Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Visit from Julie!

Outside of Buckingham Palace
My best mate (as they say here!) Julie visited me for a few days and boy, were we busy. I had a full itinerary planned and we were able to do most of the major things on the list, but it was difficult fitting it all in! On Thursday I met her at the tube stop along with one of my flatmates and we and some other Americans here all ate dinner at our local pub and then briefly went to this other pub's student night for a bit. It was a good time for sure, but because her travel time took a bit longer than planned we weren't able to go to this wine bar that I had wanted to check out. It's basically an underground cellar that looks like cave tunnels and it sounded pretty amazing.

On Friday we did all the traditional London sightseeing stuff, which I did briefly but this time was a bit better planned as we got to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace which occurs every other day in the morning. We stopped by Trafalgar Square and also saw Big Ben (my favorite London landmark). After sightseeing, we stopped at Spaghetti House which is an Italian food place. We shared bruschetta, margherita pizza and a salad. It was nice to eat and just relax for a bit as we didn't give ourselves enough time for breakfast that morning!

At Spaghetti House
After lunch we stopped at Pret-a-Manger for a small dessert (we split a brownie) and coffee/tea. We sat there for awhile and used their wifi to figure out how to get to Oxford Street from there. We then spent the rest of the day there shopping at the gigantic Top Shop there and we also went to Liberty of London, which I hadn't gone to yet. It was probably the cutest department store type place ever! That was really fun to see and very, very English. After that we went to Harrod's for afternoon tea. Overall, I'd say that the tea experience was probably a bit overrated, as I've had better service and food at a few Ritz Carlton's in the US, but it was still very fun and the place itself is absolutely stunning.

Me at tea at Harrod's!
Julie at tea at Harrod's!

Later that night we went out in Camden to a club there called Koko, which is a converted theatre that has live music shows and then a huge dance floor. It's still a multi-level theatre setup which is rather cool to see. The music they played was (as other places in Camden have been also) a bit more alternative and more techno-y, but it was still a lot of fun. We were absolutely exhausted coming home after being out that night though, as we had been on the go since 9 AM or so. She, my flatmate and I all bussed back to campus and actually briefly fell asleep on the bus as we were that exhausted.

On Saturday, we went to Westfield at Stratford basically all day and did some nice shopping. We ate at the food court first (we both got Thai) and then shopped the rest of the day. We got Pinkberry for an afternoon snack and then had to head over to the London Eye for our reservation. We didn't have heavy enough coats or gloves because we had originally intended to come back to my flat prior to going on the Eye, but we ended up losing track of time a bit and had to go straight there. We were very surprised to see that it had randomly started snowing and we were literally freezing walking from the tube to the London Eye. Julie and I both complain when we're tired, cold, annoyed, etc. so we kept each other lively by complaining the whole walk there.

Out in Camden with my flatmates
After going on the Eye (which was nice, but I feel like I wouldn't have to do it again) we grabbed dinner at the nearest place we found, a place called Arch Bar (I think). We both got burgers and chips and were so excited to be in the warmth - it was a great break from the cold. After getting back home, we were going to change and get ready to go to the Ice Bar (a standing bar which is constructed out of ice sculptures) but many of the lines on the tube were closed and we were unable to make it. We weren't too upset though as we were still rather exhausted and still cold from the random snowstorm.

We spent the rest of the night drinking hot chocolate and just chatting with my flatmates for awhile. After that we both went to bed and she packed her things up for her flight that left out on Sunday.

Aside from this crazy, busy weekend, I'd say that London is becoming more normal and less new to me, which is cool as I feel a bit more savvy with understanding where things are and other customs, etc. Thanks for reading!

Olympics Countdown at Trafalgar Square
In Camden!
Dreading the cold
Outside of Harrod's
At tea, darling!
Photo taken from the London Eye
Matching at Buckingham Palace
Our afternoon tea delights


  1. Great to hear you are really enjoying yourself!
    Much aloha, Gina

  2. Yuummm...tea cakes & odd question, but do you know what mascara Julie uses? Her lashes look ah-mazing!!

    1. Hahaha I do actually! She uses Maybelline Falsies - one I love from the drugstore too =))) She'll be glad to hear you like her lashes as she's always worried they're becoming sparse.

  3. It is so great to read about all of the exciting adventures and experiences you're undertaking while in London. You seem to have really connected with the city and have acclimated quite well. I had no doubt with your level of independence and prior experience in traveling that you would do well.
    With so many things to do in the day, there's no way a person could tire of a city such as London. How is the night life? I've seen you partying at a couple of night spots and it was interesting to hear the music they play.
    Are people from London into rap music? they seem to be so civilized that I cannot imagine them bopping to hard-core music, but then again, everyone has different taste.
    How are your classes? Are there learning difficulties? Have they began studying subject matters you yet to tackle while at Michigan is the education on the same level?
    this is such a great life learning experience. What is the one thing you're hoping to take away from this experience?

    well, I've gotta go sweetie. Stay warm!!
    Love ya,
    Fredrica Crowe

    1. Glad you enjoy reading! Nightlife is really cool - there's so many different areas and things to do as London is a huge city. Different areas of town or club/bar/pub scenes play different stuff but I find alternative/indie sort of music is quite popular.

      Classes are reallllly redundant and not very engaging at all. I have basically learned everything being taught before several times or in more detail even. I suppose because of the more independent nature of the British education system that they expect you to delve deeper into the subject matter on your own time. Also, students here study one subject their entire time at uni, so my classes here are at different study year levels and it's a bit odd in that way.

      One thing I'm hoping to take away from this experience is being able to be more independent and comfortable with being in new, unfamiliar surroundings and be able to talk to people from all different walks of life more.

      Thanks for the comment!! Love you too =)))

  4. ho hum the food looks great my gosh