On Saturday we got up just in time for the continental breakfast at the hostel. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a peanut butter and nutella sandwich but it hit the spot. None of us had really realized just how much we missed sliced bread. Baguettes are nice but sometimes you just need a slice of plain white bread.

After breakfast we headed to Buckingham Palace to catch the changing of the guard. At first this seemed like a total waste of time that was just going to be the cause of a major headache. We were stuck in a crowd of thousands and couldn’t see a thing. Then we kept getting jostled and pushed and all-around annoyed so Meaghan, Katie and I got out of the throng. Instead we crossed the street to a place a little less crowded and sort of watched.

The flag was flying so the Queen was in

The flag was flying so the Queen was in

As people moved we moved forward and before we knew it we had worked our way up to the front and the other two were able to sit down…right across from the main palace gate. We had a perfect view now of all the goings on!! Pretty soon the guards began their march out of the gates and around the grounds, but not before the band (yeah, those guys are a marching band too) played a few songs. Most were pretty well known, both American and British songs, and one was “Hey Jude” by the Beatles and so the entire crowd was singing along while they played. It was a little fun and a little strange to be singing in front of Buckingham Palace.

The ridiculous crowds at Buckingham Palace

The ridiculous crowds at Buckingham Palace

These guys can play a pretty mean version of "Hey Jude" and "Eleanor Rigby"

These guys can play a pretty mean version of "Hey Jude" and "Eleanor Rigby"

When the guards had finished their thing and the guards on horseback let us go, we decided to go find some lunch so we could get that out of the way so we could do all the other things in London we wanted. Lunch was pretty basic fish and chips and cheeseburgers. Not that great but not bad either.

The thing I really wanted to see in London was the Tate Museum of Modern Art. No one else really wanted to go so after lunch we all split up. I headed across the river to the Tate while they headed up to the British Museum (I think).

The Tate was incredible!! It houses one of the biggest collections of modern art in the world! I don’t even know where to begin to talk about the art. I think I spent about 3 or 4 hours there, just walking through all the exhibits and I didn’t even see the temporary ones. The thing I love most about modern art is how much it makes you think beneath the surface. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Impressionism, but even it and all the older movements can just seem a bit dull. They’re based so much on subject/content and about following the right rules and portraying the right people that they don’t always have a whole lot of feeling in them. Modern art is all about the emotion. Like Picasso, nearly every one of his pieces from the 1930s on was a peaceful statement about the atrocities of war, Kandinsky was all about trying to show that there could still be peace and light in the world and Warhol was a terrified young man trapped in a world of violence.

Splitting from the group to go there was a great decision that I’m very happy I made. I think they really enjoyed their alternate activities but I haven’t fully discussed them with them yet.

It was after the Tate that I realized that I hate the London tube and I couldn’t wait to get back to the Metro. I called the others and they were done and heading up to King’s Cross station, the train station from the Harry Potter books. I wanted to see it too so I told them I’d meet them up there. I walked to the closest underground station only to learn that it was closed for renovations. Peachy. I walked back along the river then to find another one and stopped along the way to ask a police officer for directions. The place was crawling with police officers because there was a demonstration going on in the area against genocide in Sri Lanka. I got my directions and realized I had to make it through the crowd of people to get there. As I was making my way through, some people tried to give me a protest sign and when I said no thank-you and tried to keep going they started to yell at me. They said it was people like me who don’t care about third world countries that are making the world what it is today. It was great. I finally made my way through and to the underground station.

On the underground wasn’t really any better than getting there. The train I got on that should have taken me straight there ended about half-way, no real reason why, it just stopped. I followed the signs to try to take a different train but that one was the wrong one and I wound up back where I started. Finally I got on the right combination of trains and made it to King’s Cross to take a picture on Platform 9 3/4 with the others. It was fun and I laughed because the train station has really made a platform complete with trunk cart half-way through!

Platform 9 3/4 really does exist!

Platform 9 3/4 really does exist!

When we were done being silly (like that’ll ever actually happen) we headed back to the neighborhood where our hostel was for dinner. We found a really good Indian restaurant and had probably the most delicious meal I’ve had yet over here. It was so good and so much fun.

After dinner we just decided to get a couple bottles of wine and chill in our room at the hostel. That was fun too. We just chatted and goofed off and thought about going to bed early. We thought wrong. I’m pretty sure we didn’t go to bed until about 3 am and we had to be up at 6:30 to get ready to catch the bus. It made for an interesting morning.

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