Easter Week Part 2: London, England

Travelled with: RyanAir from Dublin International Airport
Where I stayed: Europaroyale Hotel Kaunas
Duration of Trip: 3 days
Overall cost of trip: $270 CAD

Easter Week continued in London, England!!

I travelled to London on March 17th, and left for Switzerland on March 20th. Taylor, Jill, Amy, and I travelled with RyanAir after a crazy St Paddy’s Day in Dublin. Face paint, green shirts, Irish flags and all, we boarded our plane to London Stansted Airport. A little disappointed that customs made me take off my Irish headpiece (that as you can see I fabulously rocked all day)

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Anyways, I put it back on for the plane and the people beside me asked me where I was from within 3 seconds of sitting down because CLEARLY real Irish can’t rock Irish pride like my Canadian self.

Back to me being in London…We started the next day in London by first trying to figure out the metro system. Not to hate on Toronto, but to completely hate on Toronto, our subway system is so sad compared to really, any other subway system.

You be the judge:

Our hostel was situated near the New Cross stop, so on our first morning we made our way to central London. At this point, we were trying to make it to our free walking tour, but were a little fashionably late and missed it. HOWEVER, with being late for that, we made it on time for the changing of the guards! We just happened to end up right in front of Buckingham Palace and there was a huge crowd, so naturally we walked to the centre of it. This was a really cool experience- there were so many people equipped with selfie sticks, babies on parent’s shoulders, and everyone anxiously waiting. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was definitely worth the wait. All the guards were marching and  playing instruments and others were on horses, keeping the crowds in line. It lasted about an hour, so I’m happy we were able to see the entire process.

I think in a city like London, it is easy to do a tour on your own. A lot of the tours lasted about 6 hours, or started at 20 GBP. Knowing what the major tourist attractions were, it was fun to find our own way around, use our metro cards, and spend as much time as we wanted at each site.

So, after Buckingham Palace, we made our way over to Big Ben, The London Eye and the Westminster Abbey Church. We hit up Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. And of course…M&M World.

So, as the touristy elements died down… we came across an advertisement for Mamma Mia. Done. It was done. We were seeing Mamma Mia. Almost RUNNING, we made our way to the Novello Theatre and bought floor seats (about 25 GBP each) to the evening show. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. I grew up listening to Abba, and I saw the Meryl Streep version, but I had never seen the play and let me tell you, I was EXCITED. I think I can say the same about Amy, Jill, and Taylor as well. It was such a great way to end our evening. Now, as you’re probably humming along to Dancing Queen in your head, I’ll save you the trouble of having to youtube it and supply you with the link to the whole album:

The next day, we wrapped up our tour of London with the London Bridge, Queen Elisabeth Park, Platform 9 3/4, and the Borough Market.

The London Bridge was incredible to see. We saw it during the day and as well at night. It was so busy with tourists, but definitely worth going to see.

The Stadium at Queen Elisabeth Park held the 2012 Olympics. I was a little disappointed because I thought it would be a lot more developed, or have some sort of Olympic significance to it. It was kind of bare, and if you wanted to enter any of the buildings, there was a hefty charge.

We then made our way to Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter! I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I did grow up watching half the movies, so it was fun being able to see where it was filmed. We also went to where they based Diagon Alley off of which looks exactly the same! And also, Borough Market. It was cool to see where all these ideas were based out of, and how many people follow the books/movies enough to travel there to see it.

I really loved London. It’s a city you always hear about, and often referenced to. I didn’t really feel any sense of culture, like I did in Dublin. People weren’t as friendly as I expected, but nevertheless, it was an amazing weekend. I feel I experienced everything I wanted to, and when I think about London, I saw everything and really enjoyed it. What really made the trip was going through the actions of getting from point A to point B to point C. I got to experience the Tube, getting lost, asking for help from locals, and going through different neighbourhoods that aren’t solely for tourists. I think by doing your own thing and getting lost in your map is what makes the trip. Shoutout to Jill and Taylor for having a sense of direction though, because it probably wouldn’t have been a “fun adventure, learning our way through London,” if it was me guiding…

Until my next adventure,

Larissa

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