We took a day trip to London yesterday, which was a lot of fun. We were just there for a play and a ballet so we didn't do much sightseeing (that comes next week!) but we did have a good wander around Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and some of the "smaller" non-touristy districts. Despite the fact that it's not full blown tourist season, the place was absolutely swarming with people!
We arrived in London by train at around 11 am, and from there we took the tube to Leicester Square and picked up some matinee tickets to a play called Embers, starring Jeremy Irons (a wonderful actor.) It was rather long, but good! After that we just wandered around, which suited me perfectly. I hadn't been in London since I was about ten and I think I was just walking around with a big grin on my face! I just love London, it's so fantastic! Everywhere you look there's something different, and so many of the buildings have been standing there for hundreds of years and have seen so much life and change go by. It's a beautiful city, with so much to look at and absorb.
We eventually wandered into Chinatown, and had a bite to eat at a very good Japanese restaurant. My grandma and I were literally the only non-Asians there! And, unfortunately, since it was the heart of Chinatown they did not have any knives or forks. I did fairly well with my chopsticks until I got to the larger pieces of chicken... then I had to attempt to cut it with my spoon!
After eating we walked in the general direction of Trafalgar Square and Big Ben. There were so many people, I felt as if I was fighting off a mob! I was having some trouble getting through the crowd and my grandma leaned over and said in my ear, "Anna, don't be so polite, you have to use some elbow action here!" And after I did some pushing and shoving I worked my way through the masses!
We walked along the Thames for a while. Suddenly my grandmother said, "What on earth are they doing?" I looked out and saw two men in the middle of the river! My first thought was, "They're going to be killed!" The Thames is a busy place, absolutely crammed with tour boats. A woman nearby said that they had dared each other to swim across. Everyone watched with bated breath until a police boat came by and hauled them out!
After that we stopped at a cafe to change into nicer clothes and headed to the ballet. The Royal Opera House was beautiful and the ballet was wonderful. It ended at about 10 pm, and my grandma and I rushed to the tubes! We had to catch the 10:20 train and so we went charging through the Underground, dashing in and out of various hallways and cramming ourselves onto the trains. At one point we were running towards a train whose doors were closing, and my grandma seized it and pushed it back open and we hurled ourselves inside! It was hectic but hilarious; I wish I had a video or something.
Luckily we did catch the train just in time... and we both fell asleep on the way home. What an exhausting - but great - day.