A wonderous day – my birthday!

 

Day 10

 

So today was the 15th of July which so happens to be my birthday. The night before on my way back up to my room I had checked the mail to see if I had anything at my hostel and Mum and Dad’s birthday card for me had arrived. I had a Harry Potter session at 9:45am and was thoroughly excited because it was the very cinema that they held the premiere in; the very cinema the stars occupied and watched their film come to life. I had picked good seats on my online booking and was thoroughly excited to be attending on my birthday, in that cinema, with Hedwig. When I got there they were ushering people in and told us to relax because they weren’t starting the movie ‘til 10:15. I had called Seph for a bit on the walk there and he was going out, so when I got off the phone with him I called Mum and Dad right until the movie started. I was so very excited. A few days earlier I had been put in contact with my Godmother Karen’s cousin, who lived in London and I had arranged to go out to dinner with her on my birthday. Karen had explained that I was alone in London and my parents had reached out because I desperately wanted some company on my birthday. So my plans were set for the night. I cannot describe how amazing Harry Potter was. I’m sure you have all seen it by now and if you haven’t well I suggest you do. Words don’t describe just how happy I was at seeing that movie. It made my birthday pretty cool. After the movie finished I called Mum and Dad back because I did feel a little lonely and didn’t know what to do with myself. I wasn’t intending on being by myself in England at all originally, so I was still dealing with that. I went to Piccadilly Circus and sat on the fountain-statue there. Mum had a hard time hearing me on the phone at first because there were those annoyingly creepy street performers who liked to dress up with a mask of the Queen and dance around. The music was loud and I still found it funny how creepy I thought they were. I went and got a donut as a cake for me and enjoyed that, wishing I had a candle for decoration. I started to head home but took a detour and went to Hyde Park. There’s not much to eat there so I grabbed a hot dog and sat under the trees with some magazines (with Emma Watson on them) I had just bought and chilled out for a while. I eventually made my way back to the hostel, as I was a fair bit tired despite just sitting in the sun for the last few hours. I had bought some new nail polish and cool things as a treat and went and had a nap. I sent my alarm but didn’t need it; I was easily woken by the other people in my dorm talking loudly. That same group that had disrupted me a few days earlier. I got ready and made my way to Oxford Circus again which is where I was meeting Karen’s cousin Dianne (yes my Mum and my Mum’s best friend are both named Karen).  Dianne met me outside the station and we went to a restaurant where she was having dinner with her friends. It was a nice little Turkish restaurant only about a five minute walk away and I started to feel a little less lonely. One of her friends had his cousin with him, and she is only in her early 20’s which meant there was someone else roughly my age. Her name was Katie. We all got along really well and Dianne was giving us advice about uni and our degrees and we all talked for hours and hours. Towards the end of the night after dinner they surprised me with a birthday cake, which I wasn’t really expecting at all. It was an amazing chocolate cake which honestly I thought tasted like a kitkat haha. It made me feel a lot more at home and relaxed about the whole day and I actually had a good birthday. I was confident enough by the end of the night to get home on the underground myself even though it was about 11pm. I exchanged contact details with Katie and hoped we could catch up before she left for the States. She only had a few more days left in London and staying with her cousin.

 

The next morning happened to be a Saturday meaning that the Portobello Markets were on. I had enjoyed Camden Markets so much I had hoped that these markets would be somewhat similar. At least I actually got a sleep in for a change. I didn’t actually know where the markets were but I knew the station that was closest and walked around until I found it. Typical Britain weather, it started pouring rain. The markets were too crowded and wet to actually be enjoyable and unfortunately the street was really long too, so I walked up the street through the rain not actually finding anything enjoyable. But I was glad that I’d gone to at least know I didn’t like it. I hopped on the underground again and I had seen an awesome cupcake shop at Baker Street station when I had gone to Madam Tussauds, so that was my next destination. Blueberry cheesecake and strawberry cupcakes were pretty good, but getting there wasn’t. Weekends always mean work on the underground lines and it was ridiculously busy and really hot, not to mention how delayed everything was. I eventually made it there and

 

 

 

Day 12

 

Today was the day I finally got to move to my last stop before my Topdeck trip; the Clink 78 hostel near Kings Cross. More than anything honestly I was just glad to be getting out of Hammersmith because the area to me isn’t particularly lovely. I mean sure, it’s a central point and has many options when travelling around London but my experience in the St. Christopher’s really shone a bad light on it for me and I didn’t intend on staying in the area any longer than I had to. After finally packing up and getting all my things on the train, I relaxed for a bit and called Mum and Dad (again). Despite being halfway across the world I still have a lot of talking to do with them. Without getting lost I made it to Clink rather earlier than favourable as I had to wait til 2pm to check in yet check out is 10am, but I made it there nonetheless. Dumping my things in the luggage room I headed out again for the afternoon. I had organised to meet up with Katie, the girl who I had met at dinner on my birthday, for tea at Starbucks. For a while before I left home sure I was into coffee but now I’m really just back into tea again…. I haven’t drunk coffee once since I’ve been over here haha. I think perhaps if I got some sort of caramelised mocha I might like it but otherwise I’m happy to stick to drinking tea flavoured beverages. We were meeting at the Starbucks near the Garden hotel if I remember correctly, something like that anyway, and she was running a little late so it gave me time to get my stuff together and not get lost before meeting. It was really nice to see her again as she was going home in just a few days. We talked about lots of things, even politics. It was just really lovely to be able to have a full conversation with someone. I may have only been gone for a few weeks now but you’d be surprised how much you miss social interaction when you go from having lots to none. Though I am notorious for talking a lot when I have been away for just a few days let alone what will end up being 7 months.

