Wow. This weekend was quite the adventure. So much to share, hopefully I don’t write a novel trying to tell you all about it. Apologies if I do!
Let’s start with Thursday night/ Friday. I picked Keara up at Victoria train station Thursday night. She flew in from Copenhagen, where she’s studying for the semester, for the weekend. There was a little mishap where I was waiting at the wrong grocery store within the station and she was waiting at a different one, so it took us about 30 minutes to find each other (which is mostly my fault because I wandered through the aisles of the grocery store’s candy selection without noticing the time). Anyway, I finally found her and we were on our way back to Mile End. Unfortunately I had class on Friday from 9-10 and again from 12-1 so Keara went off exploring London by herself while I was otherwise engaged. I usually take a nap in between my lectures, so I was settling back into bed around 10:30 when the fire alarm went off. UGH. Turns out Queen Mary was running their fire drill on my dorm at that hour. Of course. I was very cranky after that. It was really funny to see everyone come out of the dorm, though. The faces on the people who had just woken up were priceless.
After class, Keara and I grabbed a quick lunch on campus and then headed to King’s Cross St. Pancras to visit the Platform 9 & 3/4 in the station. For those of you who don’t know, that’s from the Harry Potter books/movies. Here’s the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh95Ymn6F8c. I will post a picture at the bottom don’t worry! We both got out picture taken with the cart and then spent a good chunk of time drooling over everything in the bookstore. I literally wanted everything Harry Potter related in that store. I settled for one of the first books, a postcard, and an authentic platform 9 & 3/4 ticket (it’s the ticket to Hogwarts, how could I not!?) Friday night, Keara and I had tickets to Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre in the West End! We had an early dinner at Nando’s (i’m actually obsessed with this restaurant — so good!) and then we went to Piccadilly circus!
Oh my goodness. Les Mis was AMAZING. I almost cried like 1000 times just because it was so perfect and I was actually seeing it live and the music was amazing and perfect and wow I could go on forever using lame adjectives to describe how excited I was. My obsession with Les Mis began when I first saw the movie on Christmas a couple of years ago. Ever since then I’ve been in love with the movie, the story, and of course, the music. I have it all on my iPod, obviously! So, seeing it live was like the icing on top of the cake. Just perfect. And such a London-y thing to do. Almost everyone around us were locals and it felt nice to be a part of something ‘normal’ instead of super touristy. We didn’t have great seats — we were pretty high up — but we could see everything perfectly fine so I was happy! The music is still stuck in my head and I’ve been bursting out into song for the past couple of days since the show. I can’t help it. I’m sure I’ll be humming various Les Mis tunes for a couple more weeks… and I don’t hate that. When Keara and I got home from the show, we played the entire soundtrack again before going to bed. We are clearly obsessed and not afraid to show it. 🙂
Saturday’s theme was royalty! Keara and I toured Kensington Palace Saturday morning. But before that, we headed to My Old Dutch Pancake house, a place my family and I stumbled upon that summer when we were visiting Kensington Palace. My dad actually found it and it was a wonderful find on his part. They serve ginormous pancakes (that are really just big crepes) and they’re delicious. It’s definitely a place for locals, though, which adds a cool environment to the restaurant. After a delicious and fulling meal we headed to the palace. We were hoping to spot Will, Kate, and/or George but we were unsuccessful. Sad face. Kensington is so different from Buckingham. Kensington is set up as a museum within the palace whereas at Buckingham you literally walk through rooms where the Queen walks and hosts dinners and parties and where others have come and taken photographs for the public. And Buckingham, for obvious reasons, being the official Royal house, is literally gorgeous and breathtaking, whereas the rooms they showed us in Kensington were fair. Especially since they just made the rooms into a museum. They did have a cool Modern Royals exhibit that focused on fashion so we got to see dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana (!!!). Sadly, they did not have anything from Kate but I guess that makes sense since she is new royalty and still re-wears all of her clothes. I was hoping her wedding dress would be on display but after some investigating I found that it hasn’t been on public display since 2011. Another sad face.
