Monday, April 28, 2014

Ta, Cheerio, and Laters London!

While my adventures in Scotland had sadly come to a close, I had one more afternoon to relish in the British air. I wasn't exactly sure what to do with my day so I inquired of a few friends what they suggested, and was mainly hoping the weather would hold out so I could wander a bit. The one general consensus? Hit up a pub!

Since Harry Potter seemed to be pervading elements of the week's adventure (or elements of my soul on a daily basis), I thought perhaps I would take the opportunity to scour the city and wreak some more HP havoc... Organized tours were all booked up and I wasn't sure I would be happy with that anyway since I've seen most of the bigger sights and was mainly looking for an excuse to amble about the city. I have to give some gold stars to my Dad for giving me the next brainwave (she says hesitantly and unwillingly because she is well aware of the fact that she developed her own sense of narcissism from her dear old Daddy)... I found a self-guided walking tour online, which I could follow or not follow, but which provided a path to embark on and some guideposts for my day's journey. I did about half the tour and was quite pleased with the results. I was able to traverse some of London's bridges, hit up Trafalgar Square, and while I was forced to enter one of the most touristy areas of the city, Leicester Square, I was also guided to some really cute little side streets I don't remember ever discovering before. And as luck would have it, there were a few quirky homages to sweet sweet HP, like the candy shop said to be inspiration for Honeydukes in Hogsmeade and Goodwin's Court, thought to be the actual Diagon Alley. There were also some bizarre little shops with magic or witchcraft or astrology themes. Even a currency store that had a display of Harry Potter pound notes in the window! I spent a really pleasant afternoon in search of magical mecca before settling into a pub for my final vacation meal.

I generally like to choose pubs based on an affinity with its name. Since I was in a pretty touristy area, I knew I'd most likely end up somewhere more mainstream than I prefer, but so be it. I chose a place called "The Bear and the Staff". Though I have a strange aversion to bears (based on nothing other than a nonsensical figment created with childhood friends and a desire to be ludicrous), I thought the interior looked snug and welcoming. Upon entry, I was happily greeted by a barman who educated me on some of the beers they had on tap as well as instructing me that I had to order at the bar. I ended up having two pints, some fish n' chips, chatted up both of the bartenders, and was told if I'm ever in London again to call them up so they can show me around to the less touristy fun spots in town. I'm telling you, I'm just incredibly charming in Great Britain.

Finally, I made my way to the Eurostar to jet back to Paris. Looking back on the week, I have to say that all in all, it was rather an exquisite excursion. I saw unbelievably beautiful countryside, met some fantastic people, tried strange food, drank stellar whisky, and made lots of those absurdist memories I cherish so greatly. I didn't make it back to my apartment until about 10pm that day and unfortunately managed to catch some sort of crazy illness for the remainder of my spring break. I suppose that's what I get for running around like a trixy vixenous whisky drinking banshee all week! The good news is that after suffering in bed for a couple of days, I finally went to a doctor and proved that not only could I conquer this feat in a foreign country and in French, but it was astoundingly quick, easy, and cheap considering it was a walk-in clinic and I am sans insurance. Yup, life continues on its unexpected, ever-changing, and quite enchanting footpath...

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