 

Put simply, I really appreciated spending time with Katie and have developed a deep respect for her. I think I really just am learning a lot about myself while travelling. I guess perhaps that’s why a lot of people do it, maybe just to see the world and find something new to explore. I know perhaps it’s a combination of all of those for me. After meeting at Starbucks and grabbing a drink, and possibly talking for quite a while, we made our way to the American fast food restaurant Chipotle.  It’s a Mexican take away place in the states which clearly also features in London too. Katie was happy to show me one of her favourite places to grab a bite to eat.  The menu was unfamiliar but I ordered and really enjoyed what I ate… which I’m fairly sure was a massive burrito. Katie said that the sizes here were quiet small compared to what she was used to, but I don’t know about anyone else but I had a hard enough time finishing that. No wonder they say everything is upsized in America. We stayed for another hour at least, or at least it felt like it. We chatted about everything, random everyday topics that even in two weeks, I had missed …

 

-to be continued, still-


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Child-like behaviour…

Day 9

I got a fair bit upset again the next morning and then made a list of what I was going to do for the next few days just until my Topdeck tour started. It seemed I always got upset mostly late at night when everyone else in Australia is sleeping, but this morning I actually got upset at a convenient time. Calling Mum and Dad on Skype to have someone to talk to, we decided I should have a list of all the things I wanted to do in London. It is massive, there’s so much to explore and I really enjoy it, so I’m glad I prioritised what I really wanted to do. My birthday was the next day after all, so I had better plan just what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to go and see Madam Tussauds; it’s such a well known tourist destination, Mum had gone there when she went to England, and I was generally interested in the place. By now I truly was competent at finding my way around on the tube. It’s really comfortable to use now and I generally know just what line I need to take to get to which station, which is really handy. It’s that little bit of confidence that seriously does make such a huge difference. I went to Baker Street and went to line up. Despite having my ticket already, the line of people that did already have tickets lining up to get in was longer than those lining up to buy tickets. I called Seph during my wait and we talked for quite a while before he had to go to sleep. I then took the opportunity to really take in my surroundings but I did have one issue: tourists. It is unbelievable how annoying they are. At the Aquarium, everywhere, and now Madam Tussauds too. Problem was there were that many families there with strollers and kids and just lots and lots of people. It was hard to move about even and then when you could, it was hard to get decent photos because people would always be posing for photos with every single wax figure (except Whoopi Goldberg, for some weird reason). I’m sure it would have been more enjoyable if there were less people around but I felt claustrophobic by all the people just toddling by so slowly. So I took lots of photos but it definitely wasn’t my favourite, though I’d still say the day was a success. It didn’t take me long to get out of there, and at the end they have a supposed thrill ride, which was more of an exhibition but I really enjoyed it. When I left, I walked around the area a bit and got handed a flyer to a Beatles shop. I made my way there and enjoyed looking around at everything though I didn’t bother actually buying anything. It was still fun looking around there. Rather close to the shop, was the Sherlock Holmes museum. It didn’t seem such an extraordinary museum but it was the residence of Sherlock Holmes himself, and there were random artefacts and souvenirs to buy as well. It was cool to see, but it was rather small and I was soon done there too. I went to the post office to send a parcel to Mum and Dad, and then grabbed a subway (how original) for lunch. As much as it’s the same company, things were different in a British subway. At home the other week I wanted just a toasted cheese open sub but they wouldn’t do it, yet here in England it’s actually on the menu which I thought was pretty cool. I sat down and had a random thought about the toy shop Hamley’s, that Jess had told me all about. It was 5pm by this point and I thought for sure that it would be closed. Having internet on my phone is awesome, so I quickly googled it and discovered that it didn’t close until 8pm. Making my way through the tube system to Oxford Circus and found myself on Regent Street, which I found quite amusing. Hamley’s was easy enough to find and soon as I walked through the doors I felt right at home. First floor, has teddy bears and plush toys everywhere. I can’t remember exactly what each level has, but there are 5 in total and it’s amazing. I found the Harry Potter merchandise on the 4th floor and stood there in awe looking at everything for a while. Tonight was the night it premiered in London by the way. Well technically on my birthday at 12:01am, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get a ticket to that. As I was walking around the exhibit I heard a voice say “Well I think I’ve seen you before!”. It was the mother who I had met the day before at the Film & TV Museum, who’s husband ran in to find my purse. I couldn’t believe it. We’d met at a Harry Potter exhibit then, what are the freaking odds, of meeting them again at such a random time when going there was such a spir-of-the-moment decision, at that time of day. They told me how they had a midnight session because their daughter was a massive fan and they had accidentally booked at Leicester cinemas not Leicester Square, which were quite a distance from each other. Leicester is a city outside of London, a few hours out, whereas Leicester Square is in the middle of London, where the premiere was held. They had been able to swap the tickets with another cinema that was actually in London but weren’t able to get into Leicester Square, because those tickets had booked out months ago. It was a brief conversation and we wished each other well and the family went on their way. It was cool because they knew my birthday was the next day and the dad’s birthday had been two days earlier. I always like people having birthday’s around mine haha. I went exploring more through Hamley’s, found some awesome art supplies that I won’t buy until after my trip, and then the lolly section. I bought some fairly British looking lollies and actually sat in the shop for a while; they were playing Disney music like Camp Rock, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Hannah Montana… and you can laugh all you like but the music is so, so comforting to me because I love Disney so much (all types of Disney) and I had been very homesick so it was like medicine to me. I enjoyed the atmosphere for a little longer before making my way home.