Am I the only one still pretending to be a princess in my bathrobe at home? Yeah? Ok then! London Day 2! Let’s jump right in:
So like I said before it was hard to get to sleep straight away but eventually I did. Hard. I’ve never experienced a sleep so deep without anesthesia in my life. Our big mistake? Not setting an alarm. We hadn’t heard our phones going off and all the text messages being exchanged in the group chat. We slept through it all. At around 10:15 ish my dad comes knocking at the door. They had already eaten breakfast and were ready to go; we barely had our eyes open. After deciding to meet them at the palace (because as I said in the first post Mom wasn’t missing this), we raced through getting dressed and hopped in a Uber.
It’s Good Friday in London so the crowds were out. By the time we arrived at the palace we had missed the changing of the guards. For those of you who have never been to Buckingham Palace, you don’t just arrive at the front steps. There is The Mall. This is about a half mile walk from the street to the palace. Luckily because it was a holiday there was no traffic being allowed in, unluckily this meant our Uber had to drop us off on the sidewalk. We called my sister and found out that they were already on their way back from seeing the palace and we agreed to meet somewhere in the middle.
Once we met up they told us how they only saw the changing of the guards through their phones really because it was very crowded. They said we could meet up later if Matt and I wanted to go see it for ourselves. I don’t know if it was the rain, the FOMO, or the fact that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet but I relented and we decided to just stay with my family. Looking back I absolutely regret not going to see the palace. Hopefully, I’ll get to go back one day.
Here is where not having a plan really worked against us. By the time we made it back onto the street we didn’t really know where to go. And it was raining. We all agreed to stop and get food for those of us who didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast and to regroup and come up with a plan. I honestly don’t remember where we ate but it was raining I was hungry and it did the trick. Here’s a picture of what my, dique not hungry, Dad got to eat:
The regrouping didn’t work. Now we were full but still had no idea where to go from here. As we’re standing out in the cold rainy day, Diana (my brothers fiance) offers my mother her gloves which she had lent to Amanda (my sister). Only problem was that Amanda couldn’t find them. I’ve never realized that it was possible to have so many pockets on one girls body. We checked them all. At one point there were three of us searching each pocket, each zipper, inside and outside of her bag and pants. We couldn’t find them anywhere. Amanda was getting so upset because she has a reputation for misplacing things and she was convinced she didn’t lose these gloves. Diana was getting upset because they were her gloves. All the bills were paid at this point, we were all outside ready to move on but we couldn’t leave. Someone went in to check the table for a third time, asking the waitress if she’d seen these rouge gloves but no luck. My father, who was sitting watching the whole thing speaks up “Amanda what are you looking for?” and we all reply telling him about the gloves and our search. “You mean these gloves?” He pulls them out of his pocket like a freaking lottery ticket. Smiling the whole time. Apparently he wanted to teach her a lesson or something. Dude could’ve saved us a good 15 minutes by not doing that.
Seeing as we didn’t have an actual plan we kept walking. Matt had broken his first umbrella at this point and when I saw a newsstand that sold umbrella’s I pointed them out. He stopped and bought one of those larger umbrellas with the wooden handles that can cover two or three people. Because logically this one will last a lot longer than the small one he bought the day before. (He broke it very quickly after buying it unfortunately). While my father and my cousin Boobie also stopped to buy a couple things from the newsstand we had a great view of the show going on across the street.
I was actually very very excited that they were putting on the stations of the cross on Good Friday in London. It’s one of those things I didn’t know I wanted to experience until I came across it. What was so impressive is that it was freezing and raining and here these people are committing to this show! Amazing! This was in Trafalgar Square. Since we were there we ended up wandering into the National Gallery. It was pretty packed. I guess because it was raining and the museum is free. It was very beautiful inside though. We didn’t see the entire museum before a new plan arose. We would go shopping down by Charing Cross Road. This is the street JK Rowling based Diagon Alley off of. Being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, I was sold. Also a quick google search told us that there were book store on this street. Now I’m excited. Luckily by the time we had made it back out again the rain was not as forceful.
I’m going to keep my disappointment short and to the point. We never actually went down Charing Cross Road. We saw it in passing and I was promised we would come back around. We did however come across a comic book store. After that we made our way through to some thrift shops and I did get a chance to buy tea in a London tea shop. Win!
This part of the day is not that interesting, we walked around, shopped, and tried to stay as dry as we could. I only bought one thing. A pair of socks. I changed them in the dressing room of a thrift store because the ones I was wearing were soaked through.
My Godfather Luis and his wife Lizanne kept talking about the Temple Church. How they saw a documentary on the Knights Templar who built it and how fascinating it was. We were all on board to go see this church and a bit tired. We made the plan to go see the church and then head back to the hotel and relax a bit before dinner. We grab a couple Uber’s and head off. Only when we get there we can’t find it. I know what you’re thinking. How hard could it be to find a church? Well apparently pretty hard. We’re arguing on the street walking in one direction. Some of us were convinced that we had to go around the block to get to the church. Others (the ones with google maps) insisted that we just had to walk in the opposite direction. I’m gonna let this subtle shade let you know which side I was on.
The half of us that agreed with Google maps made our way in the other direction. Good news is we were right and we found the church. Bad new; it was closed due to the holiday weekend. The reason we didn’t initially find it is because its sort of hidden on the street. There is a large iron doorway (which was closed) and beyond that was a passage that took you to the front of the church.
Later that night after admitting defeat and heading back to rub our sore feet we reconvened for dinner. We were able to find an Italian restaurant that was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Carluccio‘s. Knowing it was our last night in London we feasted. Straight pasta and bread dipped in olive oil. A bottle of wine. We really enjoyed it.
Once we were adequately stuffed we reasoned that it being our last night in London we should have one last drink. We stopped at the same bar we were in the night before since it was right around the corner from out hotel. For the life of me I cannot remember the name but I do remember that coming down from the bathroom there was a giant portrait of the battle of Yorktown but instead of guns all the soldiers had light sabers.
All in all it was a great end to the night. A little tidbit I learned on this trip: on the street we were on we could see windows boarded up by bricks. These were remnants of the window tax from the 18th and 19th centuries, when they taxed citizens for extra windows in their homes.
Decidedly we all went to bed fairly early that night seeing as we had an early train to Brussels to catch in the morning. I for one will never forget our short time in London and I hope to go back and experience more of it soon. Hopefully with some real Londoners this time!
Where would you like to go back to?