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I’ve been dreading writing this post for the last week or so because through this blog its felt like I was back in the cities I visited. Now however is the last stop on the trip, London. Lets start with how we got to London however which in itself is an interesting journey. We drove from Paris to Calais a small french town that is essentially a giant dock for ferries to cross to England. Apparently no one told this to the security guards of Calais who treated every single old lady and small child on the trip with me as a potential terrorist. I remember being asked a ton of questions about why I was going to England and what I had done over the last 21 years of my life. I thought they wouldn’t let me get on the ferry because of that piece of candy I stole when I was 6. The funniest question I got however was how I was able to pay for my trip. I told the guard that I worked at Target back in the states. I might as well have said that I was part of Al-Qaida because of the suspicious look I got to that answer. I guess they don’t have Targets in Calais which may make it my dream retirement spot.

After the thorough strip search and intense line of questioning I was able to board the ferry for England. This was the biggest ship I’ve ever been on considering it fit our tour bus plus 5 others on the lower deck and had three different food courts. This was also my first encounter with fish and chips which were the size of my head. After an hour and a half we were in England and on our way to London. What was interesting about this trip is that it technically stopped in Paris, so

Riverbank Park Plaza

The Pink was a nice touch

we were on our own in London as our tour director went back home. The only bad thing about that is that our group got split up into 3 separate groups and separate hotels. We didn’t know this however so I really didn’t get to say goodbye to half the people that were on the trip with us (don’t worry Hazel and Nina were in the same hotel as I was.) Continuing with my string of good luck on the trip, excluding that little stop in Lucerne, I ended up in the nicest of the three hotels in London. The hotel was a 5 minute walk from Big Ben and the houses of parliament.

The first night in London we decided to all grab a last night dinner to celebrate the beginning of the end of our trip. For those people who now eat sushi with me this is where I learned to love the food. This dinner will also be the best meal I will ever eat. We had an 11 course meal that we shared around the table that included Sushi, duck, steak, and ribs. It was the perfect way to get together and learn a little bit more about each other’s cultures. For example I learned that in Canada you have two different driver’s licenses one for the highway and one for regular streets. This was the one part of the trip that I enjoyed the most, just learning about all the differences there are between countries. This was a group that included Canadians, Australians, Brazilians, and a couple from Singapore. I even found differences between the people from different provinces in Canada. I think its very important to learn about how other people live to get some perspective on life.  Well that’s enough cliches back to London. After Dinner we decided to walk to Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. I don’t need to tell anyone that it rains in London, so this put a little damper on some of my picture taking, but its amazing to see these icons up close. Here are a few of the pictures that I did get.

Houses of ParliamentBig BenHouse of Parliament

The next morning we took a half day sight-seeing tour of all the famous places in London. We drove by the houses of Parliament again and saw Westminster Abbey. We also stopped to see the changing of guards at Buckingham Palace. My favorite part about this tour was the fact that we were grouped with other Trafalgar tour groups whose trips started in London and went to Rome. It was fun to talk with them and tell them what they had in store and what areas they should check out. This was also the moment that I realized just how small this world is. That day I decided to wear my Indiana University hat and when we got out off the bus this older couple saw me and said oh are you from Bloomington. That’s right I was in the middle of London and this couple who happened to live in Indiana for 20 years was on a Trafalgar trip as well. Not only did they know about IU but they also lived in a town that was a huge rival of my high schools. It was a little piece of home the day before the trip ended.

At the end of the tour the bus could drop us off at three different spots either our hotel, Trafalgar Square, or Harrods. I really didn’t want to go back to the hotel because it was my last day so I waited to see who was getting off where. Well I noticed that the two groups that I had spent most of my time with on the trip were just going back to the hotel at the same time I saw Hazel and Nina getting off at Trafalgar Square. How was I going to let these two older ladies walk the streets of London by themselves? I got off with them and little did I know that this would turn into 3 hours of shopping. (I know I should have seen it coming after the same thing happened in every other city.) However there is one way to get back in my good graces and that’s with chocolate. So when Nina bought me a huge piece of chocolate cake all was forgiven. As the day was coming to and end I convinced both of them to come with me see the Tower of London and the Tower bridge. The tower of London was an amazing place to see as was Tower Bridge which just looks like it belongs in London. I ended the night the only way I should have in London with a glass of tea in my room.

Tower of London

Tower of London

I was still in for a little excitement however when trying to get to the airport and back home.  I happened to be flying out of Heathrow the same day that British Airways employees went on strike. Of the 2000 flights over that 3 day period 1100 were canceled. Once again that luck came in and mine was not one of them however I did check my email and the flight information every five minutes before leaving the hotel. Also in the rush to make all my reservations before leaving I did not purchase an airport transfer so I decided to take the tube to the airport. It was supposed to be very simple, I just had to get on the Picadilly line ( reading that never gets old) and it would take me straight to the airport. Well halfway through the subway trip the conductor said last stop everybody off. I was in the middle of London with my suitcase not knowing what to do. Luckily I saw a couple around my age that looked like they knew where they were going so I followed them. I guess the subway line was being worked on so we had to take a bus to the nearest station that was still operating then get back onto the tube. Needless to say there was a lot of comedic running with my suitcase to catch the bus and make sure I got where I needed to be on time. I was grateful to this couple until I found out they were from Boston and were Patriots fans. I guess everyone has a little good in them 🙂

Well that’s it for my European adventure. It was truly one of the best things I have done in my life and I can’t wait to go back to all the cities and most importantly eat those crepes in Paris. For now enjoy some of the pictures I was able to take in the 5 minutes it didn’t rain while I was in London

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Tower Bridge

Right before it rained again for the 100th time

Tower of London

Royal Seal


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