Diana in Germany: Halfway at Halloween

It’s halfway through my stay in Europe now and more than 65% through my actual classes. I took a week’s hiatus from blogging because the last four days of my Environmental Ethics class took a lot out of me. After all the sleep I caught up on this weekend though, I’m ready to tell you about the amazing trip I had to London!

Werewolves in London – Friday 
Waking up early in the morning is the worst idea ever… unless it’s to travel. That’s how my Friday started out, so I could catch my 10am flight out of Basel on time. The one hour flight I was in and out of sleep, hoping that the extra few z’s would fuel me through a full day of living in London. It worked! After landing, I had to sort out some confusion about getting into the city from the airport. I had preordered a bus along with my RyanAir ticket, but forgot to print the boarding code. Let me just say that after two and a half months surrounded by German, it was beautiful to communicate with native English speakers. I sorted through the problem in a few minutes and was on my one hour bus ride into the city!

The bus stopped at several places and on a whim, I got off around the corner from Regent’s Park. First wonderful decision of the day, which was quickly followed by another – Baskin Robbins for lunch. Shush. I do not want even a little judgement. Baskin Robbins…. it’s been a long time guys. I worked there one summer and spoiled myself with ice cream to the point that I have not visited since.  That Jamoca Almond Fudge really hit the spot as I continued on in the sunshine towards the park. Unlike my original plan for the day, I spent about 3 hours in that park and regret nothing. Regent’s Park has stunning flower gardens and gilded gates, water fowl sanctuaries and weeping willows. There was even an older couple reading on a bench together, which touched my heart.

​Regent's Park has gilded gates that caught my eye several times. ​

​Regent’s Park has gilded gates that caught my eye several times.

​The beauty of flowers in a park.

​The beauty of flowers in a park.

Finally I started to head out of the park as the daylight subsided. My new mission – find a place to Facebook message my cousin, Grace, who is studying theatre in London for the semester. Because my cell plan is not international, it would cost me a lot to call her and let her know I was there. On my way towards a section of London called Camden Town, I passed the London zoo. Through the gates I could see giraffes and hippos! Good thing because that place is really expensive at 20 something pounds for adult admission.

​Giraffe spotted in London

​Giraffe spotted in London

As I walked further I became hungry, and magically a deli and café called Melrose and Morgan appeared. There I accessed some Wifi and ate my first scotch egg. A scotch egg is s hardboiled egg surrounded by meat and rolled in breadcrumbs. Basically, it is breakfast all rolled into one. Breakfast is my favorite meal, so I was not complaining about eating this at around 4pm. I ordered mine with chili chutney, which added just the right amount of spice and sweetness to satisfy my tastebuds.

​My Scotch egg - a dining experience I recommend

​My Scotch egg – a dining experience I recommend

After this short break in walking I continued onto Camden Lock Market, which has a ton of international food stalls. I remember seeing Polish Sausages, Peruvian food, sushi, crêpes, and a stall devoted to mac-and-cheese (which had no vendor behind it much to my chagrin). My stomach was full from my Scottish egg snack, so I went with a fresh smoothie instead of any food. At this point I still had about two hours to kill before meeting up with Grace at her schoolroom, so I walked through Camden. It is obviously a very grunge artsy place, which I loved! There were tattoo parlors, people in Darth Vader costumes, a DJ Grandpa, and other hilarious costumes. At this point my stomach made its presence known once again, so I stopped in a lovely looking tapas restaurant called Jamon Jamon. I recommend it, especially on a Friday night for their specials.

​I feel like this would only happen in Camden - The Joker serenades three trick-or-treaters.

​I feel like this would only happen in Camden – The Joker serenades three trick-or-treaters.

Grace’s school was only a ten minute jaunt away. I waited outside for a few minutes and a woman came out who graciously let me in. Upstairs I found Grace and gave her a huge hug! Her friend Maggie who is from Baltimore was also there and we all walked for an hour back to where they live. The rest of the night was spent getting into costume, Cards Against Humanity, dancing, and junk food. My cousin Grace went as Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and I decided to change from Peter Pan to Misty from Pokémon. Grace was sweet and let me go downstairs to sleep in her bed while she took the couch, which I definitely needed after walking around with my backpack on all day. It was a howl of a Halloween.

​Misty and Sally Skellington

​Misty and Sally Skellington

Operation Mega Tourist – Saturday
Ahhh how nice to wake up at 10am. Grace and I were refreshed and took our time getting ready in the morning as our only schedule was to make it to the Mayfair area of London by noon. When we arrived there we took a quick walk to see Buckingham Palace and then headed back to our real destination – Murano Resturant. Murano is a one Michelin starred restaurant owned by Angela Hertnett, protégé of Gordon Ramsay. I consider myself to be a foodie and also wanted to treat Grace for hosting me. This was the most memorable meal of my life so far.

​It was gorgeous weather in London but these men continue wearing their bearskin hats.

​It was gorgeous weather in London but these men continue wearing their bearskin hats.

Before we ordered anything, we were brought three kinds of bread, olive oil, parmesan crisps, fried truffles, and carpaccio. This seriously was their “free bread” portion of the meal. Are you kidding me. Pure heaven. For starters we ordered a tuna dish and a quail dish, and for mains Grace got the risotto while I got pork cheek. My main was such a homey dish it made me really feel like I was back home eating my mother’s pot roast. We both ordered desserts and we even got orange gummies plus chocolate raspberry lollipops after our real desserts! Overall, excellent service, value, taste, and presentation – everything I dreamed it could be.

​My Murano dessert. Chocolate cake with pear filling, pear ice cream, and pear pieces.

​My Murano dessert. Chocolate cake with pear filling, pear ice cream, and pear pieces.

To get rid of our massive food babies, Grace and I started a day long trek through the city. We passed Buckingham Palace a second time on our way to Big Ben and the Eye. We didn’t go up in the Eye because of how expensive and time consuming it is to do that. Our investment of time in lunch was much more worth it! After crossing a bridge, we saw the National Theatre where Grace has seen several plays and also saw the Globe Theatre of Shakespearean fame (though it is obviously relocated and remodeled). We went through some side streets and happened upon the original Globe Theatre site! This all took a couple hours of walking so when we reached Borough Market we both got a little sweet treat to tide us over until dinner. I got a lime mint cupcake while Grace got a scoop of chocolate and vanilla ice cream on a cone.

​The Eye and Big Ben

​The Eye and Big Ben

​The Globe

​The Globe

​Tower Bridge

​Tower Bridge

​Tower of London poppies

​Tower of London poppies

As evening approached, the rest of the tourist sites were in store. Crossing London bridge allowed us to view Tower Bridge. We went to see the Tower of London. Great timing because this was one of the last changes to see the gorgeous WWI poppy tribute. Trying to save our time we did not stay through much of the reading of the names. Instead we continued on to the Tube to Kings Cross Station for a picture at Platform 9 and 3/4. I wore my Hufflepuff scarf proudly. My cousin is a Hufflepuff too I think, but they only had one yellow scarf! This was my crowning moment as a Harry Potter fan, I have to tell you. To wrap up the evening, Grace and I got carry out Thai food and watched Footloose. The next morning I got up at 4am to catch the bus back to the airport for my 7am flight. What a whirlwind weekend in London!

​Quitting Muggle school. I'm goin' to Hogwarts!

​Quitting Muggle school. I’m goin’ to Hogwarts!

 

Next Week’s Post
Check out the blog post about a break down of what I learned in my Environmental Ethics class! This was my first time studying philosophy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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