Dan’s Visit – SUCCESS!
Wow, guys. As I sit here on this (of course) cloudy day in London, I can’t help but think about how quickly time is flying. Just this past Thursday was our last day of classes for the term. Seriously?! It feels like just yesterday I was getting to JFK with my luggage and my anxiety (especially about this “blizzard” if you could call it that), and then landing in Heathrow ready to embark on this epic journey. And now, it’s already over!
Well, not exactly; I still have about a month left. But it’s going to be pretty lax for the most part. Starting yesterday, I am officially on Spring Break for the next two weeks. (Side note: I think it’s a little strange that they call it Spring Break. It’s not like we go back to classes; we just have finals when we get back.) I have one actual exam on the 28th, and the other three are just papers that are all due May 5th. Pretty sweet if you ask me. For Spring Break, I’m going to Dublin to visit my family and staying with them for the whole two weeks. During that time, I’m also visiting my friend Allison (the same Allison who came to visit a few weeks ago) in Rome. I’m SO excited for this upcoming vacation; I’ve been waiting to go to Ireland for so long. Also, a bunch of my friends just got back from Ireland and told me it was fantastic which of course got me even more excited! But before getting excited for this trip, I had something else to be excited about….
Last Saturday, my boyfriend, Dan came to visit for the week! It was SOOOOOOOOOO good seeing him again; I’ve missed him a LOT! Also, we’ve been talking about this week since the end of January, so it was great to have it finally happen. You see, this trip was more than just a week together after months apart: even before we were dating, we would talk about London and how we both have always really wanted to go. We would say that we should go together, since it was a big dream of both of ours, knowing it would probably never happen. But look, it did! It felt great to actually be in London with him, like we always talked about.
It was also great to see someone from New York; it made me feel at home and miss it quite a bit. Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been around to blog this past week; I’ve been showing him the greatness that is this beautiful city! From what he’s told me, he loved it! While we covered most of the major “London-esque” things (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, etc.), we also got to do a bunch of things I haven’t even done yet. Here’s how it went:
Saturday: He got here in the morning and of course was exhausted, so we didn’t do much. Had fish and chips of course! Showed him around Oakwood and Southgate and went food shopping for the week. A pretty anti-climatic first day in London. Afterward, we made dinner in the Sassoon kitchen and had an early night.
Sunday: We made some breakfast, then headed over to Covent Garden since it’s the best on the weekends. Saw a few street performers, went into a bunch of the shops, had Ben’s Cookies (Mmmm!), and ate British pub food. Later that night, we met up in Central London with a bunch of my friends so he could meet them.
Monday: This was our busiest day! After Dan had his very first English Breakfast (and loved it, of course!) we started off with something I had yet to do – see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace! We got there early, but not early enough; it was PACKED. Got to see it with a limited view, but it was still cool. The band played an assortment of ABBA songs which we weren’t expecting at all. Afterward, we took a stroll in St. James Park, right next to the Palace, and got some hot chocolate. Then we headed over to Big Ben and Parliament – which, of course, was a favorite – and got a few shots of Westminster Abbey. Then, because we had time and we were semi-close, we headed over to the Imperial War Museum. We didn’t get to see all of it, obviously, but I knew there was an exhibit on the Holocaust which I was interested in. Not exactly the cheeriest moment of his trip, but interesting nonetheless. We were both pretty exhausted – museums wear me out and we had already done a lot of walking – so we headed back over to Parliament Square for our next adventure: The London Eye. This was one of the things Dan told me he wanted to do and, even though I am absolutely TERRIFIED of heights, I agreed. Plus, it was a reduced price because it was the 10th anniversary of the Eye, so why not? BAH, I would not recommend this for people afraid of heights. It was amazing to see the view from the top, but for about 80% of the ride I was glued to the seat, along with an older woman who seemed to be cursing under her breath in a different language, out of fear. I felt bad because Dan was totally enjoying it; I wished I could’ve been more into it, but I think he understood.
