“Holy cricket, you’re Harry Potter! I’m Hermione Granger….and you are?”
“I’m Ron Weasley.”
British. Accents. Are. The. Best. From the moment I stepped off the plane I could hear the conversations exchanged from one proper Englishman to another. I find it fascinating that even the whimsical phrase of “where is the toilet,” can sound so sophisticated when said in a British Accent. As lovely as the people of England are, some are not so much. The first interaction with the foreign currency was a cab ride from the airport to the hotel where we were completely ripped off by the driver, with the “cash only” rule. And now we understood why it was indeed, cash only. But you can’t let that ruin your trip. Just have to be careful.
I had only heard about what it was like to be on the opposite side of the road and it was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It really was like that scene in Harry Potter, the Prisoner of Azkaban, when he gets on the classic red bus and it speeds down the road in an unimaginable fast pace, not even realizing where he’s going. That’s how I felt. Watching the car go, with my brain conditioned to think we are driving on the opposite side of the road and are bound to crash. But we didn’t
The city of London was breath-taking. It was lively, fun and fast-paced and I now know why it is compared to NYC. Still cleaner though. There were interesting buildings, tall arches, Christmas decorations, parks, monuments and plenty to do. My favorite were the red telephone booths that you see in every movie and read in any book that takes place in London. They’re such a trademark to the city and they are all over too, it was captivating.
But one of my favorite sites was Buckingham Palace, which we actually ran into by mistake. Golden gates, British guards and flags surrounded the area. I felt royal for just being in the presence of the palace. I was always fascinated by the history of the royal family, and now I was witnessing history before my eyes. Watching the guards stand still or march back and forth, reading the posts of who has been on these grounds and what has taken place in the past. They have a flag system on top of the palace that tells citizens whether the queen is present or not. There’s also “lifeguard” horses that carry knights on top with ligit decked out uniforms with helmets, to protect the royal family. So badass.
Despite the eloquent lifestyle of the city, I discovered on the bus tour that a numerous amount of executions and hangings happened on city grounds. “Off with his head,” is no joke. They literally chopped people’s head off back when it was an acceptable form of death, and celebrated it. How barbaric. That’s where the term hangover comes from too, if you were wondering. People would gather and crowd the event and drink and laugh. The next day they would call it, getting over the hang. My God.
After getting over that, I realized what a truly remarkable city I was in and how the people in it were just as proud to be there. The culture is lively and inviting and of course, they love Americans, so we felt very welcomed. A city filled with afternoon tea, royal occasions, trendy shops and old fashioned pubs, what’s not to love. Next time, you’re coming.