nicolaus and i had a 20 hour layover in london on our way to denmark. it was awesome because it felt like we got another whole trip in! we got to the airport at noon and we lucked out with customs and all that fun stuff - we thought it would take us about two hours to get through the airport and to the hotel room we had booked for the night but it only took about thirty minutes! the perks of traveling off season i guess :) but it was great because we thought there would be no way we could do everything we had planned - but we totally did and then some!
nicolaus and i have both been to london once before, but i was 7 and he was 10 and only have a few memories from it. ha and both of ours happen to be seeing the royal jewels and soldiers and riding around on the big red buses. so it was so fun to be back and experience it together! i love that city and the accents and the food and that certain charm it has.
we got all day tube passes and started at portobello road. it was a childhood dream (from the song "portobello road" in bedknobs & broomsticks) to go there and it was just as magical as i had hoped for! i was that crazy tourist humming the song the entire time, but i figured it was better than breaking out into a loud, off-pitch rendition which is what i really wanted to do..haha but we strolled along looking at all sorts of things, eating a spinach and feta pastry, drinking fresh pomegranate/orange juice that a man squeezed right in front of us and bought a bowler hat for me - i have been wanting to get one for awhile, but was afraid i couldn't pull it off, but nick liked it and convinced me to go for it!
our next planned stop was abbey road to see firsthand where the beatles took their album cover photo/take one of our own. unfortunately the one stop that we needed was under construction and we didn't really have time for the detour. but what can you do? so instead we went straight to platform 9 3/4 at king's cross. i am unashamedly one of those diehard harry potter nerds, so i was pretty thrilled to see it in person, as it made the story come alive for just a moment. the moment was short-lived, however, when i saw the massive line of people waiting to take a photo there, while some teenage kid dressed up in gryffindor attire put a scarf on them and waved it as they jumped in the air for their photo. it was actually a pretty comical spectacle. we didn't wait in line for the photo, but we definitely got a kick out of it.
next, we walked over to the british library museum, to check out their special collections (as advised by my sister-in-law grace, who went on a study abroad in london). i'm so glad she told me and nicolaus about it, because we both LOVED it. they had original beatles lyrics, sylvia plath poems, charles dickens and alice's adventure in wonderland manuscripts, original sheets of music from mozart, the oldest known, most original new testament, sketches from leonardo di vinci & michaelangelo and so many incredible things. we basically just walked around with jaws wide open.
after that we went right to the heart of the city to see big ben and all that good stuff. we walked around, enjoying the city for awhile and taking some photos. then we went back to portobello road, because we had both noticed a restaurant that looked really good. and it was definitely worth the trek back! we got some fresh melt-in-your-mouth fish and chips and some sort of squash and cheese pastry and i about died over the deliciousness of it all. with happy, full bellies we headed back to our hotel room, got on the wrong bus at one point and ended up on a chilly long detour and when we finally made it back to the hotel room, i don't think exhaustion quite describes what we were feeling. i don't think either of us had ever been happier about a hot shower and clean sheets before. it was less of a sleep and more of a coma for the next three hours, before waking up and heading out to our flight to denmark!
p.s. and as a disclaimer, sorry that nearly all of our europe photos are going to be with only me in them...but nick kinda just hates it when i try to take his photo and it almost always shows on his face...haha but luckily he likes taking photos and is the best photographer a girl could ask for and did such an amazing job at documenting our trip!! i looked through all of them for the first time yesterday and couldn't wipe a big, stupid smile off my face :)