Top 10 Favorite Days

It has occurred to me that no one really has the time to read through all 85 days of the best summer of my life, so I have picked my top 10 favorite days in London (in the order they occurred):

Day 17 - That time I went to work, Greenwich, stood on the Prime Meridian & took a Beatles tour
Day 19 - That time I got to go Jubilee shopping for my internship
Day 23 - That time I used my press pass to go to the Diamond Jubilee Concert
Day 24 - That time I attended CBS's post-Jubilee party (for free!)
Day 34 - That time I met Scott Pelley
Day 53 - That time I celebrated the Fourth of July in England
Day 63 - That time I went to Windsor Castle
Day 70 - That time I made a really cool map, went celebrity hunting and made a music video
Day 81 - That time I went to the Olympics
Day 82 - That time I went into Buckingham Palace, finished my story package and helped interview an Olympic gold medalist

And since those were my favorite days in London, I didn't include any of the trips I took, which were all awesome and could easily take up of my top 10 favorite days:

Day 14 - That time I took a trip to Stonehenge and Bath
Day 28, Day 29, Day 30 - That time I took a trip to Belgium
Day 41, Day 42, Day 43, Day 44 - That time I took a trip to Paris
Day 55, Day 56, Day 57 - That time I took a trip to Barcelona (with an ear infection)
Day 76, Day 77, Day 78 - That time I took a trip to Dublin
Day 80 - That time I took a trip to Brighton

I can't wait to go back!

Day 85

Sunday, August 5 -

Today was the dreaded day. I had to leave London. I said my good-byes to the dungeon (my flat), told London 'see you later,' and told my friends I'd see them back at school.

The flight was long, the food was good, and my parents came to pick me up so I wasn't stranded at the airport like I was when I first landed in london.

London followed me back because the first thing I saw when I got off the plane in Austin was this:
Waterloo Records & Video, a store in the airport in Austin, Texas

Waterloo station was the station we lived about five seconds from and took the Tube from almost every day!
Waterloo in London
I miss it already!!!

Day 84

Saturday, August 4 -

I went on a CAPA-led walking tour of Hampstead Heath. Only four of us showed up for this tour so it was very easygoing. Hampstead Heath was a beautiful park and it was like I wasn't in a huge city anymore. The whole tour ended up being quite the adventure because there were a lot of pretty steep hills/mountains in the park and the whole thing is just a huge maze. It began with a trek up to the top of Parliament Hill where we had a gorgeous view of the city below.

Houses on the opposite side of the pond at Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath
The view of the City from Parliament Hill
The view from the other side of Parliament Hill
Our next stop was supposed to be the Kenwood House, a huge mansion in the park, but we took a wrong path somewhere and ended up right back where we started. Then we had to hike some more and we took a few more wrong paths. The view was always super nice and there were so many dogs everywhere! They were all running around and being happy dogs and nothing makes you feel happier than seeing a cute puppy bounding around in the park.

People fencing in the park 
The forest
Fallen tree
So many ferns
More of Hampstead Heath
Finally, after hiking what felt like 10 miles all uphill, we made it to the Kenwood House! Except it turns out the whole thing was under construction and covered in scaffolding.

The Kenwood House under construction
That was pretty disappointing. There was a picture of the house on some sign outside and it looked really nice. I put seeing it on my things-to-do-next-time-I'm-in-London list. The tour ended at this house, which was pretty far from the Tube station, and since it was just the four of us and the tour guide, we took a taxi to the Tube! It was my first time riding in the London black cabs, so that's one more thing I don't have to put on my things-to-do-next-time-I'm-in-London list.

I've been suffering from this TERRIBLE toothache since Thursday, and by the time this tour was over my pain medication had worn off, so instead of spending my last day in London doing fun things (like going back to Camden market) I had to spend it in AGONY in the urgent care center. It hurt so bad agony has to be in all caps. My mom called my dentist and he told her it was probably an infection and I should go get some antibiotics to help treat it. The doctor prescribed me some antibiotics and pain killers which helped.

After I took the meds, I felt better so I went to Harrods with my friend. She was doing some last minute souvenir shopping and I was just looking around and soaking up as much of London as possible. We wanted ice cream so we went to the Harrods Ice Cream Parlour. It was way too fancy. You couldn't just order an ice cream cone. You actually had to be seated and someone had to come take your order of expensive fancy ice cream. But it was super good.

And finally it was the dreaded packing time. Fingers crossed my suitcases aren't too far over the weight limit...

Day 83

Friday, August 3 -

I went to the Queen's house! She wasn't home. Again. I feel like she may be avoiding me...
I did the Royal Day Out, so I got to see all three exhibits in the palace; Leonardo da Vinci's human anatomy art, the Royal Mews and the State Apartments. Da Vinci's exhibit was super interesting, I had no idea he was into the whole human body thing.
Da Vinci's drawing of human anatomy
Human skulls
Cow fetus!
The Royal Mews were also pretty cool. We didn't get to see much, but they had a lot of the Queen's coaches on display and two of her horses were in there!

The Irish State Coach 
The Queen's Limo 
The Australian State Coach
The Glass Coach
The State Landau 
The Gold State Coach
It was very elaborate and gold 
The Royal Mews! Employees actually live there 
McCarthy, one of the Queen's horses!
Flint! He's behind the fence
Then we went inside the Palace, through the State Apartments. It was pretty nice! Unfortunately no pictures were allowed. It looked a lot like Windsor Castle, very big and spacious and royal.

