It’s too bad that none of the churches here seem to like letting you take pictures, cause this place is incredible. Some say it’s second only to Vatican city. You get to see a contrast inside too. It was originally designed with simplistic beauty. But Queen Victoria apparently found it to be dull and dreary. So half of it is now decorated with incredible paintings. Also, they’ve just finished doing the internal restoration and cleaning, so I caught it at it’s best. After that, I went to see Trafalgar square and do some shopping at Covent Garden Market. That was lots of fun. You get people performing in the street there. There was an opera singer making the rounds, with huge crowds gathered to hear him. He was quite good. There was also a hand puppet show which all the kids were immensely pleased with. Finally, off to see the Phantom. I loved it, of course.

Day 3 (Dec. 23)

Toured London tower and Tower bridge. Saw the crown jewels, including that giant diamond. I was most fascinated by the torture devices in London tower though (don’t act surprised, we all know I’m morbid). Had a nap in the afternoon (my feet demanded it) then went on the Jack the Ripper walk. The guide by chance decided to talk to me on our first walk between stops, and found out that I was a forensics major, so he ended up talking to me a lot throughout the tour.

Day 4 (Dec. 24)

Hopped on one of the tour buses to see the city from above instead of from below. I even braved sitting in the open top, despite the cold. Also toured Madame Toussaud’s and the London Dungeon. I found Madame Toussaud’s to be over-hyped. Sure it’s fun to get your picture taken ‘with’ famous people, but they really overdo it. And they try to get way too much participation in their little shows and stuff. London Dungeon was much better, but not as much a place for kids as I would have thought. They make a show out of it too, and get some participation, but it’s not as intrusive as I found Madame Toussaud’s to be. And not as busy either. In the afternoon I just stayed at the hostel and watched some christmas movies. Also made quite a few friends. There were a few guys from Australia, one from New Zealand, and a couple people from England. I found that guys were much more open and friendly than girls, but that always seems to be the way with me for some reason.

Day 5 (Dec 25)

As far as I knew everything was closed. Besides, my feet couldn’t take much more walking so I decided to stay in and relax for the day. A lot of the people that I had met were moving on to new places, but I made a few more friends. Then later a couple of my new friends decided to go out and see if they could find somewhere to eat, so I went with them. It was Mark from Edmonton and Yusef from Alabama. They were really fun and friendly, and Mark paid for all our meals as a christmas present. Near Trafalgar square there were tons of things open, and we ended up eating at an Angus Steakhouse. There are about 5 of these within about a city block, all the same chain, and all open. Then we walked a lot. I think we ended up walking for 4 or 5 hours, and we figured out that by the end we went about 10 miles. Saw Trafalgar, Picadilly, Soho, the London Eye, Westminster, Big Ben and Parliament, and I think we went over 3 different bridges. It was really cool to see things by night too, things are lit up and it gives a very different perspective. Got a call from Jeff when I was out. Not sure how happy he was about me being out with 2 guys, hehe. Later got a call from dad and talked to everyone, and then called mom and talked to everyone there too. Phew, surprised I didn’t lose my voice! And grandpa got Ajax to sing over the phone for me 😀

Day 6 (Dec. 26)

Have been seeing ads all over the underground for the awesome prices at Virgin stores (they’re like a competitor to HMV here). So I decided to take advantage of the boxing day sales. Got the Sex and the City box set for an incredible price. Woohoo! That was about all for the shopping though. If I had a car instead of having to use the train I probably would have spent way too much money, but luckily I managed to keep the amount of things I bought overall to a manageable carrying level. After that I went up in the London eye. This was another thing that I found to be a bit over-hyped. It’s nice to get the different perspective for pictures, but that’s about it. And you can’t see some things from up there, like Tower bridge and London tower. After that got up close and personal with Big Ben (haha) and made it just in time for a tour of Westminster Abbey (they close early). This one surprised me a bit. I found it to be small and cramped. I thought it would be much bigger and impressive. Sure there are generations of royalty buried there, but meh. One thing that touched me though: just as I was about to leave I happened upon the tomb for the unknown warrior. This is where they brought an unknown soldier back from France after world war I and buried him there. If I go back I’ll have to stop in there and write down what it says, cause I really liked it. After that I walked all the way to Buckingham palace just to find that it was closed for boxing day. Bah. There’s lots more that I want to see in London anyways, so I’ll just have to save this one for next time.

Day 7 (Dec 27)

Train left in the afternoon, so I didn’t really do anything today. I just relaxed in the common room and wrote a few postcards. Now I’m back in Derby.

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A few other things. It’s dark by 4. As in starting to get dark by 3:30, pitch black before 4:30. Makes things interesting sometimes.

I love the underground. It’s impossible to get lost, if you can find a station you can get home. I thought it would be too complicated (they have 12 different lines running) but it’s very well organised.

I also love the cameras. They’re barely noticeable, but knowing they’re there makes you feel safe. I think the only time it seems to bother people is when they’re planning on doing things they shouldn’t. If a crime isn’t committed they don’t even look at the tapes anyways, it’s not like they’re stalking you.

Finally, I’ve been mistaken as a local a few times. Asked for directions and everything. Even on my first day I was asked for directions. What I found really cool was that they asked me for the one place that I knew where it was at that point, how awesome is that?!

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