The Queen Told Me The Prince Is A Royal Pain!
We stand up for royalty, and she sits down for Royal Tea!
“A Papou is someone with silver in his hair, and gold in his heart”
As some of you may have heard, my family suffered a great loss recently, and I personally lost one of my role models. My Papou past away peacefully on March 11th, and I thankfully got to go home to say goodbye. It was a difficult weekend for me for so many reasons, but I didn’t want to be anywhere else but home. I love you Papou, and I know you, Papou Gus, and Nouno are watching over me. Who needs Charlie’s Angels…I’ve got my own angels.
On March 20th, a day after coming back to Prague, Sophie and I left for the land of tea and crumpets, fish and chips, Corgis and the Queen: London. We arrived to the airport on time, already checked in, flew threw security…and then Wizz Air had to ruin my mojo. We had purchased additional room so we could have a large cabin bag along with the free baggage space they provide. Well little did we know you only get one or the other, so here I am thinking I’m smart by just giving in and buying the extra space, and yet I’m still whole bag over the limit. I, of course, went into panic mode and started trying to stuff my duffle bag with my camera case. With an unzipped bag and pockets full random toiletries we boarded the plane. Oh but wait, it gets better. The seats were actually so close I could not sit straight without having my knees in my chest. I guess I have to blame Mom and Dad for the long legs. Well you can imagine I was happy to land. And right as we landed we couldn’t have been happier to be in an English-speaking city. We easily got into the city via the subway, always making sure to “Mind the Gap”, and met up with our other Chapman friends who were studying abroad in London and were nice enough to allow us to stay with them. Hannah and Abbey helped us get comfortable and settled in, we freshened up, and headed out to dinner. We went to a great pub and restaurant and dined on a much-missed burger and Magner’s Cider! Alyssa and Sam, more Chapman friends studying in London, met up with us for dinner and after we decided to go out to a couple of bars and clubs. After three comical attempts of finding a happening club or bar, we called it quits at the club where the girls were being picked up by guys who were a bit too…confident?
The next morning Sophie and I had some free time while Abbey and Hannah were in class so we decided to go to Harrods. The incredible department store left me in a daze, and somewhere in between the Dolce and Gobana children’s section and the international designers floor I think I lost my mind. It is decked out to the nines and complete with food and flower markets, banquet halls, a Disney store and restaurant, and an array of men’s clothing only Gatsby could afford. They must pump something into the air though because for a split second I actually considered buying a $60 bathing suit! Insane, right? Well, after being over stimulated in the material epicenter we headed to the more humbling, but just as exciting, Covent Garden Market.
Covent Garden is a district in London on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin’s Land and Drury Lane. It use to be a fruit and vegetable market in the central square, that has transformed into a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as "Covent Garden". Wonderful street food and performers are spread throughout and make for an exciting atmosphere.
We met back up with Hannah, Abbey, and Alyssa and they took us to one of London’s hidden gems: Borough Market. It’s a wholesale and retail food market in Soutwark, Central London. It is the largest and oldest food market in London and can be found tucked away under the railway tracks. The food and samples were unbelievable and I couldn’t wait to indulge in a Spring Burger! After a couple of hours of tasting and finishing with organic ice cream, Alyssa took us on a bit of a working tour to see London’s sites.
On our walk we passed the London Eye, Big Ben, a changing of the guards ceremony at a smaller Royal’s residence, Shakespeare's Theater, and China Town. After a full day of sightseeing and window-shopping, we headed back to the apartment to get ready to celebrate Hannah’s cousin’s birthday.
Her family is actually from England, but her they moved to the states when she was young. We met her cousin and his friends at a Brazilian Drumming Bar/Club/Restaurant. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical at first, but we had a great time and danced the night away. We even got to see some performances by Brazilian dancers, which made me miss my Viva Navidad cast from this past winter. I was so proud of myself, because in the mix of American and Brazilian songs being played throughout the night, I actually knew one. It was the same song that we used in our show in California Adventures.
The next day we began at St. Pauls Cathedral. St. Paul’s holds a special place in my childhood memories as it serves as the setting of the Sherman Brother’s beautiful song, “Feed The Birds” from Disney’s “Mary Poppins”. After being in awe of the massive exterior we ventured inside for a headphone tour, and then took on the mission of climbing all 1,165 steps to the top of the cathedral. Once at the top you are treated with the unimaginable panoramic views of London. We could even see the Millennium Bridge from atop which is featured in Harry Potter.
We continued our tour and revisited some sites we had only walked by the day before, including a stop at London Bridge and Westminster Abbey. We also walked through Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus and on the way through saw some of the West End’s theaters. I’ve got to hand it to them…they’re marquis outside the theater are way cooler than any I’ve seen in New York or San Francisco. We ended our long day of walking at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately we weren’t able to spot the Queen or any of her Corgis. As we began to walk back thunder and lighting filled the sky and it began down pouring. We decided to take the underground back to the apartment and go out for dinner together.
Our last half day in London on Saturday we still wanted to see a couple of sites that we were able to squeeze in. Our first stop of the day was Abbey Road, which was quite funny because I assumed it would be a blocked off street people can’t drive down. Well there were plenty cars driving through, and most of them honking at stupid tourists trying to snap the iconic shot. I think we did a pretty good job. I was able to join in on the next picture, except it wasn’t on my camera, but when I get it I will add it to the post. After almost being run over by some angry taxi drivers we got our wizard on and adventured over to Platform 9¾. On the way though we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of taking telephone booth pictures in a somewhat less traveled area so people would not laugh at us tourists, but we got the shots and continued on to the station. This iconic Train Station is where Harry Potter ran through a brick wall to get to the Platform 9¾ where the Hogwarts Express awaited him. With a bit of magic we were also able to run through the wall, birdcage and all.
After completing all our London “Must-Do’s” we went back to the apartment and headed to the airport. I knew I would struggle again with packing so I decided to make the bold move and wear…6 layers on top and 2 layers of pants, resulting in more room in my duffel bag so I could actually fit my camera case and zip it up. There was no way Wizz Air was going to stress me out again. Well after putting on a tank top, cardigan, long-sleeved shirt, another long-sleeved shirt, sweater, sweatshirt, and Pea coat and making it to the gate I found out London’s Wizz Air crew could care less how many bags you brought on. So I was stuck in my fat suit that I could barely move in all the way home. Well I made it home, to my new apartment, and studied to the wee hours of the morning because this past week was Midterm Exams. I successfully completed my exams, our new apartment is bed-bug free, and tomorrow I leave to go to Greece, Istanbul and Budapest for Spring Break!Stay tuned, cause I’m sure something will go wrong!