Tuesday, December 16, 2008

loved, loved, loved london

for our final hoorah here in europe, cade and i decided that we needed to see london before we journeyed on home to utah. let me tell you- i am sooo glad we did. i loved it! i know i say that about all the places we go but mostly i just do that so i don't sound ungrateful. but london, oh london! i am already plotting out how cade and i will live there someday. (disclaimer: this extreme love of london may, in part, be a result of a serious lack of english throughout the past 4 months. we loved asking for directions, ordering food and reading advertisements.)

we put off going to london for so long mostly because it is SUPER pricey to get there from belgium. we were looking up train tickets and then calculating how little money we could survive on once we purchased them. they were like 400 bucks each for a 2 hour train ride! luckily, our good friend william found an overnight bus route for us at a much better price. plus, you can't beat a good night's sleep on a ferry with a scarf over your eyes, your coat on because it is freezing and your bags strapped to your legs so nobody can steal them from you.

overnight bus? ok!
we shuffled onto the bus at about 11:00 at night, got off the bus to get on the ferry, and got on the final bus which rolled into london around 6 am. i'll be the first to tell you that there isn't much to do at 6 am in london except gape at all the extreme ravers who have stumbled out of the clubs and onto the streets. we managed to find a local mcdonalds and planned out the details of our trip.

after we dropped our luggage off where we were staying (a friend of a friend let us stay with them in the city. thanks hanna and dan!) we set off to see the sights.

note: if at any time you are tempted to judge me, please keep in mind i am on 2 day hair, 2 day makeup and i had slept like 3 hours total on the bus ride. this may explain our glazed looks and my hermoine hair.

first, big ben and the parliament building

the london eye

westminster abbey

double decker buses

telephone booths

street preachers

the day was packed with adventures, but we had to hurry on to my very favorite part of the trip. to mark 7 months of marriage (we look for any excuse to justify our splurges) cade got 2 great tickets to see wicked on london's west end.

the show honestly brought me to tears- but the 11 year old girl sitting behind us was crying too, so i don't feel that dumb. i loved it sooo much. cade ended up liking it too and we had a great time at the show.

after wicked, we headed off to see all the christmas bustle at harrods. it was packed with people and pricey products. for those of you who may be hoping i got your christmas present here, hope is all you've got. they had a great christmas floor that we wandered through and for the first time this year, i really had that christmassy feeling.

we spent the rest of the night wandering through hyde park where there was a giant christmas market and carnival going on. i love this time of year!

the next morning we headed off to the hyde park chapel for church. we had heard so much about this historical church building and it was really interesting to see it. the members were very kind and although we only stayed for sacrament meeting, we loved seeing this church landmark.

the sightseeing continued full force on sunday...

the changing of the guard at buckingham palace

trafalgar square (where we really struggled to get a nice photo)

the tower of london, which was a very cool history lesson

tower bridge

st. peters

and many other fun things in london.

this was us all smiles before getting back on the overnight bus for a long journey back to brussels. don't worry, those smiles quickly faded when the guy in front of me found out his seat was broken so it leaned back even further than the other seats do. i also forgot to thank him for draping his long hair over the seat so it would wisp across me as i tried to sleep. what's not to love about the midnight express?

we are all smiles again as we prepare to come home tomorrow morning. we are busily packing (aka i am on the internet and cade is taking a nap) but we hope to have everything squared away by tomorrow. we are excited to get home and see our families for christmas!


The Funky Bunch said...

That is our next destination! ;) I absolutely envy you right now! You have no no no no idea how much I want to travel to Europe. How long have you guys been there anyway?

Adam said...

This brings back a lot of memories of my own trip to London. I especially liked Hyde Park and Speaker's Corner on Sunday. I hope you guys were able to see that.

London is an awesome city. I'm glad you guys were able to go.

It'll be good to see you guys again.

Eric*Dana*Colter said...

looks like ANOTHER great trip...SIGH!!!
i am so HAPPY you went to see Wicked...but SO freaking jealous, i tried to get tockets here and couldn't get through before they sold out (it was like 3 hrs) eric even d=went dowtown to wait in line and we got nothing!!
i can't wait to see you when you get home, lets do lunch or something...
have a safe trip back to BORNING utah :)

Kristine L. said...

That overnight bus ride sounds like a scene right out of Harry Potter.

Looks like you guys had a ton of fun! I am so jealous!

I also love that picture of Cade with the Asians... so Cade...

Megan and Greg said...

Ah, we'll miss you so much!!!! How do you guys have BOTH of you in every picture? It's always either Greg or I, almost never both! Who the heck were all those asian ladies with Cade??? Looks like a fun trip!!! Oh my gosh the guy with the hair!!! That sounds AWFUL!!!!! I'm SO SORRY!!!

the beus family said...

Ashley, I guess that's pretty cool that you have been all over the world...I'm really not that jealous or the least bit excited that you have traveled to some of the most amazing places on the earth. And it's really not that great that you have soaked up all this amazing culture and had a chance of a lifetime living there for months and months. That's all...hope you guys are surviving and I hope you sense my sarcasm that I truly am so excited that you guys have had this awesome opportunity!

Megan and Greg said...

I just got caught up on your posts! Looks like you guys had a great trip! Hope you have a safe trip home! We had a lot of fun with you guys. Keep in touch!


Mackay Family said...

Lucky! I lied every time before...that is where I want to go. Wicked in London...not fair at all! Isn't it the best! Really that is an awesome way to start your marriage by traveling!