Welcome Down to London Town!

I’m delivering on my promise to you all! Another post, right after the other. This post details my time in London. I spent the first four days of my free travel experience in London.

Free travel was a point of anxiety for both my parents and I going into this trip.  The thought of ten days, without my professors traveling throughout Europe with other students, freaked my parents out. Therefore, I went into this trip very anxious about what my free travel plans would be and if they would appease my parents. My plans presented themselves in the form of two glorious cities. London and Lisbon… First, I was to head to London with three girls from my group: Sarah, April, and Madeleine. We met up with a boy from our group there as well, he came to London on a separate flight.

So, Friday, October 11 was the beginning of free travel. Sarah, April, Madeleine and I woke up to leave our hotel in Vienna at 5:20 AM. We had to catch a bus to Bratislava, where our airport was. The bus was to leave Vienna at 6 and so we had to be quick… We jumped on the subway with our travel backpacks in search of the bus station. What we didn’t realize was how far the bus station was from our hotel. We had fifteen minutes to go 13 or so stops on the subway and then we had to exit the subway and find the bus station. We sat on the subway as the minutes ticked away and the stops faded away, and by the time we reached the stop where the bus station was to be, we flew out of the subway sprinting and it was 5:55AM. We had about five minutes to find a bus station, buy tickets and get on the bus. We asked the first person we saw whether or not they knew where the station was, they said that it was down the stair.. We took off running, Madeleine was in the lead, bounding down the stairs at a rapid pace. She was going so fast actually, that we lost her… So April, Sarah and I were scrambling to find her. We didn’t know whether or not she exited the staircase at street level, or kept going down the stairs, or what level she had gotten off at. Then, we heard her screaming for us… We didn’t know where the screaming was coming from though… Until I ran out onto the street and saw her at the end of the road next to a huge bus screaming as loud as she could for us while trying to catch her breath. I signal to April and Sarah to follow me and we sprint to the bus. We pay, the bus driver throws out luggage in the hold and the bus takes off… We entered the bus at 6:01 AM. It was the most stressful beginning to free travel I could have imagined.

Good news though, after this, we could handle anything. We got to the airport and headed to London! When we arrived in London, surprise, surprise, it was raining! Classic London. We couldn’t check into our hostel until 9 PM. When we arrived, it was midday. We went in search of food and sights with 30 pound backpacks on our backs and umbrella’s in hand.

We stumbled upon Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress better known as the Tower of London, which was used as a prison in the 16th and 17th C. It has an enduring reputation as place of torture and death.

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Then, we found the tower bridge. The photo below showcases how bad the weather was. The wind turned my umbrella inside out! I didn’t know what else to do but laugh…

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Tourist pic with my travel backpack… Hahaha

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Tower Bridge.

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This was a very exhausting day.

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Tourist pic after tourist pic… So many

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The bridge in all its glory.

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We walked across the bridge,

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Then, stumbled upon St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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But, after these historical London sights… We found a TOPSHOP. I had never been to one before and so I was so excited to explore this store… Of course, I found a jacket there and bought it.

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After a long day of walking, shopping and carrying 30 pound backpacks, we were exhausted and a little bit miserable. We took the subway to find food… When we exited the subway station we saw this beautiful sight, BIG BEN ❤ When we saw this, the exhaustion of the day slipped away for a few seconds, we were in awe of the awesomeness of this building.

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Then, we went to dinner at a pub and met up with the boy from our Bethel group who had arrived in London.  He was to stay in the same hostel as us so we met up with him and headed to the hostel. When we arrived at the hostel, we checked in and found our rooms. I was in a ten person room with the boy from my group, DJ and as it happened, 8 other males. That was an interesting experience. I felt like I was the only girl at an all boys camp… with 5 sets of bunkbeds lining the walls of this cabin style room. To say the least, it was an interesting learning experience.

Then, the next day, we woke up and had breakfast at the hostel together. Then, Sarah, DJ and I went out for the day. We jumped on the subway in search of the most touristy things possible to do!

This was in the subway station, Sherlock:

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Our first stop, THE LONDON EYE ❤

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DJ, Sarah and I in front of the London Eye.

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We had to wait in line to buy tickets to ride the London eye and in the line there were wax figures. I took this time to take some wedding pictures with my new husband, David. Yes, it’s true.. He left Victoria. (hahahahah jk)

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Then, once in the London eye… I saw this awesome view.

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Sarah and I in the London Eye

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DJ, Sarah & I 🙂

London Eye

Then, after  the London eye, we walked across one of the many bridges in London and saw some pretty cool stuff…

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This man wearing a kilt was pretty cool…

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We happened upon Westminster Abbey.

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And a classic London telephone booth!

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So, I got a few touristy pictures of course…

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Then we wandered through St. James’s Park… Found a food cart, got food and sat in the park and ate.

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Then, it was off to search for Buckingham Palace… We followed the Princess Diana Memorial Walkway and happened upon it.

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So much beautiful foliage outside of Buckingham Palace.

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I’ve decided if I die, I want a statue above my grave with me and a Lion like this.. So cool. Definitely leaving an instruction for my children in my will to create one of these for me.

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I saw these two girls looking in on Buckingham Palace, they were a real life Blair and Serena (Gossip Girl reference) so I had to take a picture of them. Loved their outfits.

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There was no changing of the guard ceremony this day, so we came back the next day.

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Buckingham Palace in all of its glory.

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Oh, how I wish I was a royal…

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Then, later that night after, Buckingham palace we met April and Madeleine under Big Ben and went out to dinner with Madeleine’s brothers girlfriend Suzie, who is from Scotland but was visiting a friend in London. I saw this awesome sight on our way to dinner. We had dinner at a Gourmet Burger Kitchen, SO GOOD.

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The next day, we went back to Buckingham to see the changing of the guard. Went to church at Hillsong church and out to lunch! So much fun.

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Then later, we went to Trafalgar’s Square and to  a taco place.

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Trafalgar’s square

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That night, we went back to our hostel early to pack and get a good nights rest! The next morning we all had a travel day ahead. My travel day was to PORTUGAL. My next post will be about my time in Portugal. Be ready, it is hopefully coming very soon 🙂 Thank  you all for waiting for these posts and reading them. Sorry this one is so short! I was only in London for three full days. My next post will be about my 5 days in Portugal! Until next time.

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