Friday, November 29, 2013

Day 9--Paris, France

April 27th, 2012

Wow, big day today. Got up early and headed out with our newly purchased Metro cards to the Notre Dame. First we found a totally local, all French menu for some brekkie. Had  my first croissant in France! So delicious. It was like it was melted in butter *drool*. It felt amazing to just sit in a Parisian café and eat breakfast. Check.

The Notre Dame was a short walk away with amazing scenery. These buildings are incredible. The Notre Dame was no joke. Wow. I cannot believe how beautiful it was. The gargoyles have been spotted! Quasimodo is that you?! Insdie was gorg. Another candle lit for the fam. Of course, the angels were my favorite part. There was one at the back that I loved. It was just so neat to bein the place that inspired The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

We did some street shopping and I found a Tour de France hat for my Dad! Yay! He’s gonna love, love, love it! The Lourve was next and after narrowly missing getting robbed by a 10 year old with a cigarette in her mouth we made it to the courtyard of the Louvre. Sidenote: these children pretended to be deaf and mute and as you sign their petition to “help” them, they try and rob you. Ew. Paris, I’m not impressed right now. Dirty. Anyway. SO. Holy hell, this courtyard is no joke. Neither is this former palace. This used to be the home of Louis XIV before he built Versailles. I had no idea how big it was! It is massive! And that glass pyramid that is famously in the middle of the courtyard felt so out of place to me. I did not like it at all. It was this huge, modern monstrosity in the middle of all this old architectural glory.

The fake Arc de Triumph was right in front so we decided just to walk straight down to the Champps Elysses to the real Arc. Um, the Champps Elysses is ridiculously legit. First, it’s beautiful. Its like this shiny, bright spot with marble and gold and beautiful clothing everywhere. The Louis Vuitton store was unreal. I want everything. The Zara store had so many cute things I want to hoard it all. The damage I could do with unlimited funds would be ridiculous. I would like Victoria Beckham fabulous every frickin’ day. I did personally splurge and buy a clutch that’s cream with gold studs—it’s bloody beautiful. And I bought a really nice scarf for Mom which I can’t WAIT to give her. She can tell all the wonderers she got it from her daughter when she went to Paris. Yeah, I’m excited about that.

We got yelled at—twice—in H & M because the line for the dressing room was entirely too long. So we guerilla changed into the dresses we wanted to try on over our clothes in the corner. Yeah, that didn’t go over well.

We finished the shopping Mecca and found the Arc de Triumph to take some pictures. Then we went in search of food. All we wanted were some baguette sandwiches and macaroons. It wasn’t too much to ask for in Paris. It took forever and our blood sugars were probably about 36 and we were cranky as hell. We finally found some macaroons and then a little café to eat at. Seriously though, how hard is it to find a damn café in France. What the F.

On the way home we stopped at the liquor store where we spend a whopping 5.37 Euro on wine and 1.33 Euro on champagne…no joke. So of course, we bought another bottle. We drank, got ready, jammed to Disney music, and headed out for a night out in Paris. A frickin’ hour Metro ride later as well as a confusing walk in front of the Eiffel Tower later—as well as a pitstop in a bar—we finally found our tour group…we were only 50 minutes late…oops. Becs saved us food, thank goodness. We skulled (Australian for chugged) our bottle of wine—classy—and headed to the cabaret show.

Sidenote: So we made time in our day to make sure to go back to the hotel to change and look nice. Everyone else must have come straight from whatever they chose to do that day because they were all staring at us like wild animals. I don’t understand. Um, hi, yes we dressed up, that’s what Becs said to do. Sorry you all didn’t time manage properly and look like scrubs. I don’t know if you know this but we are in Paris—fashion capitol of the world, the hell if I’m not busting out my hot girl disguise and smokin’ fabulous dress. This is what I brought it for. Stop staring. I know that sounds terrible but it was so weird.