We got caught in the rain while at Kensington so we both had to buy umbrellas at the bookstore. They’re pretty cool though; they have the pattern of one of the wall papers in the palace. It was that or buy a poncho and since the poncho made you look 100% like a tourist, we both opted for the umbrella. After the tour we walked around Kensington High Street and shopped in Gap (where Kate shops for George!!!!!!!) and then we were off to High Tea at Lanes of London!
I’ve only been to High Tea once but I loved it. How could you not like endless supplies of tea with those perfect sugar cubes, delicious finger sandwiches, amazing scones and the best desserts?! When they brought us our tray of food, it looked pretty small, and I thought we would be able to finish it no problem and may even be hungry afterwards but man, looks can be deceiving. Those scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam can fill ya right up! We were SO full by the end we just about how to wobble out of the restaurant. And it took us two hours to get through all of it because we needed to take multiple breaks to finish it! But it was delicious and so fun. Good thing we were both wearing dresses though because I would not have been able to handle anything pressing on my stomach after that … anything constricting and I would have exploded. We basically rolled home after that…
A couple of hours later I managed to find an awesome Thai restaurant near campus that delivers so we had a nice meal in my friends kitchen. Then we headed to Spoons for a a relatively calm night at the pub.
Sunday morning I took Keara to Westfield mall (the largest mall in Europe) so she could experience Primark! She loved it and even bought a few things. Everyone I take in there just loves it (including me!) Then we needed to begin our journey to Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour!
I had sat down earlier in the day to plan a route to the studio because it was just over an hour outside of London. At the last minute I checked the website online to make sure there were no closers that would effect us on our trip. Something looked a little fishy and like it might affect us so I decided to ask someone at the station. The man was incredibly helpful because there was a closure that concerned us so he gave us a new route. When he got to the next station and needed to take a bus because part of the railway was closed, I asked another man for directions. Turns out the first guy had sent us the wrong way and we need to go back to where we just came from. Taking the bus would have taken 2 more hours!! So we complained and whined and headed back on the train. At this point we had to call the studio to tell them we would be very late (so they would still let us in). Luckily, we made every train after that and actually made it to the studio RIGHT on time. We got SO lucky. Of course, I looked at the route we ended up take and it happened to be the EXACT same route I had originally planned. I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!! That NEVER happens. Oy vey!!!!!!
Anyway, the tour of the studio was AMAZING. It’s the actual place where they filmed all 8 movies so the sets and costumes are REAL and authentic. I got to walk through sets that Dan Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grant, and the others walked through and acted in! I saw the actual costumes they wore and the masks that were made. Everything was literally what it was in the movies. I got to walk through the Great Hall (that surprisingly looks very similar to my dining hall at Hamilton). I got to see the Gryffindor Common Room, Gryffindor boys dormitory, Hagrid’s hut, the Weasleys’ Burrow, Hogwarts Bridge, the front doors to Hogwarts, Dumbledore’s office and sleeping quarters, the Ministry of Magic, how they filmed quidditch scenes, how they made death eaters, DOBBY, the animals from the films, the masks, I got to drink Butter Beer (so yummy!) and so much more. I got to walk through Diagon Alley and the finale is an actual replica of Hogwarts!!! It was breathtaking! It was literally amazing. If you have ever seen any of the movies or read the books, you NEED to go!! It’s literally just incredible to see the real sets.
Here are some pictures from the weekend:
Platform 9 & 3/4. Bye guys, I’m off to Hogwarts!!!
Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre in the West End!!!! SO GOOD (still singing the songs and it’s Wednesday …)
My ginormous pancake at My Old Dutch Pancake house! Nutella, strawberries, nuts, and powered sugar. The best. And a delicious latte! As you can see it was a very generous portion…
My only Will, Kate, and George sighting at Kensington 😦 they’re so perfect.
Me with my brand new umbrella in front of Kensington (in the rain …)
High Tea! Yum.
Mom look, it’s the actual chess pieces!!!!!! Our fav scene! You can watch a clip of the scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imiVDYfoh54
That’s all for now. I’m still catching up on sleep from my crazy busy weekend! Also, sorry if there are obvious spelling/ grammatical mistakes — the website shut down on me and I had to rewrite this a few times.