The back of Buckingham Palace
The Queen's backyard
Buckingham Palace
I went back into work even though yesterday was my last day, because I just can't stay away. But really I needed to finish up my story package. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

While I was waiting for them to put my package on a DVD a shoot popped up! The bureau chief was like to me, "What are you doing tonight?" and asked if I wanted to go on this shoot. Instead of saying no, I'm starving and I just want to go home, I said sure, I'd love to go on this shoot. It was so worth it!

We went to interview Mary Lou Retton for this story CBS did on Gabby Douglas. Mary Lou Retton is an American Gymnast and was the first non-Eastern European woman to win the Olympic all-around title back in 1984. I'd never heard of her before but apparently it's a generational thing.

The interview was at the USA House which was in some college building by Royal Albert Hall. It was filled with US athletes and other Americans pretty much just having a huge party. I felt very in my element.
USA House
My media badge! I wanted to keep it, but the media lady wouldn't let. 
Interviewing Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou was TINY, she said she was only 4'9. She was also SO enthusiastic about Gabby Douglas, gymnastics and the Olympics. She kind of made me want to go learn gymnastics and win a couple of gold medals or something.

Day 82

Thursday, August 2 -

Today was my last official day at work, so I brought donuts to ensure everyone remembered me in a positive light. Not that I ever really did anything negative. I think everyone enjoyed them. Other than that, I just worked on my story package all day!

After work we had a class goodbye party with all our Michigan State flatmates and some people from CAPA at this pub. It was really nice! CAPA rented out a room on the top floor of the pub for us and it was actually sunny so we got to sit out on the deck and enjoy a FREE dinner. It started raining for a little bit at one point, but the sun was still shining and we saw a rainbow which soon turned into a double rainbow!
Rainbow! If you look really close you can see the double rainbow.
It was so bright
I finally (sort of) accepted reality and started the process of packing. It was sad.

Day 81

Wednesday, July 32 -

I refuse to believe it's already August, so I changed the date.

I had the worst time with the Tube this morning. When I left my flat, I thought to myself, "My days here are numbered so I'll walk over the Thames to the Tube to get to work," instead of taking the train, because the view from the river is so beautiful. I get right on the Tube and put in my headphones and stop paying attention. We pass the station where the train line splits into two different directions, and my train starts going on the wrong one. This is what I get for not listening to the announcements they make on the train. I get off at the next stop and get on the train back to the other station and wait for the train towards Richmond to come.

They announce the trains to Richmond have been suspended due to a signal failure. Plan B is to wait for the train to Ealing Broadway and get off at the stop that's around a 15 minute walk from work. Then I hear the announcement that there are no trains to Richmond or Ealing Broadway because of a signal failure. Now I'm really mad at myself for not taking the train, because I would have been to work by this time.

I get on a completely different line and I run into the other intern on the train! Things start to look up because now I'm not in this situation alone. We get off at the closest stop to work, which is still a really long walk away. Luckily the other intern can work the bus system so we managed to find the bus to our stop. Once we finally made it in, we saw one of the staff members sent the CBS staff email listserv a message saying the Tube was closed between Earl's Court and Richmond, so everyone may need to find an alternative route to work. It was sent at 8:01 a.m. If I was on that email, I would have gotten it before I left and I would have been able to avoid the whole situation.

Work was pretty boring, so I don't even know if it was worth the hassle. I just did Eurovision all day and watched the Olympics. It was pretty exciting. Team GB won their first gold medal in rowing. All the Brits in the room got pretty excited.

Then I got to GO to the Olympics! My program was raffling off tickets, and whoever originally won the one I got couldn't accept it, so my name was drawn! I still had to pay for it, but it was pretty awesome.
Wembley Stadium, where the match was held
London 2012 logo on the stadium
Wembley Arena 
Sooo many people headed to the stadium
The match was men's football (soccer), Korea v. Gabon. Our seats were amazing! We were on the very first level and only row 16, so it was pretty close. The seats were also really comfortable.

Waiting for the game to start
Inside the stadium!
The other side of the stadium 
A Gabon player got injured in the first 2 seconds of the game
Doing the wave! 
Playing football
I was routing for Gabon because they were wearing bright orange shoes and they speak French there. Neither team scored and they ended the game tied at 0-0. I'm confused about how the bracket works and how they plan on picking a winner. After the match, all 80,000 some people all left and all went to the Tube. It was ridiculous, but we made our way slowly but surely to the station, onto the Tube and back home.

Everyone leaving. There was also about this many people behind us.
Cop on a pony! Protecting the crowds
Making our way into the station

Day 80

Tuesday, July 31 -

I picked up my Olympic ticket today!!!!!

Then I ran to the train station to go to Brighton for my last British Life and Culture class. It was great to go to the beach, except it was cloudy and windy and cold. It was a pretty beach city though! Unfortunately we did things backwards. Two girls in our class were leaving early so after our mini class tour, we all went to a pub to eat dinner together. Then we went to walk along the pier and beach and after that we wanted to go check out all the shops we walked past on our way through the city. When we were leaving the beach the sun was coming out, and it turns out all the shops were closed. 

Shops in Brighton
Street art
More street art
The Prince's (I don't know which one) Palace 
The beach 
English Channel and Brighton Pier
The Old Ship Hotel and cool light post
The pier that burnt down 
Cool candles in the pub we went to
The English Channel 
Brighton Pier 
Brighton coast 
It was a rocky beach, not sand, and the rocks all fell when the waves receded and they made a cool noise 
Seagull poses for a picture
It was a pretty good last class of the summer.