The cabaret show was really cute. Topless girls, shirtless guy dancing on a rope and trapeze. Pretty entertaining. Not the best thing I’ve ever seen but I’m glad I’ve seen a cabaret show. Check.

So yeah, after the show everybody, I mean everybody but us, bitched out and went home. What the flying hell?? We are in Paris! Why aren’t you partying!? If I’M telling people to party, there is a serious problem here. Idiots.

We almost got scammed by our first taxi driver who drove around in circles trying to get to the Notre Dame. Jara was finally like um, no. Threw 5 euro at him and yelled for us to get the fuck out of the cab. Good girl. We walked around skulling wine out of Jara’s jacket. Pure class. Oh yeah, I kind of stole that bottle of wine from the cabaret show…sorry not sorry.

After Rachel asking a police officer where we can party, we found a trip of Latin bars aka the Latin Quarter. It was okay. Nobody really knew what was a good bar to go to, everyone we asked was clueless. Do you people not live in this city? I knew the French were arrogant but I didn’t think they were this stupid. Random French guy we were talking to tried to all of the sudden kiss me on the mouth. What the fuck? Then he told me he wanted to take me back to his house to make sex…and this is when we walked away. How does one make sex? Strange wording. Creep.

However, all was not lost. This adorable English-speaking French boy came up to us and asked if we would accompany them to an Irish bar because they can’t get in without girls. Sure. Why not? He was skinny and I told him I could take him down if I needed to. His name is Romeo. Is this real life? And he’s half Italian. I think I’m in love. HAHA.

We get to the Irish bar and the boys still couldn’t get in. Oops. Sorry not sorry. This place had excellent music and we danced and had a fabulous time. Ok, Paris, you have redeemed yourself.

So, another hidden talent I found I have is busting out random French. Sweet. Trying to flag down a cab I refused to get into one that didn’t have an English-speaking driver. So the first four cabs I saw, when I opened the door I asked, ‘parle-vouz ingle?’ Yeah…it’s a common phrase but I don’t know where that came from. 5th cab was the charm and we made it back safe and sound. Tomorrow we say au revoir to Paris but stay tuned for some thing I learned while there.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Breakdown--France

'I'm goin to France, y'all!!'...Who doesn't a Bridesmaid quote?...Anyone? Ok, so here are my picks for some books that take place in France and are definitely worth to check out prior to touching down in Paris...or if you'd like to feel like you're there :)

This book is phenomenal and will be featured in my future 'Inspirations to Travel' post. This book captures the beauty and freedom of France perfectly. The whole book does not take place here but the story afterwards is just perfection. This book is one of my favs and it could be yours, too! Just keep in mind, this book will inspire you to do more than just travel; it will inspire you to live life to the fullest. 

Historical fiction about how Brittany fought to keep their independence. You learn about the history of France a bit and the story will be impossible to put down.

This book is a bit of a stretch for France but it does take place just don't get a lot of scenery. This book is SO worth it though. It could probably count for England more than France but I had so many for England I waned to share the wealth. This book is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES so if you get a chance just read it because you want to. It's incredible. 

Do YOU have any books that take place in France that I missed?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 8--Paris, France

April 26th, 2012

Top Deck tour!!! Day One! After a whopping 4 hours of sleep—which felt like I blinked and my alarm went off—it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated waking up. We checked in and met our tour guide Becs who seems super sweet. Quick breakfast and it was on the bus to Paris! 2 hours later we got to the ferry…’I have a thing for ferry boats.’… Sadly, no McDreamy on this boat. I was so nervous I was going to be sick with all the rocking and swaying but after sitting down and some food it was all good.
90 minutes later we officially arrived in FranceCalais to be exact and all I could think of was the battle in ‘The Queen’s Fool.” Such a good book but such a sad part, however still amazing to have been there. More bus ride with beautiful scenery. Green valleys and I was thinking of Beauty and the Beast. Besides YOLO, my other motto for this trip is ‘I want adventure in the great, wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell.’ Which is so true. I felt anxious at certain points, like really scared and nervous to be away for so long in a strange place where I really have no fall back or resources. But then I remembered that life doesn’t happen when you’re sitting on your ass. Life doesn’t happen until you step out of your comfort zone. I read that somewhere and I didn’t understand it fully until this trip and it is SO true. You have to go out and find life. I want to find life and experiences. I want to be able to tell my kids stories one day of all the amazing places I’ve been and seen and all the cool ass things I’ve done.

