London!!! My precious, beautiful, London! I have to admit, I was absolutely terrified when we first arrived. I went from the peaceful countryside to the bustling, insane city. The atmosphere was so different, but not bad. :) It was pretty scary the first time we rode the Tube. It was my first ever encounter with a subway system, which was pretty stressful. Our leaders were all stressed out to the max trying to get all 48 of us on the same train without losing anyone. It became much less stressful after we got a chance to try it out in small groups.
This was our hostel in London- the Clink 78. There are several Clink hostels in London, all of which are former prisons. Pretty cool stuff, yeah? It was definitely the creepiest of all of our hostels. I and 11 other girls were on the ground level, and there were always drunk, high people right outside our window. Luckily there were bars on all the windows. :) Ah, the good ole Clink!
Our first night in London, almost everyone went to a play but me and a few others. I think there were seven of us total, but Chellie and I couldn't find any of the others, so we decided to explore King's Cross station and find Platform 9 3/4, but we were surprised to find...
...a sticker on the wall.
See the shiny reflection under the sign? King's Cross was under construction, so they made a temporary replacement. The saddest part was that it was nowhere near platforms 9 or 10. It was sad, but you get the basic idea. I was still at King's Cross station, in LONDON, so ha!
The next day was mostly spent at the Tower of London!!! It was crazy cool. It was crazy to go from the outskirts of the city right to the heart of it in one little Tube ride. The Tower Bridge was pretty impressive the first time I saw it.
|The first glimpse I got of one of the Queen's Guard! I was excited. :) This is at the Tower of London- he's guarding some royal person's apartment. We never figured out whose.|
The Tower of London was pretty impressive. :) My royal ancestors used to live here. :) There's a whole exhibit about their scandals. Anyway, it was really cool being there. My favorite exhibit was crown jewels. It had scepters (one of which contained the world's largest diamond, crowns (including Victoria's teeny tiny one), the coronation robes that they've been using for the past century+, etc. SHINY! That's the best way to describe it. It was kind of sad, though. They wouldn't allow pictures, and they put you on a moving sidewalk so you have like 30 seconds to see all the cool stuff. But it was fun. They also had the swords of all the Kings of England:
and this really random, yet awesome dragon guy made out of armor:
Another cool room in the Tower was the torture chamber...mwahahahaha...
They only displayed a few torture devices, including the rack, but I'd never seen this before-
-it's called the scavenger's daughter. That thing not only forces you to stay in that position, but it can tighten so it squeezes you harder and harder and harder... it's pretty legit. The exhibit said it's the most effective and terrible method of torture.
|This is what I'd look like if I was a soldier. Notice the mostly-naked man over my right shoulder that I maimed.|
After we left the Tower of London, there were people in our group who wanted to see the Dr. Who Experience, so those of us who didn't care helped them find their fellow Dr. Who fans and the Dr. Who Experience. That took the better part of three hours. It was a wild goose chase. After a while a few of us gave up and ran off to Buckingham Palace!
It was cool. And the Queen was home, so that made me feel sufficiently stalker-like. :) After spending some time there and on Buckingham Street, it was time to go to the Globe Theater, where I saw As You Like It.
It was a really cool way to experience watching a play like this- the original Shakespearian way. All those people on the floor are standing, by the way. How would you like to sit through a three hour play like that? It was pretty packed... but amazing!