Although I find it hard to believe, I've apparently been in London for 3 1/2 months. Who would have known? And so, because I love nothing more than montages and top (insert number here) lists, here are my top ten moments in London from this past semester (in no particular order):
1. Seeing Big Ben for the first time: Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower? ITS TRUE! While London has a plethora of landmarks, my favorite is this famous clock. It has been made famous in countless movies (The Great Mouse Detective, Peter Pan, Harry Potter), and to me, epitomizes the history and the grandeur of the city.
2. Visiting the Tower of London: I made a trip to this famous landmark not once, not twice, but three times. And let me just tell you it was fantastic each and every time. I even did a presentation about it for my class I love it so much. The Tower offers such a unique experience; it has at one time been a menagerie, royal residence, prison, execution site, and royal mint! And it is very much still a vital part to the monarchy, as the crown jewels are kept inside this historical landmark. Even if you aren't a complete history freak like me, it is an incredible experience, and I will miss it very much when I leave. Below are pictures of my visits there:
3. Service at both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. Both churches are so incredibly beautiful any time you visit, but when you see them in the capacity for which they were made, they have an even more power presence. Listening to the choir echoing off the beautiful architecture in the church where every single monarch has been coronated and the church where Princess Diana got married makes for a very moving experience.
4. Seeing shows on the West End: This quite possibly have been my most favourite part about living in London. Having such an amount of shows at my disposal was a dream come true for me, and with the half-price tickets, who wouldn't be tempted?
5. The V&A: Though London has an astronomical amount of museums to visit (and most of them free!) the V&A is absolutely my favourite. Just a 20 minute walk from my flat, I don't know how many times I have visited and still not seen everything it has to offer! From fashion to fake Davids, paintings to British Galleries, The V&A has something to offer to everyone, no matter what their interest.
6. Hummingbird Bakery. Snog. Strongbow. Tea at the Ritz: Best cupcakes and best frozen yogurt in the world. Bar none. My new favourite alcoholic beverage. And the most extravagant and delicious experience of all the dining experiences I had this semester.
7. Visiting Platform 9 3/4: When I turned 11, I was devastated that I didn't receive an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I have finally come to terms that visiting Kings Cross Station is the closest I am going to come to realizing my dream. That is, at least until Marina and I visit Harry Potter World this summer
8. Visiting famous music, movie and literary landmarks such as 221B Baker Street and Abbey Road. If you say you aren't jealous, you are lying.
9. Relaxing in Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and St. James Park. In such a large, urban city, these pockets of greenery offer an almost sanctuary-like experience. It makes all the difference that these parks are a 20 minute walk away, rather than a 30 minute car ride like Forest Park is for me back home.
10. The Tube. Maybe it's because I have a little giggle each time I hear, "This is a Picadilly Line towards Cockfosters," or maybe its Sheila constantly telling me to mind the gap, but I love that silly form of public transportation in cylinder shape. And though I am very excited to be back in my camry, I will miss the tube.
And though it seems silly to mark my time here by a Top Ten list, well, there you have it. Only five more days til I return to Missouri. Is this real life? Most likely, it isn't.