Where’s the Queen?

This past weekend was the last out-of-the-country trip for Meg and I before we go home. We’re kind of sad about that! We realized this when walking out of the Dublin airport, and we got kind of sentimental. We love our little Dublin Airport, and of course our little Dublin home, and it’ll be hard to say goodbye.

But we’re talking about London, and NOT going home yet, so we’ll get back to that. We got into London Thursday night, and the airport was easy enough to navigate, but we had to navigate the Tube to get to our Airbnb, and we were overwhelmed to say the least. Jubilee line? Waterloo? Coming from Michigan which has virtually no public transportation system and even from Dublin which only has a semi-reliable bus system, London was a monster. (Spoiler, by Sunday, we were old pros and even gave a BRITISH person directions. Did we feel accomplished? Heck yes.) We miraculously made it to our B&B in a suburb of South Kensington and prepared for a busy day after eating some nachos, tuna melts and beers at a local pub.

Friday was a whirlwind. We woke up early and took the scenic route to our breakfast reservations in Covent Garden. We walked past Buckingham Palace (trying to spot the Queen with no luck), about a million parks, and just generally enjoyed the posh atmosphere of London. At Balthazar’s in Covent Garden, we ate the best waffles and fruit bowl I’ve ever eaten, no joke. You can’t get bad food in London – it’s all good.

Then came the highlight of the day – Harry Potter Studios, London! I don’t think I can accurately put into words how excited we were. We undoubtedly threw some elbows at old-timers and youngsters alike to see the REAL costumes, REAL sets, and REAL props that this place had to offer us. We had splurged on the audio tour too, so we spent three blissful hours here. Lets just say we basically wore it out and scared more than one person with our loud gasps and shrieks. Fun fact about Meg and myself – we can now say we’ve been to two out of the three places that serve Butterbeer. Yep, we even got Butterbeer ice cream along the way. Hit up Meg or myself if you want the full experience and your ear chatted off for about 15 hours. This place was AMAZING and we’ll gladly tell you all about it.

Meeting up with a couple of friends from Hope rounded out our day. It was so good to see some familiar faces and eat some good food with them, especially since they knew the best place to go!

Saturday was our sightseeing day, and we saw a lot. We started off the day with walking through Hyde Park and seeing more than one happy dog. Then we crossed town to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Both structures are absolutely gorgeous. I was pumped to see Westminster Abbey because it’s where Wills and Kate tied the knot a few years back, but it was unfortunately closed due to “sightseeing.” (What?) But we got to see the outside! That still counts! We then had afternoon tea reservations in Soho at Soho’s Secret Tea Room. It was so secret that there wasn’t even a sign on the street for it – we had to go into a bar, walk behind the bar and go upstairs to get to it. It was awesome, and very authentic; something only the locals really knew about, which was so cool.

The tea, sandwiches, and desserts were all to die for. 10/10 for great food and fulfilling dreams. After tea, we had a walking tour around the city of London from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Meg and I are all about the walking tours and it was fantastic. There’s so much history in London’s city and we got to learn a small bit of it by visiting places like St. Paul’s Cathedral (place where Princess Di was married!!!!!), Samuel Johnson’s favorite pub (for those of you that don’t know, he gave the world the first English dictionary and lived in London), and countless churches.

Saturday ended with Harrod’s. WOW is literally all I can say. Harrod’s is not for the average shopper and I felt severely underdressed. Underdressed for a shopping mall where a 5-foot stuffed giraffe cost more than a used car. I’m still coming out of shock.

Yesterday was our final day in London and we wanted to end it on the right note, so we headed up to Tower Bridge before heading to the airport. Again, it was amazing. The view of panoramic London was breathtaking, and in a few spots there was glass panels instead of floor and you could see the River Thames running beneath you. What a rush. After that we headed back to the airport to return to home-sweet-Dublin. It was a great last trip to take before we called it quits on out of country traveling just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Until next time!

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Mikaila Bisson

Hi there! I'm a Hope Senior from Sterling Heights, Michigan (about 45 minutes North of Detroit). I'm an English major with a Creative Writing emphasis (fitting), and have a Business minor. I'm super active in Hope life. I am a Student Ambassador, the Senior Treasurer on the Executive Board of Nykerk, and was involved in Orientation as an AD. I also work on campus at the Career Development Center as a Career Advisor, and at Hope's Physical Plant. I love playing any kind of sport (soccer's my favorite!), have a weakness for shoes, eat dessert twice a day, read like its my job, am currently watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and have a passion for Golden Retrievers. Contact me at mikaila.bisson@hope.edu because I'd love to hear from any and everyone. Also feel free to follow my super trendy Instagram account at @miktroubleee or my equally as trendy, even more Hope-filled Twitter account at @hopemikaila17 .

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