Today was perfect in so many ways and horrific in one. Money. So I will get that off my chest before I got on to say all the good. My week unlimited oyster card was up today. I was excited because I got my student oyster card in the mail two days ago and I needed to ‘top up.’ So with this card I save 1/3 on what ever I get. Soooo the price was 78.5 pounds…..you can see my disappointment. I will have this one for a month though. I bought lunch, plus groceries – orange juice, cheese, hot cocoa, two apples, spaghettios (cheap dont judge), buscuits, etc. for about 14 pounds total. So I am stocked for groceries and packing lunch for the next…month I hope haha.
ANYWAYS, today Rachel and I don’t have any class so we decided to try to get ourselves out every Wednesday and go see new things in London and spend the days that we do have class in studying and such. She is a really great travel partner and we talked towards the end of the day maybe looking at Paris and Amsterdam together. She mentioned Ireland as well, however, I would really like to spend my Ireland time in Belfast with Sammy and John if I can somehow work that. So we met at 11 and took the central line on past Holborn to Queensway to Kensington Gardens. It was almost right off the station. I have to say I have never been happier, well at least that’s how I felt. The park was beautiful. Not over crowded, a few runners (ideal place to run!), a few kids on scooters or walking. Everyone just seemed really peaceful. It was cloudy and sunny, just a small chill, the PERFECT weather I thought. I really cannot describe how wonderful it all was. The first thing we came upon was Queen Victoria’s Statue and Kensington Palace. I believe this is where Kate and William will move into around February after it’s redone in places. It was huge! We got to enter part of it and see some jewels, etc. But tickets were needed for more of a tour & we are cheap, well I thought I was! Haha. Then we traveled around further and came across the Orangery, I was excited because I remember Sammy mentioning that they have splendid tea there and I had found it right next to the palace! For the next couple of hours we just walked around the park. There is a Princess Diana walkway and memorial, Queens temple, the Round Pond, George Watts Statue (physical energy), a huge Albert statue and royal Albert Theatre across the way, Italian fountain. We sat for a while as well in lawn chairs that are available and I could so see myself picnicing or doing homework there. BUT I must say that the most thrilling part of the day was seeing the Peter Pan statue! I felt fully accomplished for the day!! After that we walked around the park for a while longer and then headed out. We asked an older couple the direction to Buckingham Palace from there because it was only about 2 o clock and we were feeling knocking both out in one day. He was such a sweet heart and they both kind of chuckled and said, “Oh dears, you are quite a ways if your walking.” He put his hands on Rachel’s shoulders and said just go that direction, and he pointed, and there will be signs everywhere for it. I have never met such nice people than those here. So we decided to hop on the tube at South Kensington Station and go two stops to Victoria Station. Once there we stopped and got ten postcards for 1 pound :). I am stocked! We walked down Buckingham Road and stopped at the Royal Mews where they keep all the horses etc. and saw that the ticket cost 16 pounds for the tour, thus, we moved on. We both had a moment where we were unsure whether we would be able to see anything for free. But after walking nearly all the way around the block, and let me tell you Buckingham is very large, we got to the front! It is so much more massive and emaculate in person. Honestly, I have never seen anything quite like this Palace. And to believe that the Queen actually lives there as well was crazy. I am not sure if it is the same in England as for the US with the flag. If the flag is up the President is in the White House and vise versa for the Queen, but the flag was up on Buckingham Palace. I tried climbing the fence and running in but you know the funny looking guards marching around started shooting at me so….well I might be joking. SO, after that we found a bus station and took a double decker home to Liverpool Street. It was fun passing Big Ben and St. Paul’s again, it’s not casual or normal for me yet though even though I pass them often. I still gasp when I see Westminister Abbey. It’s surreal.
Another kind British moment. On the bus we passed the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England which is near our stop for home. We were both curious as to what is was and mentioned that. The guy sitting behind us, he was grey haired and married, in a suit obviously since we live in the financial district, interupted us. He felt awkward interupting but of course we were glad he did. He explained “Oh that there is the Royal Exchange and across the street is the bank of England…” So in the old days they used to go over there to exchange gold, silver, bronze, slaves, ect. It is now a bunch of shops but the used to have shops in the lower part and in the gallery above there would be the buyers who would nod or wave to put a price offer on it. Then he went on to say depending on what they may be trading they had different colored tall top hats. Still, today you can see some with the tall black hats and they are still wearing them. The way he explained it was more in depth and made more sense. But it was such a great moment having him do that and explaining it even though he was thinking oh maybe they don’t want to hear all of this but I was so intrigued and just one of those moments I really appreciated.
I am home now and I have some reading to do for class already. I will probably start on some of that since I have class all day tomorrow. Some of the girls want to go out tonight too, I might join just to socialize but I REFUSE to buy anything at all. Seriously, I am cutting myself off….until I have to pay to go to Paris or Ireland which is obviously a must! Missing everyone!