Emo moment over. We got into Paris around 5 pm. We got ready and went to a local restaurant across the street. We all know how adventurous I am with foods so y’all might want to sit down. I ate escargot—yes, that is snail, tasted like a mushy meatball—and frog’s legs—bland, soft chicken, haha. The dinner was SO good! Onion soup and beef bourgeon with noodles. Yum! Oh, and of course, tons of baguettes.

We did a city lights tour after supper and got to do an impromptu stop at the Sacre Cour cathedral. Oh my gosh, it was breathtaking! Its on top of a hill which took a hike to get up but was so worth it! We were looking out at the entire city of Paris. Shit son. I cannot describe how amazingly beautiful it is. Indescribable. Pictures do not do it justice. The church itself is gorgeous and I made a donation and lit a candle for Granny, G-Pa and Auntie Nina. It’s tradition. Gotta do it.

After that we saw the rest of Paris via bus. I’ve had the Anastasia song ‘Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart’ stuck in my head since we got here…well, that and N***** in Paris. The first thing we saw was the Red Light District which is home to the Moulin Rouge!! It was so frickin’ cool. Weird though because it’s stuck in the middle of the strip of building on the street. The Arc de Triumph with Napoleon’s eternal flame which I didn’t know existed until today, was beautiful. We got some night pics at the Eiffel Tower! Eep! I could not believe I was seeing it in person with my own eyes. Unbelievable. I can’t wait to just walk around and be in the city. We also drown down the Champps Elysses. Holy hell. Can I puh-lease have the means one day to afford a small shopping spree through this amazingness? It’s not even that I want expensive things. I want the design and look of the expensive things, haha.

Early night after the tour for a big sight-seeing day tomorrow! Eep! Oh and since ive left England now I can recap what I’ve learned! Stay tuned!

Peace out, London. It’s been real.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What I Learned in England

What I Learned in England

1. They treat ketchup like a gold commodity--really, it's just a condiment, c'mon people. 

2. London is quite ashamed of the bloody history of the Tower and would really love for it to be recognized as a palace--not gonna happen, give the people what they want. 

3. Hampton Court Palace is the most underrated tourist attraction...ever.

4. I have an innate talent to get men I barely know to buy me 267 pound champagne and rack up a 500 pound bar tab.

5. British girls suck major if we Americans can wrangle in men with no make-up, casual clothes, and flat boots on. Charming.

6. I really want a castle.

7. Harry Potter is still the greatest thing of all time and always will be. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

TIps and To-Dos--London

So, I know I said I wouldn't use this as anything but a transcription of my journal...yeah, I wanted to do more than just "read" my journey to you guys. Now, I am NOT an expert by any means. This feature is for very basic tips and tricks and my favorite to-dos in each city. Everyone is different, everyone has different likes and dislikes and ways of doing things so don't take my word as law is all I'm sayin'. 

London. One of my absolute FAVORITE cities in the world. I have now been there twice and have a plan to go back in June with my sister who has been dying to go there forever! There is so much rich history and culture. The West End holds the theater district and it is just incredible. You could easily spend 2 weeks there doing something everyday and there will STILL be things you haven't done. My goal the next time I go is to get out to Wales and Oxford. I wanted to go this year and we just didn't have time! Plus there was a wind issue--eep. Ok, here we go.

1. Get an Underground map and buy your Oyster card. 
London is massive and you just cannot walk everywhere you need to go. The Underground is also massive and the system can be confusing but DON'T FREAK OUT. Calmly look at the lines and connections. Or ASK FOR HELP. Once you get the hang of the Underground, you can get anywhere. The world is your oyster...see what I did there?

