I actually went to London on a tour when I was 15. Piece of advice right now: you will learn so much more about a city when you have to navigate it yourself. When you only have a guidebook and a map from the subway, rather than a guide and a tour bus, you quickly feel like part of the city. You have to remember not only what things are, but where they are in relation to other things, why they are important, and what they really look like.
When I was 15, I remember being on a walking tour and seeing a bunch of tourists climbing on some giant lion statues. Now, I can tell you I was in Trafalgar Square, just off the mall from Buckingham Palace. And I could tell you the significance of the square. I could tell you how to get to the Thames, the subway, and a pretty good noodle restaurant where the wait staff will ignore you.
There was one major pro and one major con to going to England in December. Pro: the Brits know how to go all out for Christmas. The lights, the decorations, the markets, the food. Oh, the food. I will attempting to make a Christmas pudding for Christmas Eve this year, if I can ever figure out what a "pudding mold" is.
|Look! A Christmas market selling AMAZING food in the center of Bath!|
|Yes, we are ridiculous, cold, and on the very cool Millennium Bridge in London.|
Basingstoke is the cutest little sleepy town. It's exactly what you imagine when you think of the English countryside. Small houses with thatched roofs, sheep, little one lane streets, and old stone churches. There is a more modern portion of the city with shopping malls and skyscrapers, but this is the part I love and make an effort to see.
|Small street in the oldest part of town.|
|Look! A cottage with a cat! Stay warm kitty!|
|A Christmas carousel in the middle of the town square|
|The Bath Abbey with the Christmas shops.|
|Deep inside the ancient Roman Baths.|
This one probably needs some explaining. I was pretending to be trapped in a phone booth. Not only did I make an awesome face, I made the accompanying noises, scaring the bejesus out of some locals before making them laugh. Afterward, I kept referencing the movie "Phonebooth", starring Colin Farrell (yummy) and singing a remixed version of R. Kelly's "Trapped in a Closet". I'm trapped in a phonebooth...
And finally, LONDON!
|On the London Eye with Parliament in the background.|
|The park squirrels are so used to people that they attack you for food.|
|Hey! Trafalgar Square and those lions!|
|Shout out to my momma! I tried so hard to find you a t-shirt with this written on it!|
|Dan wanted so badly to take this picture by the Rosetta stone in the British Museum, but there was always a crowd. When the museum was closing, with ninja speed, we finally got his "It's all Greek to me" picture.|
And in case I don't blog again before Christmas...
|Happy Christmas! (Or Merry, whatevs...)|