I had not been on a plane since I was five years old, and suddenly I had the opportunity to fly TWICE in one season!
My trip to London was by far one of the coolest things I've ever done. I've always dreamed of visiting the city. Not only is it the home of some of my favorite fictional characters, it's also where several of my own stories take place. I also took over a thousand pictures while I was there. Once I have the chance to go through them all, I'll post a few of the best on my photography blog.
I got to see so many things in London and the surrounding areas, but it felt like I never got to spend enough time doing any one thing, because we had so much more to do! Among the many wondrous things I saw: Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, the British Museum, a fantastic geek store called Forbidden Planet, Tower Bridge, and Kensington Gardens. We did a LOT of walking. In fact, one of my favorite things we did was a "Dickens walking tour of London," even though it rained part of the time. Since I'm working on a novel that is set in Victorian London, I loved learning about what life was like during that time period, and seeing nooks and crannies that still carry wisps of history.
I took a day trip out to Oxford by train with a couple other girls, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing C.S. Lewis's house "The Kilns", eating lunch at the magical "Eagle and Child" pub where Tolkien and Lewis's Inklings met, stepping into teeny shops, and wandering streets, getting lost and found again in the maze of cobble-stone alleyways... It's an enchanting place.
The only bad thing about my trip to London is that now I'm desperate to go back and LIVE there. Seriously.
Since I went with my college's band, we got to do home-stays with some very interesting people. The tour to New York was combined with a few days in Pennsylvania, so we rented a bus and drove around a lot. Between New York and Pennsylvania, here are some of the things I did during the course of the trip:
-ate Philly cheese steak (my verdict-- meh)
-rode in a Mini Cooper (yay!)
-watched "Sherlock Holmes" in a host family's fancy home theater
-experienced a Long Island sunset on the beach
-learned what "Wawa" is
-stood beneath a dead whale shark
-went to McDonald's in Times Square
-stuttered awkwardly when someone begged for money (twice, I'm sad to say)
-saw a Jackson Pollock painting
-tasted "Water Ice"
-bought a calzone baked in a brick oven
-stood in the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed
-got in trouble for crawling over the railing at a Broadway show
In conclusion: New York was cool, but... I left my heart in London.