London is SUCH an expensive city and don't be fooled by thinking the British pound is equal to the American dollar (if you are American and reading this, if you are from another country, sorry. However, the conversion still won't be the same...anyway). Every attraction you want to go to will cost money. Food is expensive. Shows are also expensive (see next tip). Just make sure you really look into your finances and save as much as you can before you go because London is the most expensive city I've been to. Of course, it is also where there is EVERYTHING I want to do.

3. Love the theater? Want to see a show? 
Research into the show's Day Tickets.
 I went to see Let It Be and We Will Rock You when I was just there and because I bought my tickets the day of the show during a certain time, I got AMAZING seats at a very cheap price. Grab brochures for shows you want or inquire at the box office. You will save yourself a ton of money buying the day of. Of course, not every show will have this, just do your research. 

4. Don't overestimate yourself and the concept of time. 
Because there is SO much to do you might think you can get in all 3 attractions you want to go to. Don't overreach. Traveling via Underground takes more time than you will probably think, especially if there isn't good service on the line. Don't get frustrated with crowds either. It is a huge tourist city so lots of people want the best experience. Give yourself more time than you think to get around and get to your destinations.

5. Do a hop on-hop off tour.
I would recommend this in any city. If you are traveling along and not with a tour group, it might be overwhelming to know what are the best things to see in each city. With London, there are too many things to see unless you move there. Doing a hop on-hop off tour will get you around to at least SEE all the major palaces and churches. You might not have time to go in all of them but at least you can say that you've seen it. London, again, is huge. Get a feel for it by getting on a bus tour. They usually run about 2 hours if you stay on for the whole tour. It also is a good way to get around during the day. Hop off at the Tower, hop back on and it will eventually get you to Buckingham Palace. Efficient.

6. Research your accommodation site. 
Do a little research into where you are staying. Make sure it is near a Tube station and, if at all possible, a popular one. 

Must See!
The Tower of London
Lots of history. Site of executions. Crown Jewels. What's not to love?

The Making of Harry Potter
Uh...need I really explain?

Buckingham Palace
Quick stop. Take some pictures. See the change of the guard--check the schedule. Off season they only change the guard every other day. Peak season (summertime) they do it every day.

Westminster Abbey
See where Kate and Will got married! The cathedral is beautiful on the outside and my number one goal my next trip is to get inside! It was closed when I went :(

Hampton Court Palace
SO underrated! This place is outside of London so you will have to take a train, takes about 30 minutes, but it is so worth it. I swear, the gardens inspired Lewis Carroll. Home of Henry VIII, it is a must see for me, if you love history, it will be for you, too. 

You Can Skip

Shakespeare's Globe
I was so disappointed in this. Small exhibition. Nothing really to see. If you LOVE Shakespeare, go to say you've been there, if you're not, you can definitely skip this. 

Abbey Road
Don't be fooled by the Underground stop labeled Abbey Road. I learned the hard way it is NOT the infamous Beatles site. That is much more centrally located in London. Do your research. I would tell you myself but I can't remember either!

Hope this can help you guys in some planning! I'm always available via Twitter or email if you want more details, have questions about my experience, or just want to talk traveling! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 7--London, England

April 25th, 2012

Shakespeare and Harry Potter today!!! Morning actually felt fine. No hangover. Score. Plan is to hit up shakespeare’s Globe and then journey to Harry Potter—eep!!

So the weather sucked…I mean really sucked. Rainy as all hell, windy as all hell. We got lost from the Underground to the theater no less than three times. Miserable cannot begin to describe. My umbrella flipped inside out no less than 12 times until it finally broke. Eff. My. Life. FINALLY found the Globe. Honestly, London needs to work out their maps, they suck hard.

