Friday, April 16, 2010

Disaster Day in London

April 4th, 2010

Now, disaster day sounds pretty bad, and there were disasters, but we had some of our best laughs this day as well!

Val and I woke up to get ready but our roommates hadn't left yet so we stayed in bed till they were done packing and had gone. Then we got up and finished getting our stuff together and took off in the direction of Gloucester which is pronounced glouster and no one knows why...

We were headed to a hotel where we would be catching a bus to take us to Stonehenge. When we got to the train station we immediately got lost. We asked a police officer and he pointed us in the right direction. I took a picture of him because his outfit made me feel like I was at Disneyland. Haha! We wandered down the direction that he pointed us in, but we still had no idea where we were going. There were a lot of hotels but none with the right name. We ended up finding a post office, which was a pretty big deal considering it was Easter Sunday and we had been searching for 3 days, so we finally got to mail our postcards. We asked there where to find the Gloucester hotel and again she pointed us in the right direction. I started naming off the hotels as we passed them, even if I had already said them before. I said, "Millennium Gloucester" again for the second time and she goes, "Oh yeah! That's it!". It had been one of the first we had Disaster 1 solved.

So when we went in it was like the ritziest hotel in all of London! They opened the door for us and even though we were lugging our ugly backpacks around he asked us if we were checking in. We told him we were just looking for the bus and he told us where to find it, so we ran to find some food and came back to wait.

The bus was really late and when it did show up the British man that got out said he was only taking 2 people with some Italian last name. There were 9 of us waiting there. I was very persistent that we had paid and were told to be picked up here so he begrudgingly let us all get in his little bus. Disaster 2 avoided.

He took us to another station where we switched to a larger bus, and luckily this British bus driver was a lot nicer. Since it was Easter I thought we needed some chocolate so I went to grab some while we were waiting at the station for everyone to arrive. The bus ride there was long. Almost 2 hours but we got to see the Windsor Castle where Queen Elizabeth lives, and we also saw where Mary Poppins was filmed. When we got there the bus driver told us to be back at 5 till 5:00, or he would be leaving without us, and the nearest train station is 100 miles away. In other words, DON'T BE LATE!!!

The audio guide was included in our price so we both grabbed one and headed out to see the pile of rocks we had just driven 2 hours to see. Both Val and I had a really hard time listening to the audio guide. We found ourselves letting it talk in our pocket as we took pictures of each other and tried to take pictures of ourselves and Stonehenge at the same time. We found that to be a challenge because our heads were always in the way. So at audio number 4 we were trying to get the perfect picture and a cute little old man in a orange jacket walked up and offered to take the picture for us. After he had taken the picture he looked at it and said, "Looks good to me!" I thanked him and took the camera back. As he walked away I looked down at the picture only to find Valeria and I smiling with no Stonehenge to be found except for one small stone peaking out from behind Valeria's head. I looked up at Valeria and we immediately lost it. She turned the other direction and all I could see was her entire body shaking. We laughed so hard that my abs hurt and I'm sure the people there thought we were crazy. It's my favorite picture from the whole day. Grant one day at breakfast told us not to go to Stonehenge, that is wasn't worth it. We told him he was crazy and everyone else in the world would like it. He said, "Fine, you go there and tell me you had the greatest experience of your life." Grand- That was one of the greatest experiences of my life. haha I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

When we got back to London that night we decided to go straight to the new place we were staying and get settled. It was a friend of Hallie's (a girl we live with) house and she had agreed to let us stay 2 nights. But what we didn't realize was that her house was 45 minutes by metro from London. We got pretty discouraged so where we got there and had no further directions to her house, and couldn't get a hold of anyone to help us, we bought tickets back to London to see if we could find an Internet cafe and get directions. We forgot it was 8pm on Easter Sunday. We got back to Oxford Circus and decided to find a place to eat (Garfunkel's - Legendary and Loved) and text everyone we knew to see if they could help us. Valeria text her boyfriend and I text mine, Hallie, my dad and my brother. My dad gave me hostels I could call and Hallie said she'd try to get a hold of her friend while Valeria's man looked up hostels online. We seriously thought we were homeless in London. It was scary but kind of exciting. Finally I got a call from Katie, Hallie's friend, and she said if we came back she could meet us at the metro station. So we got back on the metro and trekked 45 minutes back to Katie's. Disaster 3 solved.

They greeted us there and took us home and fed us hot chocolate and cookies before we went to bed. Her Scottish husband, who is almost impossible to understand, looked up how we were going to get to the airport the next day. We were so tired that everything he said went in one ear and right out the other, but it did get us thinking about our next move. And that was our disaster day.

PS. One really funny thing that happened to us that I didn't mention above was when were were discouraged and decided to go back to London after the first trek to Katie's we bought our tickets back and we heard the metro down the stairs. We were walking down slowly and obviously we were going to miss it. So I asked Valeria if we were going to try to make it. She didn't even say anything. We just both started running down the stairs. The metro makes a little beeping sound when the doors and closing and that started when we hit the bottom of the stairs so we booked it and both leapt through the closing doors. Our backpacks both hit the doors and then hit each other and we bounced off each other into the metro. We were laughing as hard as when that old man took our picture earlier. The couple sitting across from us was laughing as well. I would have loved to see that from their point of view.

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