I had been emailing my mom back and forth yesterday. She said she would pay for a hotel room for us, as long as we got away from that sketchy hostel (I forgot to mention yesterday that two cops searched the room next to ours last night). When we awoke this morning, we went online and booked a hotel room. It wasn't too expensive, but it wasn't cheap, either. We checked out of the hostel after eating our last jam and bread breakfast, and headed toward the hotel. When we got to the Holiday Inn Express, we found out that it was the wrong hotel. Great. We were going to go on a free walking tour with New Europe Tours and see the changing of the guard (which happens at 11:30am). It was 11:22am. So the nice lady at the wrong Holiday Inn gave us directions to the right Holiday Inn, which happened to be about 45 minutes away from where we were. We got to the right hotel and, because it wasn't check-in time yet, we stored our luggage and decided to travel around on foot. We went to see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St James' Cathedral, and a few other things. It was lunch time and we were all pretty hungry. Thankfully, there was a pancake stand and a hamburger stand right next to each other. Christy and Colleen got cheeseburgers and I got a pancake. The pancake was fantastic. It was this huge thing that was similar to a crepe, and I got apples, cinnamon, and whipped cream on mine. Mmm. At two o'clock, we checked in and chilled out in the nice, nonsketchy hotel room for about an hour to an hour and a half. Then we got up and went shopping! Of course we went shopping. It wouldn't be a Europe trip if we didn't. I bought two shirts from the Gap and some SWEET orange Adidas. Stores close pretty early in London (around 8:30pm) so we went back to the hotel and made dinner, then fell asleep. Apparently, on Friday afternoons at 1, they do fire alarm testing. But for whatever reason, the fire alarm decided to go off at 11:30pm, well after we were asleep. Our sleep was rudely interrupted. We scrambled out of bed, put on more clothes, and popped our heads out the door. Everyone else on our floor was doing the same thing, except one guy - he ran out and down the stairs in his pajama bottoms and coat. After we realized nothing was wrong, we tried to go back to sleep.
Since we missed the tour yesterday, we went to it today. Out of all the days we've been here so far, it hasn't rained yet. But when we woke up this morning, it was raining lightly. No big deal, right? Well, our tour guide's name was Pip and he was born and raised in England so he had that awesome British accent... along with 95% of everyone else there. It was neat walking around central London and hearing the history behind all of the buildings. We saw a few things that we had already seen, and some new things. We went to Prince Charles' house where there was a guard standing in his little box outside of the entrance gate. We were allowed to go up and take pictures with him, so we did. I got him to smile, and I felt so victorious after that. We weren't allowed to touch them, but we were allowed to try to make them smile or whatever. I thought about pulling a "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you" sort of thing, but they had really big guns, so I thought that might not be a good idea. Toward the end of the tour, it started pouring down rain. We had to cross one of the many busy streets in London and half of our group, including Pip, made it across, but we didn't. Everyone that was on the streets of London was trying to find shelter. We ended up losing our guide, so we just went back to the hotel. It rained for the rest of the day, so we stayed inside and watched a movie and packed our clothes in our bags.
We woke up at 3:15am to get ready and do some last minute packing. We had to check out at 4am and take a cab to the airport in order to catch our flight. We checked out, and our cab was waiting for us. We made it to the airport in time and ate some breakfast at Starbucks. Bekah loves coffee from there, and she was running out, so I bought her some to bring back to her. Our flight was pretty smooth, except when the three of us were asleep and the stupid RyanAir jingle suddenly went off. We ate lunch at the Gothenburg City train station and then got on our trains to go back to Vetlanda where Danielle (girls' RA) was there to pick us up. It was a fun trip, but it felt good to finally be back at Holsby.
That's all from my London trip. Hope you enjoyed the many adventures that were had.
peace, love, and still totally exhausted.