Walked through the exhibition, and honestly, I was pretty underwhelmed. I was so looking forward to seeing The Globe but it burned down a second time! How did I not know this?! How stupid do I feel? I guess we were on the grounds of the original site of the plays which is cool. The replica of the inside is pretty legit so it looks like all the images I’ve seen. Really glad I went…buuuuut I would not go back again. Or recommend others to go there. Not worth the time.

Now, ladies and gentlemen is the main event. The Making of Harry Potter. Oh. My. Gosh. !. word cannot describe the feelings of elation and excitement. For real. The lobby gave me chills. Legit. They had huge pics of all the main characters. Some old, some young, all very amazing. We stood in awe for a few minutes then went to pick up our audio tour and our guidebook. Yes!

The first part is a short movie about how influential and popuilar the moves are. They showed peope screaming and crying at the premieres…and yes, I did tear up. It was so cool; so freakin’ cool.

After that, we sat in the theater for another shortmovie; this one narrated and introduced by Harry, Ron, and Hermione…oh boy. They talked about how the cast and crew worked so hard and they are like a family. And it ended with them in front of the doors of the Great Hall inviting us in…and the screen lifted…and there were doors…the actual doors to the Great Hall. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry. Because I totally did. Like a gush of just pure emotion. I love Harry Potter. Oh so much. I had to just stand back and realize the magnitude of this moment. This is the Great Ha. This is where all the amazing actors worked and brought Harry Potter to life. Holy crap. The costumes inside representing the staff and the students were amazing!

The next section were props and costumes and then we saw the Gryffindor boy’s dormitory—eep! The common room was just as amazing but my favorite thing was the display of the wands. I don’t know why I find this so sool but I do. The fact that each want is so different looking and unique and reflect their personality I find so clever and amusing. JK Rowling is beyond genius. Next were some more props and Dumbelore’s office! His huge desk and background were beautiful!

OH! My other favorite display was of all the Horcruxes. The tiara, diary, and locket were phenomenally cool to see. So sparkly yet dark and intense, I just loved it! Then it was time to ride a broomstick…no, I’m serious. You sit on a broomstick and they CGI that shit so you look like you’re flying through Hogwards. Wore a robe and everything. Baller! Pretty sure a large portion of T’s and my life goals were completed with this task. We can die slightly—ok a lot!—happier now that we have rode a broomstick. Nerds for life.

Had some Butterbeer and I hate to say this but the drink at Universal in Florida was way better…sorry not sorry. Outside they had all the huge chess pieces, the Knight bus, Number 4 Privet drive and the bridge from the last movie! So many amazing pieces! Diagon Alley was next!! Eeep! Felt like I should have had my book list with me.

Then…it was the big finale…the Hogwarts castle. Oh. My. Gosh. Every screen shot of footage of the outside castle was taken from this 1/24 size scale model. I was looking at Hogwarts…no joke. More tears. Seriously, how could you not?! It was beautiful. It was Hogwarts. I finally made it. I was so moved and inspired a part of me really felt like I was coming home. Ugh. I just love Harry Potter so much *crying tears of joy*

Wow, end of the tour. Last but not least we enter the room before the gift shop that is filled with wants and a huge quote on the wall by JK Rowling and it says this:

‘The stories we love best really do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.’--JK Rowling

And I promise you this, it was the last time I cried. Final count of four; I expected around 7, which would have been very fitting. I just can’t take that quote. Speaks to my soul.

Ok, as if I haven’t enough already, I am going to gush about Harry Potter just for another minutes. I need to get out all my feels. People that don’t read it or don’t get it I honestly feel bad for. It’s not just about wizards and magic (but to believe in magic and put that out there for people to believe in is genius). It’s about so much more. It’s the ultimate battle between good and evil. It’s about standing up for what you know is the right thing. You don’t follow the pressure of what is evil or what is the easiest. You have to fight. It’s not pretty, its not easy. Its hard. As is risking your life for others. The scene in the Deathly Hallows where they all change into Harry in order to protect him was my defining moment. Everything looked different after that. The fact that so many people were willing to risk their lives for one person and potentially made the greatest sacrifice is so inspiring it give me chills…always. If people can’t get that there is no hope for them. Rowling is so freakin’ clever that she writes books that can be read and interpreted by so many ages its ridiculous. You can read them throughout your whole life and get a different perspective every time. Phenomenal would be an understatement. Awe-inspiring. *sigh*

