Sunday, July 17, 2016

MIND THE GAP

I've at long last gone on my trip to England and it was just an adventure after another and so much fun. I was there from last Friday to the following Saturday morning and it was everything I hoped it would be. I'll just go day by day:

FRIDAY:
We got in at around 7:00 am and checked into our airbnb in Fulham, which ended up being the cutest city ever to be in. 

Our passports, waiting at the O'Hare airport 

The view down Parsons Green Lane

We took a 5 hour nap because we were really jet-lagged and then Claire drug me through the tube to a mystery location as a surprise for my birthday. We got off at Hyde Park and I put two and two together -- we were going to the British Summertime Concert Series!! In short, it meant that I was going to see one of my favorite bands of all time in person (Mumford & Sons). We got to the park at 5ish so we saw Alabama Shakes perform and waited around in our spots before Mumford came out. The place got absolutely packed as soon as they started performing and EVERYBODY had a beer in their hand. Pretty soon everyone around us was binge drinking and getting really drunk but when the English get drunk, they just get really silly but are still really polite and friendly. Needless to say, the concert was absolutely amazing and the concert plus the jet-lag made us all tired enough to sleep well that night.


Marcus Mumford breaking my heart with his gorgeous voice

SATURDAY:
This was a pretty cool day mixed with touristy stuff and countryside stuff. We went down to the most basic tourist place ever, Parliament/London Eye, and took pictures. We took a tour through Parliament as well which was really neat, although I really don't understand British politics.



Among British politics, I don't understand British traffic 

At every stop a recording says "MIND THE GAP BETWEEN THE TRAIN AND THE PLATFORM"

After we finished being tourists for the day, we took a train out to Haslemere to meet up with family-friends of the Huberts. We ate at a six-hundred year old inn called "The Crown" in Chiddingfold and it was just so cute. I had a hamburger for dinner with fries and it was SO much food but I didn't want to be rude so I forced myself to eat every bite. Our drive back to the train station was so beautiful, English countryside is everything it's hyped up to be. I truly felt like a Jane Austen character.

SUNDAY:
We woke up SO LATE, probably around 2 pm and we were so tired still. I meant to go to a YSA ward that was a few tube stops away from where we were staying but I totally missed the meeting and felt like a sinner. We decided to keep the day low-key in accordance with Sunday so we went to the National Gallery and looked at paintings. I was mostly excited for the Van Gogh's, which did not disappoint.



MONDAY:
This was a pretty big day for us. We took a train a little up North and got to go through the Harry Potter studio tour! It sounds cool, but being there in person was just so unreal. There are so many props there that fans are very familiar with that are just everywhere around sets and display cases. My favorite part were seeing all the props that they used in the different scenes, it's insane how much detail the design teams went into creating everything.

 Harry's bed

 If you look in the background you can see the golden snitch that Harry caught in his first Quidditch game and NEVILLE'S REMEMBRALL !!!!!!

 Just hangin' in the Great Hall after the start-of-term feast nbd

Sirius' family tapestry 

^^^^ NEVER 

Remember this from the movies? Me neither. They did tons of stuff like this in crazy detail 

Takin' the Knight Bus 



This was at the very end and amazing. If you look the the furthermost right side of the photo you can see some people standing by it for scale. It was pretty big.

We took the train back to our apartment and changed into nicer clothes for the theatre. We went to see Romeo and Juliet at Garrick theatre and it was pretty cool. Lily James (Cinderella) was Juliet and Richard Madden was SUPPOSED to be Romeo but he was sick, Needless to say, I was very salty he wasn't in it seeing as he plays the total babe Robb Stark in Game of Thrones. Nevertheless it was a really good show and a good way to end the night.

