August 19, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 37-38

At this point, I can't tell you what day of the week it is.
I can't tell you what month it is.
I can't tell you where I was yesterday, or where I will be next week.

Right now, Europe is just a jumbled mess in my head. Its definitely not a bad thing. Just, well, time has flown by very quickly on this trip, and its making me lose track of pretty much everything.

But one thing I DO know is that I am in LONDON!

Andrew and I have both been super excited for London. Seeing as we will be moving here in a few months, we decided to spend a mere 48 hours in town and 'stop by' the Olympics. As it was my first experience exploring London Town, I didn't really know what to expect.

We stayed in a typically blah hostel south of the Thames and were able to walk to center city. Honestly, there weren't many tourists around! We all know by now that tourists were told to stay away during the Olympics because it was going to be crazy busy. And well, indeed, everyone stayed away! Downtown London was pretty lonely. Most of the visitors were hanging around the Olympic Village, which was a good 1/2 hour Tube ride away from center city.

Also, there was that whole ticket scandal thing where many of us (yes, US) tried to get tickets to ANY event and somehow were never were able to get them. That was a bummer. Andrew tried super hard to get tickets to any event, and it just never worked out. We couldn't even get into the Olympic Village without a ticket. That said, we were able to experience some olympics. Here's how:

-Hyde Park: Thankfully, London decided to create an area where all the poor and unfortunate tourists without tickets could still experience something. There were huge screens around the park airing different events. There were also yummy concession stands and live music. The best part about it was hearing cheers around the park when certain countries won events. I think the loudest cheerers were from Australia, the U.S., and of course, Great Britian.

-The road cycling time trials: No tickets needed for this!! Since these were time trials and not a typical everyone-races-at-once-race, we were able to see the women cyclists fly by one at a time, every 90 seconds. It was pretty cool seeing their unusual and sleek uniforms and helmet styles. The funny thing is, for the two hours that we were there, we probably only saw less than two minutes of actual sport (assuming there were 30 cyclists and that we saw each rider for 3 seconds as they whizzed by)... Kinda humorous when you think about it!

On a whim, we decided to have a little last-minute adventure. With very little planning and no maps we decided to go check out the area where we will be living. Our future flat is in Highgate, a village that is about 20 minutes by Tube from center city. As soon as we got off the subway, we realized that Highgate was much larger than we anticipated and had no idea which direction to begin our journey. For lack of better words, we decided to 'sniff it out' and began wandering....

...and wandering...

...and I was hot...

...oh, and I was hungry...

So here we were, wandering around Highgate, which was much larger than we thought. We knew that our flat was on a street with a great view. Thus, we concluded we should head for higher ground. It was during this time that we also realized the address to our flat was not just Highgate, but Highgate Village, a small village within the town (that alone should have revealed how much larger the town was than we thought).

After wandering pretty aimlessly for a while, we found ourselves on a high point. We turned a corner. At once, Andrew nonchalantly, matter-of-factly states "I know where we are. Our flat is around this corner and up the street by the church."

Ummm, what? Having never before been to this part of London, Andrew was able to walk us to our future apartment on landmarks alone. We are talking a distance of a few kilometers, people, kilometers.

Let me sidetrack here to say that its pretty common for Andrew, while planning our days, to not only figure out detailed step-by-step directions using a map, but to also 'walk' through the streets using Google Street View. This is so helpful, in fact, that many times we don't even need to look at the map while finding our way to our destination. So, apparently, since we have known for many months that we would be living in Highgate, Andrew has had plenty time to 'walk the streets' around our flat on Google; thus, being able to get us there during an on-a-whim adventure such as this.

Thank you, technology.
Thank you, Google.
Thank you, Andrew, for having a wonderful memory.

So, our flat looks like everything we thought it would be. We discovered a pretty cool Italian restaurant nearby. There isn't a Starbucks (withdrawal) but there are a few other coffee joints. I especially can't wait to eat at The Flask, a super cool and popular pub located a few doors down from the flat. We are also near the Hampstead Heath, a bigger-and-more-rustic-Central-Park (the green pictures below). AND we are literally on the same block as Kate Moss, Jude Law, George Michael, and other celebrities? I think I'll have to pick up jogging and jog up and down in front of their houses again and again and again and again...

(Jenn and Abby, do you think that would even be enough to get me jogging?)

Back in London Town, we were also able to stop by Harry Potter's 9 and 3/4 Platform at King's Cross Station. I'll apologize for the weird smile in the picture. We had to wait in a line and there was a big crowd around and people were snapping photos while it was our turn and it was just, well, awkward.

BTW, it was also during this time that we learned that KStew decided to cheat on RPattz. Sad face. Maybe because of this Rob will come back to his hometown and decide he needs some new friends... Specifically friends who are neat-o and are married and are from New Jersey?

All in all, we can't wait to move to London at the end of our backpacking trip! AKA, we can't wait to have a home again!

>Food .5
>Location .5
>Activities 1
>Comfort 0
>Hostel 0

The FLACH? 2 Olympic stars.

The Olympic Time Trials.
The Tower Bridge.
Street art.
Hyde Park.
We're home!
The London skyline from Hampstead Heath.
Check out that helmet!
Geat food!
Hyde Park!
Hyde Park!

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