End note—They say people typically take 3 hours to go through The Making of Harry Potter…we did in 4.5…and hardly spoke the entire time…oops

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Breakdown--What To Read Before London

So as many of you may know, I also blog books over at Belle of the Literati. I love my books and I thought as a fun feature on the blog I could put down relevant books to certain cities or countries. I won't have this for every country but for some major ones, there are definitely some books you might want to check out before traveling to these amazing places!

So. London. It is no secret I am a HUGE history geek, so this particular city will have a TON of books you can read in prep for London. OR if traveling isn't your thing or you can't get over there, these books will make you FEEL as if you are in London. A lot of these are historical fiction, so if that's not your thing...sorry, bro.

Um...must I even explain this one?

This book takes place in the 1400s and it just gives you a feel of the history of this amazing country. It is bloody but it is steeped in romance and sweeping descriptions of the palaces and landscape. I love this book and you get to learn while you read.

I LOVE Anne Boleyn. I am a hardcore fangirl and this book takes place when Anne is a young girl. I love the characterization and humanization of this woman who is often painted as a villain. The emotions are strong and the story is beautiful. Get to know Anne Boleyn the way I think of her. Fiercely intelligent, independent, and misunderstood. 

This series is one of my favorites!! I have a few issues with a certain epilogue but STILL these books bring London in the 1800s to life. The scenery, the romance, the angst, SO MANY FEELS. I love this book and love that it takes place in London. 

Let's be serious. This classic is to die for. Jane is a phenomenally strong woman for the time and the story will just grab you. Perfect book to read to check off classic English literature off your list before you make your trek. 

I adore this book! It is an adult contemporary and is super cute, funny, and such an entertaining read. You won't be able to put this down because it is just hilarious! If you like this one, check out any of her other books, another personal favorite is Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella 

Like you can really go to London and NOT read one Jane Austen book. This is my FAVORITE book and the love story is unbeatable. It is so swoony and sigh-inducing...*sigh*

OK, not every city or country will have this many books BUT London is a huge city with lots of history and culture SO we got lots of choices! Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 6--London, England

April 24th, 2012

Oh. My. Gosh. I don't even know where to begin with today. After a long and annoying walk we finally found the start place for the hop-on, hop-off tour. This city is confusing as all hell direction-wise. We were hassled getting on by the tour guide because he wanted us on his bus. Love it. He was hilarious! The tour itself was freezing but we saw a lot of stuff. Tons! This city of so full of history almost every single building has some significance. Crazy. The only bad thing was because the tour was so quick and fast-paced, it was hard to see some things and get good pictures. It was cold as hell but still absolutely lovely to just sit and enjoy the city. It's so compact and busy with all these phenomenal architecture buildings. Ugh, it's incredible. I could stand and stare all day.

We finally made it to the Tower! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)...:) K, so overall my life is more complete after being here. I have wanted to visit here and bask in Tudor glory for so long it hurt. The grounds were so unbelievable. So old and just oozing with history. They were trying to hype up the positive features of the Tower and it's primary use as a palace...let's get real here. I want execution and imprisonment stories. Besides the fact that it was freezing like the 9th circle of Hell, it was incredible. The Tower Green is beautiful and the smaller section is where Anne Boleyn, Jane Grey, Catherine Howard, and Jane Boleyn were executed. There is this very simple art structure in memory to hose who died on the Green with a small poem (which I took pictures of in pieces) and it is so beautiful. It's honorable and a lovely remembrance to them. I have to say I almost (well, I did actually) tear up standing there thinking that these women who I've read so much about i feel like they are my long lost distant friends, lost their lives here. I kept trying to imagine what the last thing they saw was. It's eerie and creepy but there is something so raw about trying to put yourself in that place in time. My heart broke for the first time that day...

