Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Quirky Girl's Guide to London!

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“You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

--Samuel Johnson
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I studied abroad this past summer in Scotland, London, Paris, and Cannes. I've already blogged about my adventures in Edinburgh in part one and part two. About the time that we arrived in London, my poor Nikon bit the big one. I dropped it in Edinburgh and MacGyvered it back together with a hair tie, but it stopped working altogether in London. So, I took a lot of pictures with my iPhone 4 and snapped some with my sister's Nikon camera. Most of the pictures I took of myself are iPhone pics, so the quality is kind of poor.

I've been non-stop busy since I came home from my trip in June with birthday parties, wedding showers, lake parties, and many other functions. I haven't really had the time to sit down and write about my experiences in London, Paris, or Cannes. I'm planning to write about Paris & Cannes together in another blog post soon to come, so keep your eyes peeled for that. 

I was tempted to split up my photographs from London into two parts because I was afraid the image-heavy post would discourage some readers. But I decided to keep it all in one post by clumping some of the pictures together in little collages.
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Some may disagree with me, but I think London is one of my favorite places in the world. There is so much to do, such a diverse population, a million places to stuff your face, and such a lovely place to get a little shopping done on any budget.

The photos above are all from the British Museum, which is an amazing place to visit if you are ever in London. The admittance is free with the request of a small donation of your choice. I have literally hundreds of pictures from the British Museum, but I decided to just share my favorites. As you can see, I even managed to snap a picture of the Rosetta Stone, which was surrounded by an enormous throng of tourists with clicking cameras. My favorite section of the British Museum includes many Egyptian artifacts & statues. 

If you are planning to the visit the British Museum, make sure to schedule plenty of time if you want to explore the museum in its entirety. There is a lot to look at, and it's difficult to get through the large mass of tourists in a big hurry.
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As you can see, my sister had bright pink hair during the duration of our trip. And it surely did cause some interesting situations, including a short British man almost causing a car accident while violently snapping pictures of my sister's hair with his phone camera. 
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I decided to go on a day of adventures in London solo. I know it probably wasn't the safest idea, but I'm pretty familiar with London and I felt comfortable exploring on my own. I was a little tired of basing all of my plans on others, and I just wanted to do my own thing. I visited the London Aquarium and the London Zoo on my day of adventures. No one else in my group was as excited as I was about these animal-related spots. The aquarium was very crowded, but it was worth it. My favorite exhibits were the clown fish & the piranhas. 
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I had an AMAZING time at the London Zoo! I'm definitely a huge animal-lover & animal rights advocate. After exploring Regent's Park, I found the London Zoo and paid for my entry. I immediately came upon the warthogs and llamas. Lots of squeeing, ooing, and awing came out of my mouth. Shortly after, I found the gorillas, lions, tigers, pygmy hippos, otters, exotic birds, and many more. I took dozens of pictures of each animal type. 

I was slightly disappointed when I didn't see a giraffe habitat, but I was happily surprised to discover that it was only hidden towards the back of the zoo. The giraffes were very friendly and photogenic.

I would definitely recommend the London Zoo to all of you animal lovers out there!
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My favorite animal habitat at the London Zoo was the Penguin Pool. There were at least 40 penguins swimming happily & doing tricks for little treat pellets. I even saw two baby penguins inside an incubator. I think penguins are among my favorite animals.
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If you are visiting London for the first time, you should definitely go see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It's an extremely tourist-heavy event, but it's something you should see at least once. 

You have to gather rather early if you want a good spot outside the Palace. Make sure to go with a small group and keep all of your belongings close to your person. 

My favorite part of the changing of the guards was all of the horses in uniform and the marching band. 
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Of course, there is Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. These are the biggie tourist spots in London, and they photograph beautifully from most angles. I have about 50 different angles of Big Ben alone. I even synchronized my pink Fossil watch with Big Ben! Across the Thames, there is the London aquarium and the London Eye. 
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I decided against riding the London Eye, which is a gigantic ferris wheel, because I was a little tired of waiting in lines full of noisy tourists. Instead, I walked down the Thames and crossed the Millennium Footbridge, which was featured in the 6th Harry Potter movie.
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Being the theatre major nerd that I am, I definitely had to visit Shakespeare's Globe. It was my second visit to the mecca for theatre nerds. I bought a few souvenirs, including a timeline of all of Shakespeare's plays for Zeth. We really wanted to see a play at the Globe, but our schedules wouldn't allow for it. It was nice just to visit a such a significant place and moon over all of the history.

