Saturday, October 24, 2009


First of all, I must say that as I am writing this in the Athens airport, they are playing the Harry Potter theme. As you know I am very much enjoying this, especially since I’m about to write about my experience in London.

Well, before I jump to talking about British adventures, I should mention that my roommates and I had our first evening as hostesses. The Wednesday before I left for London we had our Greek friend John over, along with one of his friends. We were really excited to show them Greek hospitality. We managed to get together some yummy marble and chocolate cake and some wine to go with it (we told them we would be serving desert). However, they totally trumped us once again because they brought us an incredible cake and a nice bottle of wine, oh well. The evening was really nice. We once again got into cultural debates about sports, music, and food. I’m starting to get a good list of Greek music to bring back. We also busted out Emily’s hookah for the first time, which was quite the experience. We definitely had to google how to start a new hookah. I sadly had to leave the “party” a bit early (around 1 am) since I had class the next morning and a flight to London in the evening….

Oh London. What a good time. My flight to London was in the evening. It was my first time taking EasyJet, and I must say I am quite the fan. It was super super cheap and on time (flying it to Paris in a couple weeks). Not a bad combination. My flight to London was uneventful. I basically slept the entire way. Because of the time different I landed in London around 11:30 pm, and thus the fun began. Austin, Kathryn, and Hannah were there the moment I got through customs. It was the nicest, sweetest thing ever. I wanted to have a Love Actually moment, so I quickly ran to them (while trying not to drop everything and my pants which were falling down). There is something about meeting loved ones and friends at the airport, always special. However, because my flight got in so late, the London metro had stopped running (yes, for some reason the London metro stops at midnight, all days of the week, hmmm). And thus our first adventure began. I was so excited to be in London and with such good company, I didn’t care if the trip to their flat was 5 hours long. The trip to back was filled with catching up and deciding what to do for the weekend. The first thing I noticed was how cold it was, my ugg boots and north face were in full force. Goodbye 82 degree Athenian weather. We got to their flat (they are studying at Queen Mary College, which is about 15 minutes outside central London) at about 2:30. We talked for a bit, but very quickly passed out.

Friday: We all got up quite early to eat a true London breakfast. It was the closest thing to an American breakfast I had had in quite some time. I was served baked beans (yes a british breakfast), mushrooms, sausage, hash browns, and eggs. The Brits aren’t leading in the healthy food department. It was delicious though, and it was topped off with an espresso. After breakfast we went back to the flat, because Hannah and Kathryn had to do laundry, and sadly Austin had lab for an hour. Once everyone was done with what they had to do, we took the metro the central London, I was so excited. We got out at Westminster station. Westminster Abbey is one of my favorite places. It might go back to when my dad and I went there when I was very little and we set off all the alarms, but who knows. Sadly, the abbey had close at 3 and we got there at 3:20, I guess another trip to London is alr

eady in order. We then walked around Parliament, Big Ben, and then crossed the bridge to the side with the London Eye. Along the way, I got to pose in a traditional red phone booth, oh the tourist life. We decided to take the London Eye, which was wonderful. One rotation takes about 30 minutes, and it gives you a fantastic view of the entire city. However, once we had seen just about every bit of London we realized that we were super hungry. We then took the metro to the Victoria station to eat at a sushi restaurant called Yo Sushi! It is a chain and therefore not the best sushi ever by any means, but I hadn’t had sushi in over two months and I was in heaven. It is the kind of place where the sushi is put on a conveyor belt and each plate is a different color which represents a different price. I was grabbing eel left and right, it was glorious. While eating, we decided that we all wanted to go dancing, however this of course means planning on which club to go to. Austin, Hannah, Kathryn and I went back to the flat to regroup. We decided to just go i

nto central London and see where the night takes us. After some relaxation, we met up with a bunch of other Dukies studying in London (there are apparently around 20ish in the city this semester), and took the metro to Piccadilly Circus. After much wandering around (but hey, I got to see more of the city), we finally decided upon a club that was “underground.” Pleased that we had finally found a place, we all claimed a table and a place on the dance floor. The evening was a ton of fun. It was great seeing so many people. Around 3 am (yes, compared to Athens, London closes down super early, however I’m not complaining since I like my sleep) we decided it was time for sleep. Overwhelmingly tired, especially from dancing, we bused back to Queen Mary and quickly passed out. A great first full day.