The Beauchamp Tower was right behind the Green and this was another 'Oh, shit yes' historical moment. Not only is it said that Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned there, but this is where the Dudley Family was also held. So this is where their carvings are. Whoa. I was surprised at them though but in a good way. John Dudley's had a small speech and an intricate looking family crest-like image. It was detailed! I am amazed at all the carvings and how they were accomplished. Robert Dudley also had a small picture with his initials carved in. So amazing. Again, I had to just stand and imagine that these people really existed, stood  in this exact room and carved into these walls. It's unbelievable. So intense, I f'ing loved it. Another check on my Bucket List :)

Speaking of intense; the Crown Jewels...ugh, seriously?! I never thoughts such big diamonds, etc. could even exist. Oh my word, it is redic. Gorgeous. I want to be royal. Dammit. Kate's so lucky.

We finally made it to the White Tower because they wouldn't let us in with our lattes. Bastards. Very pretty obvi but lots of artillary and horses and armor. Very cool to see Henry VIII's armor, like, wicked cool. He wore that?! He touched that, he had that exact and specific suit in his wardrobe. Wtf. 

Lastly we go tto the Bloody Tower where the two little Princes disappeared. Such a sad and twisted story. Teresa asked me who I thought did it and I still don’t know which way to go. My gut says Richard III but my  brain says Henry VII. Either way it is seriously so sad and traumatizing for his mother. Looking at the walls and trouchign the pillars made me wonder is this wehere they were taken? Is this the last thing they saw? Did they touch these walls? So intense (no better word can I think of) to be in the last place that they were. This whoel experience has been amazing. I cannot belive I actually visited the placed I’ve read dso much about and where they actually were. Life is amazing.

But wait a tick, I must go back to the small chapel next to the Tower Green. This is where Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and Katherine Howard are all buried. Holy. Hell. I teard up and just felt so at peace at that moment. Maybe not at peace but my mind and body stilled at the realization that their bodies are actually there. Incredible.

After the Tower it ws the journey to Hampton Court Palace! Never in my life did I actually think I would get to see this place. And wow am I thankgin God we figured out a way to get out here. Upon walking up the gravel to the palace I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life. My jaw literally dropped open and I didn’t know what to do. Breath. Taking. Seriously. Sorry Ireland, this palace takes the cake. The outside is unbelievable and the courtyard just inside is just as incredible. I have walked the steps of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey. Check.

“Henry VIII” himself walked by. Nice. Totally took a paparazzi shot. The garden was beautiful! Holy wow, there were like five different ones at least, all sectioned off. A beautiful trellis that was probably 100 feet long. Gravel pathways, the works. These tree shaped like mushrooms lined the back walkways and I am convinced that Lewis Carroll came here many times as a child or young adult and hot got his inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. Legit looked straight out of a fairy tale.

Finally, we went to Henry VIII’s rooms. Eeh eeh eeh ooh. Breath. Deep breaths. Amazing. His dining hall was rivaling Hogwarts. For real. And each room, along with what it was used for, walked you through the story of the wives. Amazingly cool. I hate and love to admit that I knew pretty much everything already but it was so cool to literally be where they were. Walk where they walked and lived and loved and lost. One of the new things I did learn was that Katherine Howard was arrested here. A letter to Thomas Culpepper was on display…oh my gosh. It’s also said she haunts these halls; that was awesome. T made a comment about how she shouldn’t have cheated on Henry VIII and she wouldn’t have gotten her head chopped off. Well hey now, I had to defend my girl and remind Teresa she was about 17 years old when she was married; you don’t say no to Henry VIII—look at his track record and what’s a 17 year old girl to do? She was young and in love and married to a man three times her age who was foul and ruthless. The poor girl gets a bad rep. I said out loud I got your back Katherine, haha.

The chapel was really pretty. The emblem of his marriage to Jane Seymour was outside which was really cool to see. Even though she wasn’t his true wife, whatever…in my opinion.

