Today was exhausting. I woke to my roommate telling me that we’d be leaving in fifteen minutes. Ticked off that I was so rushed, I scrambled to clothe myself and throw everything in my backpack, ran down the stairs, loaded my backpack and the robe bag, and snatched a giant hunk of bread and some cheese from the breakfast buffet. Then we began our four-hour drive to London, during which I caught up on blog entries while almost everyone slept.
We arrived in London around 1:00, and stopped for lunch at Covent Gardens near the city center. It was a touristy spot, an enclosed two-level area lined with inauthentic food shops. Vanessa, Brittney, and I spotted a giant orange vat filled with bright orange seafood paella in the open area of the bottom level, and got some. As we sat by a wall and ate, a string quartet began to play energetic renditions of Mozart and Ravel’s Bolero in the eating area. “There’s no place like London,” I guess.
Then we had a three-hour bus tour of the city, and saw all the iconic locations-- St. Paul’s Church, the Tower of London and the Bridge, Westminster Cathedral, Parliament, the London Eye, and many other places. It was cool to see all the places, but I was frustrated by our guide’s habit of saying “and there’s such-and-such” without telling us which direction to look.
At 5:30 we settled into our hotel, and I quickly proceeded to leave for a stroll around the neighborhood with Allison Alpers and Emily Davis. The best thing we saw was Kensington Park, an enormous lawn covered in mature trees, pleasant walkways, and pleasant flowers. Since it was a beautiful Sunday evening, hundreds (maybe thousands) of people were there laying on the lawns, all with enough space for intimacy. We returned to the hotel for a 7:00 dinner. After dinner I went for a long walk around the parks with Vanessa and Paul Atkins, used the Internet and blogged, and now I’m off to bed.