My favorite part of Shakespeare's Globe, besides it being right on the banks of the Thames, was the front gate. The front gate was done in black wrought-iron and covered in a plethora of different animals, including a bear, shark, cat, frog, and an OWL!!
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Another nerdy place to visit would be Fleet Street. If you have seen Sweeney Todd, either the musical or the movie, you may be interested in visiting the infamous Fleet Street. Granted, there isn't anything really significant about the street except a large amount of barber shops. We stopped into a little restaurant on Fleet Street to eat lunch. We did keep a careful eye out for fingers & toes in our food ( if you haven't seen Sweeney Todd, you probably think I'm a little bit weird!!)
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Piccadilly Circus is one of my favorite places for shopping in London. It's sort of a tourist trap with its bright lights and souvenir shops, but there is something very magical about it. If you have ever seen a movie based in London, you have seen the jumbotron in Piccadilly Circus. It's sort of iconic, much like Times Square is to New York City. 


My sister and I found an adorable little bakery off of the main drag. They had pastries of every size, shape, color, and flavor. I gawked over the beautiful & extravagant wedding cakes in the window display. My sister and I probably gained 5 pounds from all the sweets we devoured in London (Granted, we walked it all off in turn). 


We ate in many pubs in the Piccadilly Circus area. If you are hungry and on a budget, stop into a pub for a warm meal. Pub food is delicious and much less expensive than regular restaurants.
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The highlight of my entire trip was seeing David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing. My sister and I are both extreme Doctor Who nerds, so we were pleased as punch to get tickets to see the 10th Doctor on stage. The show was sold out for the entirety of our stay in London, but happily, we were able to snag standing-room-only tickets. Yes, we stood up for nearly 3 hours to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and it was definitely worth it. They were both phenomenal. I sort of felt like a reject standing in the aisle, but we were moderately close to the stage and able to see their faces quite clearly. I bought a pair of real pearl earrings while we were in Scotland, and I wore them to the play for the first time.  

After the performance, my sister grabbed my arm and led me to the stage door at the back of the theatre. It was already packed with adoring fans. We wrestled our way up to the front and snagged autographs from both David Tennant & Catherine Tate. My sister even got a picture with David Tennant. I was too shy to ask for one though. It was such an amazing experience. 
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The view from my room in London.
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I developed the blues after a few days in London, and my sister dragged me to Covent Garden to do a little shopping. I think I was just really home sick. I'm such a homebody, and as much as I love traveling, I also love to be at home with a good book or movie.

We ate lunch at a really cute little Italian cafe and explored a marketplace style shopping area. I ended up having an amazing time with my sister. It started raining during our escapades, so we sought shelter inside an Apple store close to the Covent Garden tube station. On a sidenote, we didn't have internet data on our cellphones while we were abroad, so we stopped into every Apple store we could find to use their free wi-fi.
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Being quirky in London!
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There are dozens of other wonderful places to visit in London, but these are just a few of my favorites. The thing I love most about London is the diversity & variety. You can find just about anything in London if you look hard enough. 
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Lots of love & positivity!

7 Quirky Comments:

Raphaela said...

This is such an awesome post! I had no idea that you travelled to London. I have always wanted to go to England and Scotland. My school is having a conference in Glasgow next summer, and I might get accepted to travel there. If I go, we will stay in Glasgow for one week, Edinburgh for 5 days, and London for one week. I feel really inspired by all of your travel posts. Thanks for sharing all of your pictures too.

Miss Henderson said...

I'm from London and am currently in Australia and am soooo homesick! So thanks for the great post!! You've made me miss it even more!!
Can't wait for you Paris & Cannes Update!
xx

Alejandrita said...

Lovlely post!! I live in Madrid and I've never been in England xD (weird) But I'll try to go studding there too! ^^
Nice guide, I love the way you tell us your life, you're he best doing it ^^
Love!
http://deliriosdelirados.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Jacque!! I love your enthusiasm about London =D living there myself I kind of take it for granted.. I'm glad you had a nice time there though! Great post!

Zoƫ said...

Looks like it was an amazing trip! That's so cool that you got Catherine Tate and David Tennant's autographs! I can't wait to read other in-depth travel posts.

Jenn McClure- Caldwell said...

So I am totally jealous that you got to see all of this! Totally envious! I do love the pictures and hope that you have had a lot of fun. :)

http://jenn-mcclure.blogspot.com/

:)

Kelley Kronic said...

haha when violently snapping pictures can go wrong!!

people are so silly

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