Tuesday: Didn’t do much during the day, especially since it was pouring. Well, at least he got to experience typical London weather. At night, I had planned on going to see Avenue Q, but because of “the holiday” (Easter, I’m assuming?) ticket prices weren’t as reduced as they normally were. We didn’t really want to spend 36 quid each, so we saw a movie instead. Not as thrilling, I know, but oh well. We saw Bounty Hunter, and it was pretty good. Probably not as good as Avenue Q would’ve been, I imagine, but it was good to get out of the rain. Before the movie we got these coupons for a free dish at Yo! Sushi, a sushi bar that ran on conveyor belts. We were both getting hungry so we figured we’d take advantage of the offer. It was pretty tasty, and a cool thing to experience. I don’t believe I’ve seen anything like that at home, but I’ll definitely keep my eye out in May. 🙂
Wednesday: We went to Bath for the day, which we were both really looking forward to. From what I saw on the website, it was beautiful. But OY! What a morning! We got up at around 6am, got the first uni bus at 7, and stopped into Tesco for an amazing chocolate croissant. No croissants! The manager told me they’d be done in “about 10-15 minutes, not long.” Me being the ridiculous person that I am, I insisted on waiting because these croissants are just THAT good. Well, almost a half an hour had gone by before I realized how long we’d been standing there. Then Dan told me the guy was JUST starting to make them. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I was starving and stressing about time, so we got coffee/hot chocolate and muffins and left. Took a long tube ride to Paddington station for the train to Bath. Upon arriving at the ticket kiosk, I realized how crucial it was to buy tickets online/in advance. I was expecting we would pay £29.50 for two tickets to Bath, but it was A LOT more. Then we JUST missed the train by seconds and had to wait a half an hour for the next. This whole morning was turning into a giant fail and I got really upset, but once we were on the train and finally arrived at Bath at 11, I had calmed down. Only to realize that I never wrote down the name of the B&B we were going to stay at! AH! After what felt like a wild goose chase, we finally got the name and address of the place and after lunch, we checked in to the Radnor (an adorable and pretty inexpensive B&B for anyone planning a trip to Bath – I recommend!) and continued our Bath adventure. We originally wanted to visit Bath Abbey first and do the Tower Tour, but we had missed the last tour by 15 minutes. Oh well, we got to walk around the church for a bit. So, first stop was the Roman Baths. We walked around for about 90 minutes and even got to taste Spa water! I thought it was pretty gross because it was hot, but it was cool to drink water from the actual spa. Then we went to the Fashion Museum (sounds random, I know, but we got a discounted ticket with our ticket to the Roman Baths). It was interesting I guess, but if it hadn’t been for the discount, I probably wouldn’t have gone in. After that, we walked around a bit more. I realized that Bath was different than I expected. Sure, there were historical buildings/sights, but it was also this really cute, small town with a lot of small shops. But then you turn the corner and BAM! There’s an H&M and Quiksilver? So it had its modern moments. Then we reached The Circus and the Royal Crescent. Walking back to the B&B to change for dinner, we also saw Pulteney Bridge. I was confused because as I was walking along this path with shops on it, I was looking in the distance for a bridge, only to discover that I was walking Pulteney Bridge! Apparently it’s the only bridge in the area to have shops built along it. Later that night, we went to a cute restaurant called The Real Italian Pizza Co. It was a very colorful place with great Italian food at a good price. After an exhausting day in Bath, we SLEPT!
Thursday: We woke up at 7am and got ready for our full English Breakfast (included with the price of the B&B) which was delicious! They also had a bunch of cereals and juices and teas, all of which I took advantage of. Mm mm mmm!! Then we checked out at 8 (after purchasing our tickets back to London ONLINE this time) and headed back into the city for our guided tour to Stonehenge! I’ll admit, it wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. Sure, it was really great seeing something that’s so historically famous, and it was obviously something I needed to see during my stay in the UK, but there wasn’t much to do. The tour gave us an hour on the site, but Dan and I were done in about 30 minutes. It was SO WINDY at the sight, so we didn’t mind heading back to the tour bus early. And I felt like such a jerk that day, because when I went to take a picture of Dan with his camera and dropped it!!! The screen cracked 🙁 It still works, but if you can’t see what you’re taking a picture of, what’s the point? I felt awful for the rest of the day/his visit. I still feel bad. Oy, I’m so clumsy sometimes… Anywho, we got back to London at around 5 and met Ashley for dinner; she wanted to meet Dan.
Friday: LAZY MORNING! After an exhausting and jam-packed week, it’s exactly what we needed. At around 11:30, we went over to Tesco; I needed some ingredients for lunch and dinner that night. Lo and behold, they had croissants! They weren’t on display yet, but the guy let me have 2….straight from the oven. OMG. Best croissants I’ve ever had from Tesco. Yum! After making lunch, we headed over to Tower Bridge, the last must-see on my list. It was around sunset when we got there. I figured we could walk the Thames Path for a bit – between Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge – as the sun was setting. A nice romantic, laid-back way to end the week. And it wasn’t even that cold! (Forgot to mention that I stupidly told Dan not to bring a heavy coat because it was getting nicer; naturally, it was cold and rainy this whole week, despite the conditions last week.) We got back to Middlesex and made another delicious meal and had tea and crumpets for dessert. 🙂
Today: Woke up, Dan wanted another English Breakfast before heading back to New York. Then chilled out in my room until around 1:30 when we left for Heathrow. This week seemed to fly by, but like I said before, it was great to be in London with him. And just to see him in general – I’ve missed him so much! This goodbye wasn’t as emotional and heart-wrenching as the one we had in January, mostly because we know we’ll be seeing each other in about a month. But I know I’ll still be missing him until May.
Now I just have to upload my pictures, clean my room, do some laundry, and prepare for MY upcoming trips. Also, I’ll wish everyone a Happy Easter! 🙂