We started out London on the morning of Tuesday November 4 with a free walking tour of the city ("free" means that you tip them at the end, but it's still a great deal"). The tour was a lot of fun, we went by Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and a lot of other typical London tourist spots. The tour guide was pretty funny and catered the tour to our younger group, leaving out boring facts and dates and replacing them with more interesting stuff. For example, in 1982 a drunk guy climbed the gates of Buckingham Palace (where the Queen resides) and made his way into the palace. He strolled the halls of Buckinham Palace, setting off every single alarm in the building, but the security guards thought it had to be a malfunction so they dismissed it. The guy found his way into the kitchen, where he consumed a royal bottle of wine, and finally made his way upstairs into the Queen's room. He had a drunken conversation with the Queen for about 30 minutes until police showed up to arrest him (yes, it took them 30 minutes to get there). The best part about it is that at the time there were no laws against trespassing on royal property, so he spent one night in jail and the only thing he was charged for was the bottle of wine that he stole.
That night was election night, so we went out to the bars for a little bit to try and catch some coverage. Sadly, all of the bars closed at like 11 (I thought the English could drink?!), so we headed back to the hostel to watch election coverage there. I ended up going to bed around 2:00 am, which kind of sucked because the results for Ohio ended up being announced at like 2:30. Needless to say, I woke up in the morning and Barack Obama was our next president, hooray!
The next day we went to the British Museum, which houses the Rosetta Stone and a lot of other cool artifacts. The Rosetta Stone is huge in real life! Next we made our way to the Globe Theater, which was interesting as well. After that, we were supposed to go on a free tour of older London, that included the London Bridge, Tower of London, and several other sights, but we couldn't find the tour guide so we just decided to go see them on our own without any cool commentary. That night there was a huge soccer match between Manchester United and Celtic, so we headed to a pub near our hostel to get some fish and chips and a couple beers. Katie Taisey from Water Works is studying in London right now, so she met us there to hang out. It was really cool seeing someone from home overseas!
The next morning we didn't have much time before we had to leave for the airport, so while the others went to Hyde Park, I met up with Katie again to go to King's Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4 (the platform to Hogwarts, of course). It was really funny because there is a sign and everything for the platform with a cart stuck in the wall beneath it, but there is absolutely nothing around it that says anything at all about Harry Potter. After Platform 9 3/4 I went for "tea time" with Katie, even though it wasn't officially tea time. I'm kind of bad at the whole English tea thing. That afternoon I met up with everyone again caught a flight back home to Milan, where I did a load of laundry and slept for 4 hours before having to leave again for Rome. I'll update on Rome tomorrow!