TUESDAY:
Another pretty lazy day for us, we woke up around 11 am and wandered around Fulham Street doing nothing in particular. We had reservations at the Ritz at Palm Court so we took the tube down there and got seated immediately. First off, the bathroom was insane. They called it a "powder room" (so proper) and they had great big mirrors all over the place so there were several ladies standing next to them and legit powdering their nose. I have no idea how they let riff-raff like me in. We ordered the normal "afternoon tea" and got so many little sandwiches and "puddings" (English for dessert. Idk man.) I ordered the one tea on the menu that a Mormon like me would be able to drink (chamomile) and it was actually so yummy. By the end of it, we were filled to the rafters with finger sandwiches and scones.





Filled with tea, we took the tube to Queen's Theatre for Les Miserables and man it was just mind-blowing. Everyone in it did such an incredible job and their staging was out of this world. The center of the stage rotated around so they did the production walking on a moving platform and moving the scenes in one continuous motion. That may not make sense but just know it was really cool. 

WEDNESDAY:
This day was a butt-clencher. The whole reason we even thought about coming out to London was to see the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play... which we did not have tickets to. The only way you could get them was either via the "Friday Forty" raffle that they do every Friday or waiting outside the theatre in line at an ungodly hour to get tickets that somebody gave up. The raffle proved to be impossible because thousands of people would get on the website for the raffle. The odds were so not in our favor. We went to the box office a little after 7 am (doesn't sound too bad but with jet-lag it was a NIGHTMARE) and waited in line behind six other potter-heads. Slowly, people accumulated behind us in hopes to get their golden ticket but none of us could know if there were even tickets available until 10 am. When 10 am came, a woman came out and said something briefly about there being "several" tickets and took the first two people in line inside the box office. All of us were freaking out because we have no idea what "several" was supposed to mean. At long last it was our turn and the woman offered us tickets 10 rows away from the front for £100. Now that sounds like a lot, because it is. But we waited in line and our whole trip was designed around it so we just went for it. I'm SO GLAD that we did because it ended up being the best show I have ever seen ever ever ever.



Ran into Brian Goyda in line to go into Part One?!?? I went to high school with this goofy kid

The show was done in two parts, each with two acts so four acts in total, adding up to be about six hours of the show. I would talk about the show but... #keepthesecrets. The book/script comes out July 31st though and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Harry Potter fans to read it. 

THURSDAY:
This day was nothing short of magical. We didn't have anything planned for the day other than going out to Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey) so we didn't get our day started until 10ish. We went out to lunch before we took the tube to the train station and then rode the train out to Newbury. We were met by our cabbie there, who then took us to the castle grounds which are nothing short of amazing. We toured throughout the castle and got to see all the rooms that Downton Abbey was filmed in and all the rooms that Downton Abbey ~wasn't~ filmed in. They use a lot of the same rooms for filming, they probably don't use half the castle for the show at all, which is insane because the show already makes the estate like huge. The grounds surrounding the castle are also beautiful, with green rolling hills and tons of sheep in the distance. 


Welcome to my crib 

 Land like this surrounded the castle for miles

The weather stayed nice all day and we even got sunshine a couple of times. We didn't leave until they closed at around 6 pm and I had barely eaten anything all day so we went to a pub near our flat and I was a total Brit and ordered fish and chips. I literally devoured the whole thing and didn't leave a single scrap on my plate.

mmmMMMmmm

FRIDAY:
Our last day to do stuff! It felt like the last day though, the trip felt really long. We went to the Tower of London to see the crown jewels (which were obscenely showered in diamonds) and I got to make a few new friends.



I was pretty tickled that they let me stand so close to them and not fly away. I guess we had a real connection.
The last couple of things we wanted to do were pretty nerdy so we went to Kings Cross so we could go through Platform 9 and 3/4 and then swung by Baker Street to creep around Sherlock's apartment. A pretty ideal way to end our trip to England.

SLYTHERIN 4 LYFE

 Benedict Cumberbatch ilysm

Our flight was at 7 am the next morning which resulted in about a total of 13 hours of travel. All of it was 100% worth it. I can't wait to go back one day because I for sure am going back.