This past weekend was by far my most action packed thus far (needless to say I finished absolutely none of my homework… Sometimes I forget I’m taking classes here, to be honest [JK Mom, I’m going to pass all my classes]). Anyway, no one wants to hear about homework, so I’ll move onto the weekend.
A majority of Friday was spent at the Tower of London tourist-ing it up with my friend Mike (hey Mike, congrats, you’re finally blog famous). I feel like the Tower of London is just something you have to do when you’re in London. Regardless the extreme tourist vibe, it was a really cool place because it was full of history (especially for this nerd who used to be obsessed with Henry VII and his wives). The main attractions (at least for me) were the Crown Jewels and the castle ravens. The line to see the Crown Jewels was RIDICULOUS, but it was worth it because we got to see Queen Elizabeth II’s crown, a solid gold punch bowl the size of a bathtub, and the coronation spoon. Although, the whole time I couldn’t help but think about Moriarty (“And honey, you should see me in a crown”–Now I want to rewatch Sherlock from the beginning).
The story behind the ravens is actually pretty interesting. According to legend the Tower and the entire kingdom will fall if the 6 ravens ever leave the castle. So they keep 7 (one to spare) on the grounds at all time and clip their wings. They even have a special guy that is the official keeper of the ravens (fun fact: a group of ravens is called an “unkindness” or a “conspiracy”). Unfortunately, everything worth taking pictures of was under a “no pictures” rule, and everything we could take pictures of was extremely touristy and not worth having a picture of, so here’s a picture of me posing with a guard.
Later that day we met up with our friend Mary and went to King’s Cross Station to visit Platform 9 3/4 (finally!!!). It was awkward and touristy and a lot of fun. I got to pick out a scarf (Ravenclaw, of course) and there was even a guy who flicked it up as they were taking the picture. Unfortunately none of my pictures turned out that great, but I still enjoyed being a massive nerd.
Saturday a group of friends and I finally got out of London and did some hiking. We (Arielle, Brenna, Garrett, Mary, and I) took a train to Box Hill and Westhumble (approximately 30 miles outside of London). It was nice to get out of the city and into the countryside for awhile. We hiked a two mile(ish) loop that may or may not have been part of the trail that we were trying for. We ended up wandering through cow fields and people’s driveways, but had fun doing it, so that’s all that matters.
Once we made it back to the train station we walked about 2 miles to Dorking, a cool town nearby. After wandering around for a couple hours we finally decided on a place to stop and warm up. I don’t think we could have picked a worse place. Keep in mind that at this point we are caked in mud (we had just been hiking through fields–and this is rainy England we’re talking about). Somehow we decided on a little cafe in the middle of an antique shop. Forgetting how muddy we were, we walked through the shop to the cafe and asked to be seated. Of course we were seated not in the normal cafe, but at our own separate table in a room with an aesthetic that can only be described as “Single Great Aunt Who You Avoid At Family Functions.” Halfway through getting seated the hostess realizes exactly how muddy we are. The panic in her face would have been comical if we hadn’t been in the situation. At this point she decides that we’ve already tracked mud on the carpet, so she might as well seat us so she can get some money out of us (you could just see her doing the mental math). So there we were, in the middle of this antique shop, on their white carpet, surrounded by posh white haired English people drinking tea and shopping for antiques. Of course we’re all overcome by fits of giggles as we order our tea and coffee and gulp it down as quickly as possible. I found myself wondering as the waitress set down silverware if she was wondering if we knew how to use it. I pride myself on being a pretty awkward person, and I have never felt been in a more awkward situation. We threw down a 20 (leaving a considerable tip in a country where tipping is not really a thing) and escaped as quickly as possible. Afterwards we found a pub complete with sticky tables and broken chairs where we felt much more at home. We were able to sit there for a couple of hours watching the Arsenal/Hull City game and chatting until heading home.
That night I went out (I know, crazy, right? ) to an interesting club underneath Waterloo Station called The Vaults. It was complete with graffiti, swings, and loud music. It was definitely an interesting experience, and I loved getting to know my friends Mary and Jenna better, but I think I’m happier with my evenings in bed with a cup of tea and a book (forever a twenty-something grandma and proud of it).
After the exciting weekend, I’m definitely going to have to spend a lot of time catching up on homework. I’m now also starting the countdown to Spring Break (t-minus 10 days and counting!).