Nothing is a better aid for falling asleep in strange places than complete and utter exhaustion. After a good night’s rest, Neil and I were ready for our first, real day in London (at least the first day where we would be fully awake and conscious). I was prepared to be the proverbial sponge and soak up all the details I could. It had been an uneventful evening previously, except for the stumbling in of our mysterious second room mate who I heard have a late night discussion with Irish Guy. Something about going out drinking, but no, because she had already drank too much already. I’m not positive on the details – I was half asleep.
The day was bright and crisp, not too cold. We walked up and down Oxford Street for a good bit of the day. I can’t even say how many times we happened to just end up in a Waterstones bookstore over the course of the trip. We found very pretty editions of books that made me want to work in the UK. While attempting to find an English tea shop (again, surprisingly difficult), we found this place on a side street called Le Pain Quotidien, which apparently is an international chain, but regardless is a cute, quaint little bakery of Belgian origins. We thought it was just a coffee shop, but it turned out to be a full on, proper restaurant so we ordered a croissant in addition to the tea (and coffee for Neil), both of which came in little pots.
THAT is one thing I love about the UK. They know how to properly serve you hot beverage. I need to go to more shops that serve me tea in little tea pots. It changes the ENTIRE EXPERIENCE. God, I love tea.
The next stop was The British Museum, about which I could not contain my excitement. I love the beauty and majesty of history. Neil criticized me for liking antiquities only because of their age. I argued that I liked them not just for their age but because old stuff happened to be cool. The things I saw! The first room we went into was just filled with old books, and if that wasn’t enough to make me drool properly, they were accompanied by various scholars’ findings from Babylonic tablets to Egyptian statuettes and SO MUCH MORE.
Neil insisted we move on when I had spent fifteen minutes looking at only one section of that one room (there was an entire museum filled with even more lovely things awaiting). And so we moved on. We examined Japanese African, Greco-Roman, Egyptian art. SO MUCH ART. Even mummified cats! (Is that art? It’s certainly something else, that’s for sure.) Neil had fun going about the museum (which he had been to before) taking pictures of what he considered to be silly and/or quote unquote derpy things. It was amusing only after the fact, when I was no longer trying to be very studious and committed to old stuff.
After the museum we wandered around the surrounding area and found an Oxfam book shop, another example of my tendency to go where the books are. There I found a used copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for a stunning four dollars. One book closer to the full UK collection! After we headed to Piccadilly Circus as the sun was setting. Note, it is very, very pretty in the dark. From there we met up with one of Neil’s friends from university, Ollie, and proceeded to wander about.
We went into the M&M store and walked past the London premiere of Django Unchained, which was large and impressive. If we had hung around we could have potentially glimpsed the Leo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino, but we chose to go to a pub instead. (AWESOME CHOICE.) I indulged in a ridiculously delicious strawberry beer upon Ollie’s suggestion. Nom nom nom.
We ended the evening after the pub, though we toyed with the idea of going out dancing, getting some rest seemed like the more responsible plan.
And so my second day in the UK ended in happiness, joy, and a bit of a drunken haze. Stay tuned for more European tales of adventure and wonder.