After a 7:30 a.m. breakfast, concentrating mostly on a copious amount of coffee, the group took a three hour bus tour of London, which, despite my hopes of not being an absolute tourist, was a surprisingly great way to see the city. It also helped that our tour guide was outlandishly hilarious and the majority of students were delirious from a combination of jet lag and a lack of proper sleep.
On this bus tour it seemed as though we literally saw all of London, although not intimately. We managed to stop at a few of the main tourist spots including Buckingham Palace, St. John’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Covent Gardens. Following the tour most students explored London privately or in small groups and, in doing so, I was able to get up close and personal with Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, Trafalgar Square and, after it all, ride on the famous London Underground “Tube”.
Perhaps my favorite experience in London was seeing Wicked at the Apollo Theatre. I had heard so many wonderful things about the play prior to seeing it, having many friends frequenting Chicago for the often sold-out show, and the performance was spectacular. The actors, their costumes, the music, the stage set-ups and the story itself all surpassed my expectations and was entirely worth the 25 pound price tag.
My final night in London ended with the sight of a familiar face, Ms. Julia Mayo aka Jeezy, from my summer internship at Paste Magazine. Julia and I, along with one of her new study abroad friends, met beneath the Marble Arch and spent the evening roaming the streets near her flat and enjoying some Middle Eastern grub while reliving our fond Paste memories.
The evening came to a close with a hunt for an umbrella to protect against the heavy London rain shed and Mars bars to delight in something sweet. The walk back to my hotel was also quite nice. It felt good to breathe in some fresh London air and have some time to myself to explore the streets of London at night. Visiting with Julia in London really was the perfect addition to an already perfect day.