Our day started off much more chill than our last three days--we all got to sleep in and didn’t have to be at breakfast until after 9:00 am! :) After breakfast, we split up into different groups and Haleigh went shopping while Dara went sightseeing.
Haleigh: We started out in Leister Square and planned on going to a musical, but then realized we really, really, REALLY wanted to check out Hardy’s candy shop that a few people discovered on a Harry Potter tour. We were on a mission! It took about an hour of roaming the streets of London (and a little bit of backtracking) until we finally found Hardy’s. We decided the searching was totally worth it! I ended up buying a box of Dumbledore’s favorite type of candy (Hardy’s hard boiled lemon drops), some authentic (and fancy) English tea, and different flavors of bon bons (raspberry, chocolate, and rhubarb and custard--they’re a little bit like taffy). After spending quite a bit of time in Hardy’s, we made our way along the cobbled streets, stopping in different souvenir stores to buy gifts for friends and family.
After shopping, we checked out the National Gallery. We originally decided to go just so we could say it was something we experienced in London, but after walking through the first room we were seriously wondering how these paintings were created by real people. My favorite painting was so detailed that it looked like a humongous photo. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was a painting of one of the very first vacuums that they tested by sticking a bird in a glass bowl and sucking all the oxygen out. The children in the picture were distraught, but the adults were so into the experiment. It was awesome.
Finally, we met back up with the rest of the group and headed to dinner. We chose to have a new experience and head down to Brick Lane for some fine Indian cuisine. It was very overwhelming because we turned the corner and about twenty people were shouting at us to try to convince us to eat at their restaurant. Needless to say, we were freaking out. After we got the hang of things, we decided on a restaurant that promised we would only have to pay 12 Great British pounds and get 2 free beverages each. The meal included a starter dish (I got something called Chicken Chat and Dara got a Lamb Kebab), then a main dish (I got Chicken Korma and Dara got Curry Vegetables), and rice. We also tried Nan (a bread/tortilla sort of thing), which was super delicious! At the end of the night, I realized I hadn’t gotten a picture with a red telephone booth which is just unacceptable, so the last thing we did was successfully track down a booth for the photo op.
Dara: After breakfast this morning, my group decided to get back on the Big Bus Tour and head out to Kensington Palace where William, Kate and George live (supposedly). The palace was not nearly as grand as we expected, but we got to see clothes that the Queen, Princess Diana, and lots of other royalty wore. And obviously tons of other random royal stuff. While at Kensington, we also walked through the outdoor gardens where there were lots of weird shaped bushes and trees. After we left, we found a side road that had a big fenced in grassy area in the back. We’re pretty sure William, Kate, and baby George were laying out there getting a tan! While leaving Kensington Palace we ran into a UNI graduate (literally she was running in the park and ran into us)! Turns out she graduated from UNI and moved to London a few years back. What a small world!
Then we jumped back on the Big Bus and drove around, We saw lots of random parts of town (no idea what, but they were all pretty cool). The bus stopped, so we hopped on the Tube which is always an interesting experience. We rode to Piccadilly Circus, and like the other group, we decided to check out The National Gallery. There were lots of old paintings from tons of different time periods, but we had to be really quiet. I got yelled at for drinking my water, so that wasn’t very cool! Once we were done at National Gallery, we made our way back to our hotel and hung out in our tiny rooms until we were ready for dinner. Like Haleigh said, we got a small group together and headed to Brick Lane where we had a crazy experience at an Indian restaurant! We had a pretty fantastic day exploring London and I can’t wait for the rest of our journey!
P.S. Our boogers are black because the air is so dirty from so many people smoking. EW!
Senior, Exercise Science
Junior, Health Promotion