I actually slept in today! Well, sort of. I did wake up at about 8:45 but I went back to sleep until almost 11. This was especially good because the cold/sinus infection/whatever that I have been dealing with for the past few days is now definitely an upper respiratory infection. This is super annoying because I haven’t been sick (at least not in the upper respiratory infection kind of way) in a while and now is definitely not the most ideal time for this to be happening.
Tiffany and I each had some things we wanted to do today since it was our last day to really do stuff and each of us had different things we wanted to do, so we parted early this afternoon then met up for dinner.
Anyway, I put on this pretty dress my Mama gave me, left the house, and got on the tube. There was a six month old puppy named Monty on the tube with me! I thought he was an English Springer Spaniel, but his mom said he is a working Cocker Spaniel or something.
I got off the tube at the King’s Cross/ St. Pancras stop and walked past the absolutely gorgeous hotel that is attached to St. Pancras International.
The British Library was a pretty short walk away and it wasn’t hard to find because there were signs. I didn’t really know what to expect since I hadn’t done any real research on it, but I had read that it is the largest library in the world and that was enough for me.
Right after I walked into the library my phone started buzzing as I was getting a call from my Dad on WhatsApp. If you haven’t heard of this app, let me just do a little product placement. WhatsApp allows you to text anyone anywhere in the world as long as they also have it downloaded. It only uses data, so if you have wifi it works for free. They also added a feature so that you can now do voice calls through it. It’s what I’ve been using to keep in touch with my family while I’m here and it always sounds like the person I am on the phone with is right next to me. I used the text feature a lot while I was in South Africa, but the voice feature is even more useful. It was great to hear my dad’s voice!
I went into an exhibit called Treasures of the British Library. It was absolutely incredible but I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures. You can, how everyone, explore some of it online at http://www.bl.uk/treasures/treasuresinfull.html
I saw the Magna Carta, the Gutenburg Bible, handwritten lyrics by the Beatles, early copies of Shakespeare’s works, hand written stories by Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, and Jane Austen, music written by Bach and Beethoven, and so so much other cool stuff. My favorite thing was probably the handwritten letter from Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII to Cardinal Wolsey. On the way out, I visited the gift shop and got a tote bag that says “I like big books and I cannot lie.” I love it!
My plan was to head to Charing Cross Road and check out some of the used book stores that I read about on Pinterest, but there was a cycling race today called The Tour of Britain that had a lot of roads shut down and barricaded. I went into a regular book store in Trafalgar Square and I was really excited that they had a Harry Potter display. All book stores everywhere should have a Harry Potter display at all times. I walked back outside and there were just a ton of people milling about. That in combination with the roads being shut down and the area being difficult to navigate with the road closures made me decide it was time to head to a different part of the city. I’ve done really well with the crowds so far. The only times I have been truly bothered were just before the changing of the guard and on the tube when a ton of people are just cramming into the cars like they are sardines during rush hour.
I decided to go scope out a store that Tiffany and I are headed to tomorrow called Primark. I read about it on Pinterest as well. They have very inexpensive clothing and homewares, but what I wanted to see were their reusable canvas shopping bags. The store is at least three stories tall and I think it may actually be four floors. I was worried that it would be very crowded today because it’s the weekend and the thing I read on Pinterest said it isn’t for those who don’t like shopping or crowds. While it was certainly crowded, it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.
I left Primark and decide to wander around a bit on Oxford Street. I came to the end of the road and realized I was looking at Tottenham Court Road, which JK Rowlin mentions several times in The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. I looked to my left and noticed a plaque identifying the pub at the corner of the streets as The Tottenham, a bar frequented by Cormoran Strike in JK Rowling’s newest book series. I got really excited and went in thinking it would be the perfect place to eat something, but they sadly told me they don’t serve food so I left to find somewhere to eat. I explored Tottenham Court Road a little more before returning to Oxford Street and finding a place that offered “proper hamburgers.” The burger was playing, but the dessert was dynamite! I had something called a bannoffee mess, which I picked because of the bannoffee pie recipe in the Harry Potter cookbook. It was similar to banana pudding in some ways. It was a sort of parfait of vanilla ice cream, bananas, caramel sauce, and biscuits (British cookies). It was incredible and I definitely want to try to recreate it at home.
I decided to give those used book stores a try again and took the tube to a different station to avoid the bicycle race. I went into a few of them and wasn’t really that impressed. I didn’t buy anything. After going in a few bookstores, I got a text from Tiffany, so I left to catch the tube to Picadilly Circus to meet her for dinner. I’m glad we met in Picadilly Circus because I wanted to go there since it is one of the places Harry, Ron, and Hermione go in Deathly Hallows, but it was sort of underwhelming since I have been to Time Square.
I had just eaten about two hours previously, so I didn’t want anything to eat. We wandered for a while and came across what I think must be the London version of China Town. We walked into SoHo and Tiffany chose a place called Pho. We came home afterwards and have been doing laundry and writing postcards.
Tomorrow is the big day! Afternoon tea at the Ritz and Les Mis on the West End!