The past few days have gone by so fast, and with finicky wifi I haven't had the chance to post about them. Friday night I met at a British pub with my professors and classmates for our last night together before going our separate ways. The fact that my time studying here is over hasn't quite hit me yet, because the next afternoon Tyler arrived in London. After getting him settled in, I immediately began my attempts to prove what a professional navigator the tube system has made me. We headed over to the London Eye, and then out to dinner.
The next morning we walked over to Kensington Palace, which was under restoration projects the last time I was in London. It was interesting to see the interior without the temporary exhibits they had installed before. I have also decided that I could very easily get used to having a palace garden, especially one with so many roses. Then we stopped in at Harrods to marvel at the cost of some of their products, including a solid silver lobster for over 90,000 pounds and a fountain pen for 19,000. It was clear that if we ever are in the market for a gold plated anything, Harrods is the place to find it. Slightly more affordable (and I say slightly) were the 28 restaurants the department store includes, so we decided to get fancy pastries and afternoon tea.
Monday we left the city on a tour bus to visit Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral. We had plans to also see the White Cliffs of Dover, but immigration riots and fires prevented that leg of the journey. The end of the tour was complete with a short ride up the River Thames.
The next day was a trip to the Tower of London because Tyler wanted to "see the place where people were tortured", although he was disappointed that it wasn't as ominous of a sight as he expected. Regardless, we still had fun before climbing up Tower Bridge and walking along the glass pathways up top. Our shared fear of heights made this an interesting experience but fun nonetheless.
That night we returned to Harrods in order to celebrate our first Tuesday date night in over a month, and to get ice cream at their old fashioned ice cream parlour. I tried a knickerbocker glory, which seemed to perfectly fit my last night in the city that has began to feel like home.
Before catching our flight out of the city on Wednesday, we were able to see the changing of the guard before mutually determining it wasn't really worth the crowd. However, we did go into Buckingham Palace itself, as the state rooms have recently been opened for the public to see.
I am so grateful for the time I spent in London, and am already looking forward to returning again someday. There is something about big cities that I love. I know that although it hasn't hit me that I am going home soon, I still have a few days here in Edinburgh before returning to the US and I cannot wait to make the most of them.