The next couple days were a little stressful, because I was trying to worry about exams while also making sure Mom had things to do, but I think it all worked out in the end. I sent her to the Victoria and Albert Museum while I had my first exam, and then met her there and studied while she looked around. We ate in the café there (which was absolutely gorgeous), and then she checked out the Natural History Museum while I again studied. Then we set out for Mamma Mia. At first I was nervous that I wouldn’t like it (because I love the movie so much), but the actors were phenomenal, and it was one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen (I’m honestly tempted to go back before I leave).
The next day I took another exam, and then met Mom at the British Library. We then set off for our Harry Potter Studios tour. It was the most fantastic experience. I was astounded by the amount of detail that was put into the movies. Of course, I teared up right at the beginning when they had Harry’s cupboard. We then spent an amazing 4 hours wandering through the studios, taking pictures, trying on robes, and flying brooms. I took so many pictures, it’s ridiculous. I honestly think half of the pictures that I have from the past four months are taken at HP Studios… I will say though, the butterbeer at Harry Potter World in Orlando is much better. I was just a very happy camper reliving my childhood by seeing how they made all the movies.
The next day I had two exams, so Mom spent the day wandering around the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. But after I finished my last exam that day I WAS DONE. Not only with my exams, but with my Bachelor’s degree. It was a great feeling. Mom and I celebrated with a drink before seeing Les Mis. It was fantastic, as usual.
Now that exams were over I could finally relax and show Mom around London like I really wanted to. Unfortunately we missed the bus to Cambridge (my program had set up a trip and we wanted to go), but it all worked out. Instead, we spent the day doing touristy things in London. We “saw” the changing of the guard (I put that in quotes because with all the people, we couldn’t really see much), saw Big Ben, and walked along South Bank to St. Paul’s. We then did the tour of St. Paul’s which was awesome. It was great to learn a little more about the cathedral, and the view from the top was absolutely astounding.
The next day might have been one of my favorite so far. We went from planning on going to a service at Westminster and doing the London Eye, to going to Hampton Court Palace (where Henry VIII lived). It was a beautiful and sunny day, so we spent the first couple hours we were there in the gardens. It was so nice to sit in the sun and enjoy the beauiful flowers. Eventually we went through the palace and Henry VIII’s chambers until it closed. After we took the bus back into London, we stopped at a pub and had a traditional Sunday Roast, which was delicious.
We had to pack up all of Mom’s stuff because she was leaving the next day, so we did, and then went to the Tate Modern. Some of the stuff was pretty cool (there was a Tower of Babylon made of radios that were turned on, and the noise was meant to represent the information overload we receive every day), but other stuff made you wonder how it got to be put in a museum. For example, there was an artist who literally just signed a urinal, and announced that it was art… Kind of ridiculous. After the Tate, we got dessert and tea at the Swan Restaurant (which is connected to the Globe Theater). Afterwards we saw an improv comedy show at the Globe, which was hilarious. Seeing the theater was amazing as well. I want to try to go back and see an actual Shakespeare play there before I leave.
And that was it—Mom’s experience in London was over. It went by so quickly, and I’m so glad she was able to come visit me.