Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eurotrip Day 3: "It's A Great Day For A Royal Wedding"

 Day 3 started bright and early yet again...however a bit earlier for some. As I mentioned, we were committed to being the first people in line at Buckingham Palace for tickets to see the Royal Wedding Dress. Upon arriving home from the Ice Bar the night before, we decided it was best to plan on leaving the Gravitron no later than 6:45 in order to be at the gate by 7am. I was so excited to get a good-night's sleep and see the dress the next day. The Gravitron did not have the same thoughts in mind. It turned out that it was Karaoke night...and music was blaring into our room. It was not so much that the music bothered was more so the fact that some crazy Russians (totally based on assumption) were butchering the Grease Classic "Summer Nights." It was killing me, and it took all of my will power not to run out the door and start singing myself. After more bad karaoke, a random jack hammer, and some bunk bed shaking, I was more than ready to get up the next morning. We all woke up before our alarms yet again, and headed out the door ahead of "Shhchedule" wasn't even 6:15 yet.
Pretty ladies

We made it to the front of the gate by 6:45am and were the very first people in line. A positive to being there so in early in the morning though was that there was not a soul in sight. We had all of Buckingham Palace to ourselves!
Buckingham Palace all by its lonesome

 While we were waiting we took turns holding our spots in line while others went to get coffee or take pictures. At about 9am the gates were finally unlocked and we were able to buy our tickets. We got some of the last ones left for the day! It definitely made no sleep and waiting in the cold well worth it...WE WERE GOING TO SEE THE DRESS, but not until 12:45. So we decided it was time for some brunch...but first we made a quick stop...
Platform 9 3/4

 GentleBeth, aka Jennabeth, lived in London for a few months while she was in college. She took us over to where she used to and we had brunch at one of her favorite spots: The Breakfast Club. The food was so delicious and the decor was awesome...super bright and eclectic with "Breakfast Club" movie posters on the wall. They also had this amazing hangover cure smoothie that perked me up after 3 nights of very little sleep.

After brunch, we headed right back over to Buckingham Palace! It was time to see the dress! 
We are the first people in line!
The Buckingham Palace tour is amazing. You get to see over 22 of its elaborate rooms and for a short time Kate's wedding dress is on display in the Ball Room as well. The dress was gorgeous on television, but in person it was absolutely exquisite. I had no idea how much detail had been put into its design, and it was absolutely stunning. 
In the Queen's Gardens at Buckingham Palace
By this time we had already logged in about a 12 hour day, so we knew it was time for a short pub crawl before our Parliament tour. Our first stop was the Sherlock Holmes Bar..

...from there we made a quick stop at The Texas Embassy!  

 Texans are everywhere! The Texas Embassy is really just a Mexican restaurant in London that reminds me of an On the Border Restaurant. However, it was fun seeing our state flag everywhere and getting some Texas brewed beer. Plus they had plenty of Aggie memorabilia! 
Gig 'Em Aggies!

  After our quick pub crawl it was time for our Parliament Tour with our tour guide: English Beth. She works for a Lord of Parliament and gave us the behind the scenes tour. Just like in the US Capitol cameras were not allowed on the actual floor so I do not have pictures of that, but the tour was incredible. It was by far one of the highlights of the trip, and I am so thankful that she was able to show us such a big part of history! 
The Start of our Big Ben!

We also got to take a peak and see where Beth K sits and works!


Beth hard at work!

From our tour we decided it was time for another round of we headed to the Brick Lane area of London (this was also Jack the Rippers old stompin' grounds). Our first stop was a bar called the Tin was awesome, and the company was even better. 
Wonderful friends at the Tin Bells

After a few drinks we were all starving. Brick Lane is known for its Indian we stopped at one of GentleBeth's favorite places (it was my favorite meal in London). As we were waiting for our food, Beth was unusually quiet until she whispered to me "Olivia, I think I am going to pass out!" I immediately asked her if she would like some fresh air or some water, but it was too late. She passed out in my arms. After a bit of chaos, some water with star shaped ice in it and a few bruises, Beth came back to consciousness and seemed relatively unharmed besides the bruises (which we later theorized came from my death grip on her arm...sorry Beth!)

Our rapid pace and lack of water are the likely culprits as to why Pretty Beth had her fainting spell. So after pumping her with some water and some nutritious/delicious curry, we decided it was time to call it a night. But first we had to head back to our hostel to grab our bags because we were going to spend the night with Beth K. 

We rode the Tube back to the Gravitron, grabbed our belongings, and promptly hailed a cab. At first we were not sure if we would be able to stuff all four of us and all of our suitcases into the tiny cab, but the nice cab driver let us put a few of the bags up front with him. Unfortunately we got a tad bit lost and our cab driver needed his maps which were under our bags. So we pulled over on the side of the road and I unloaded all of our bags, he got out his map, I loaded the bags back in, and hopped back in the cab. But of course, it was the WRONG map, so I hopped out and did the whole routine again. Finally we found Beth K and her charming flat. After a shower and some repacking for the next day's trip to Paris it was time to go to about 2am...haha so much for going to bed early. We set our alarms for 5am because we were catching a train to Paris that morning at 6am. 

I started getting used to only 3 hours of sleep.

Day 3 was a crazy, chaotic yet wonderful and fun success!

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