Oh yeah, and Jane Seymour had Edward IV here, and then sadly died. Wow. I mean, again, I had to stop and just take in the magnitude of my surroundings. It is legit unbelievable. I want this palace. It is the most amazing and beautiful thing I have ever seen. Pictures do not do it justice. You have to see it to believe it. I must take my Mom here, if I can get her on a plane. She’s the only one who not only gets but loves my obsession with the Tudors.

Quick train to Picadilly Circus for some real British fish and chips. We ate at a random pub we found and—get this!—there was ketchup on the tables! Holla! After dinner we just wandered around, ended up in Soho, unbeknownst to us, where some rando told us a bar with ½ price cocktails…ok then. 2 cosmos (1 each) in hand, we started talking to these two random guys next to us and the two trainwrecks that crashed in after them. Anyways, long story short, very nice guy names Sonny, songwriter for the Jonas Brothers and many others apparently, invited us to a different bar. We talked to him for a while so my rape and murder internal sensor was giving me a green light. With him came his 37 year old creepy man friend, who was married and asked Teresa if he should get involved with one of the trainwrecks…uh, what? Go home to your wife, creep.

Short walk to a bar in Picadilly we found ourselves outside of a velveted off entrance with bouncers and security guars. Um…? Sonny pulls out his waller, flashes a ‘Member Only’ card and up the velvet rope goes. What the hell?! I felt like I was in a scene from Gossip Girl. Seriously. Oh, by the way, during dinner we decided not to go out. Because of that we are in the same clothes we wore all day, which for me included faded jeans and flat knee-high boots…NOT going out clothes. Oh and my huge tote…Thank goodness I had a nice shirt on. If I wasn’t with Sonny, I would have never been let in here with what my scrub ass had on. I didn’t even have heels on!

They bought us drink all night. Gary (creepy man friend) bought us a drink that had Absinthe in it..WTF?! Sonny had a taste of mine and immediately said, ‘you ladies shouldn’t drink this.’ Cool. Thanks ya creepy bastard. Not that I was going to drink it anyway, it tasted like balls. So we continue to dance our asses off, it was amazingly fun! Who expected this? Sonny keeps saying he can’t believe an “American girl” can dance so well…uh, excuse me? I have a bum hip, you ain’t seen nothin yet.

After a few hours, I’m in the mood to go. I’m sick of hearing Sonny telling me he wants to take me to New York. Pump the brakes, bro, who do you think you are Christian Grey? I wish…*drool*. But before we go he insists on a bottle of champagne. Fine…whatever. Make it fast I wanna go home. So he orders it, proceed to hand me his bank card, tells me the PIN number and walks away. I’m standing there with my mouth agape…literally. What do I do? I turn around and the bartender is staring at me. So I hand him the card, punch the number in, and the bottle is ours. Teresa and her Ravenclaw self sneaked a look at the total…274 pounds…roughly 425 American dollars…what the hell?! How do Teresa and I get ourselves into situations like this. Who is this guy? Is this what it feels like to be a rich wife? Goo. I like it…

A glass later—4 for Teresa—I’m being a crabby bitch and want to go hom. I finally dragged Teresa out of the club and proceeded to find out that the Underground is closed—F***!!!! Sonny bartered a taxi for us but I would have NEVER known how to do that. They all congregate on the street and then we had to walk TO HIS TAXI. I was so pissed. Creepiest walk ever to the taxi. My radar was up and I was livid at the literal world for being in this situation. This is not me. I do not do this. This is how people get raped and murdered. I love Teresa but I wanted to take out all my rage on her because it was just so typical. I do not feel that way now looking back but at the time I was enraged at her. Praying and thaking God for a safe delivery home we made it back. Annoyed, buzzed and pissed at the world I welcomed sleep like no other. Until tomorrow, HOGWARDS HERE WE COME!! I’ve been waiting 14 years for my damn Hogwarts letter and tomorrow I go!