So, I’m splitting my London trip into separate blog posts so my readers don’t have to read an entire book for one blog and also because it’s nearing exams, making me extremely busy. Thanks for understanding, here we go…Flew to London today! I chose London as my spring break trip while abroad. Arriving in the Luton airport, I was still a while away from the center of London where I’d be staying so I took a slew of public transportation to get to my airbnb. I was transferring from one station to Kings Cross station and as any Harry Potter fan knows, Kings Cross is a large part of the books so I was already pretty psyched to even be inside this particular train station. I was walking toward the platform for my platform transfer to London when I saw a large crowd of people gathered by the wall. When there is a crowd, I naturally walk toward it to see what the hullabaloo is about. The crowd was encircling the iconic Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. Words can not express how beside myself I became. I always knew I was a giant HP nerd, but this week took me to new levels. Naturally, I dropped all prior plans to get to the center of London to wait in this long line to snap a single picture in front of half a cart in front of a faux Harry Potter platform. There was absolutely no way in the world I could see Platform 9 3/4 then continue walking toward my destination like I hadn’t seen it. Technically this was on my list to do later in the week in my personal itinerary, but who am I kidding, I never follow my itinerary anyway. Physically shaking with excitement, I desperately needed to talk with someone who also loves HP as much as me(maybe as much as me), so I Facetimed my friend Lexi. Lexi was getting ready for her mother’s wedding, which I was bummed to be missing, but I was able to say congrats to her over FaceTime so that was cool and I think she was understanding about my absence seeing as I’m across the world, haha. Lexi shared in my excitement about me being in line to see Platform 9 3/4 which is exactly why I called her, because I knew she’d understand my enthusiasm. Thanks Lex(if you’re reading this). Traveling alone is so incredibly rewarding, but at times I really want someone to be here with me to share in my experiences, it would make standing in a long line much more fun. There were workers in the front who took the photo and also put a house scarf on you, I watched them thinking about how I would thrive working here. Closer and closer, I made my way to the front of the line, thinking about how I only had one chance to look decent in the photo and if I failed there would be no second chance. Finally, it was my turn. Proudly, I grabbed the blue ravenclaw scarf and walked toward the half luggage cart sticking out of the brick wall. Rummaging through the selection of fake wands, I had to make a quick decision. I saw the elder wand, Harry’s wand, Ron’s wand, Lucius’ wand, Hermione’s wand… but not Luna’s wand which I desperately searched for. Yes, I am a Harry Potter nerd, I already told you that, you just didn’t believe me. Choosing Hermione’s as a close second, I pointed it to the sign, the worker made my scarf blow in the wind and *snap* the picture was taken, scarf taken off, and another young wizard ushered into my spot. Well that was quick. Totally worth the 45 minute line though, I would have waited longer. After the photo, they had a Harry Potter shop full to the brim of merchandise. Obviously I wanted to buy every single thing but all the price tags were crazy expensive. I had to walk through the whole store, convincing myself I did not need £70 ravenclaw sweater. Not without difficulty, I made it to the end of the store to the cash registers to see my photo. Nervously, I looked at the photo assuming it would be absolutely terrible with me having my eyes closed or a double chin or basically anything ruining my one memento from being here. It was actually decent! Since it wasn’t dreadful, I bought the photo and went on my merry way.
Finally back on track to my airbnb, I had the most fun pretending to listen to music but actually intently listening to the English accents around me. Seriously, all week long I had the most fun listening to British accents and feigning my own accent in my head, it was bloody brilliant.
After dropping off some cumbersome items in my backpack, I headed back out to see the most remarkable crosswalk in the world. Turning the corner in Westminster, I came upon Abbey Road. The zebra stripes themselves were fairly insignificant, but knowing the Beatles were here and they recorded at the studio right across the street made these white lines extraordinary. A handful of tourists gathered around Abbey Road taking turns finding the perfect opportunity to cross traffic and capture the perfect photo. For some reason, I thought maybe the road would be blocked off or away from traffic but nope. Cars continuously streamed down the street, the drivers angrily honking at various tourists running into the oncoming traffic. Watching people take photos was deeply entertaining as they waited for an absence of cars, ran into the street and froze for a few seconds, then quickly bounded to the other side of the street. I stood at Abbey Road for entirely too long watching tourists getting honked at, kind of wishing I had someone to take a photo of me being an idiot in the middle of the street. A lone girl on the other side of the crosswalk looked as though she were thinking the same thing as I was. After a few minutes, I decided to run over and offer to take a photo of her if she would take one for me as well. It worked out perfectly. I love the fact that you can see the cars waiting for me to un-freeze and make it to the other end of the street in the photo. Yay for being an annoying tourist!
While I was at Abbey Road, I made sure to FaceTime my grandma and my mom and show them where I was. I even walked across Abbey Road again so my Grandma could go with me(virtually) across the famous street. I love being able to share fun little experiences with my family back home. After Abbey Road, I walked toward Notting Hill but became utterly sidetracked when I saw a Chipotle on the horizon. Shining in all it’s splendor, Chipotle called to me. I love Chipotle, I eat it constantly when I’m home in America. I haven’t eaten my beloved burrito bowl in months. Honest to goodness, the amount of joy from seeing that Chipotle sign was way beyond the excitement I felt for Buckingham palace the day after, I know I’m ridiculous. Well, the day was basically over after eating so I headed back to my rented room to settle in for the night. Lovely first day in London. More to come when I have time in between exams/presentations!