Saturday: We woke up around 8:15 am and got ready for another filled day. We took the metro to central London in order to get tickets for a Billy Elliot performance that day. For those of you who don’t know, I have been wanting to see this musical for a very long time. This past year it won 10 Tonys, including best musical. However, since it is very popular the evening performance was sold out, so we bought tickets for the matinee instead. Since we had a couple hours to kill before the show, we talked to Buckingham Palace, and got food to picnic in St. James’s park. It was lovely. We then walked around the Buckingham Palace area for aw

hile, before heading back to the theater. Sadly, Austin could not join us because he had to finish a lab report, boo, therefore it was Hannah, Kathryn, and I who went to the show. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. I can’t even begin to tell you how talented the lead boy was, incredible. The dancing and choreography was splendid. Multiple times I was looking at the stage with my mouth open in awe. I totally recommend it to anyone who likes musicals. It also appeals to all ages. After the show we met up with some Duke friends who were also visiting London for the weekend, Allie and Adam (studying in Scotland and Barcelona) and headed for a quick tour of Harrods. After seeing the famous Egyptian rooms, we decided to go to a pub in Piccadilly Circus for dinner and drinks. We found a very nice pub a block from the main square, I got Klopenberg pear ale (soooo good), and a traditional Shepard’s pie sort of entrĂ©e. Yummy. After that we went back to the flat to hang out before passing out from another full and wonderful day.

Sunday: Was super packed. We woke up again around 8:15 am and took the metro to central London. However, half the metros were under construction that day so it took us about 2 hours to get to central London because we had to do a crazy combination of buses, metros and walking (good thing we woke up early). We stopped along the way to King’s Cross Station, so I could see PLATFORM 9 ¾. It was great, why can’t Harry Potter be real!? I ask that everyday

. After pretending I wasn’t a muggle, we continued on to the Tate Modern (the famous modern museum of London). As most of you know, I love love love art, and especially modern art (the kind that most people don’t get), so therefore the Tate Modern was heaven for me. I walked around for about 2 hours and soaked up the amazingness of the place. I honestly could spend all day there. I recommend the Tate to anyone who remotely likes a

rt when they visit London. I honestly thing it gives the run for the MOMA and could even beat it at times, no kidding. After some modern art, we decided to walk across the Millennium bridge (it is the bridge that breaks a part from the dementors

in the new Harry Potter movie), to St. Paul’s cathedral. First of all, the bridge is pretty cool. However, after it opened in 2000 I believe it was shut down for some years because it bounced too much, that problem has since been fixed. St. Paul’s is also very beautiful, I really liked the interior. It is where Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married. After walking around for a bit, we took the metro to the British museum. Most of you probably already know how incredible it is, or have heard about its reputation. It is this HUGE museum that basically covers the history of the entire world, it is really great. It has artifacts from just about every time period an from every corner of the glob. It is very famous for its Egyptian mummy collection. I however really enjoyed the off beat exhibits of India, Japan, and Africa. I thought they were especially interesting. HO

WEVER, as you probably know it is where the Elgin/Parthenon marbles are. If you haven’t heard about this controversy then well y

ou are probably living under a rock. If you haven’t, you should look it up, its pretty interesting. The marbles are in this stunningly beautiful room, so a part of me wants them to stay there. But now that I feel like an honorary Greek, I must say I think they should be in the New Acropolis museum, and I will stay with that side of the argument. But you can see why both cities want them, they are beautiful. Nothing beats them when it comes to Greek sculpture, nothing. It was funny however seeing so much Greek stuff in London. Anywho, after about three hours in the British museum, we headed back to their flat s

o that I could sadly pack my bags. We decided to meet up with a bunch of Dukies and get Indian food for dinner. I was super excited. The food was incredible, I have been craving ethnic food for so long. After a very good and filling dinner, Hannah, Kathryn, Austin and I headed to King’s Cross station in order for me to get a train to the airport. After a sad goodbye (however Austin and Kathryn are coming to Athens in November and I am super excited!), I was on the train to the airport. My flight was at 6:30 am though so I got to spend a lovely evening in the airport, woo hoo. It wa

sn’t that bad, actually. AND my flight landed just in time for me to be on time (with two minutes) to spare for my Greek class.

It was an incredible weekend overall. My friends were incredible hosts which just made the weekend that much better. And it was really great to see Duke friends while abroad.

Can’t wait to hear what everyone has been up to. Love comments J



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