OH GOD this is gonna be a long post. Partially because I didn't really have internet for this past week, mostly because I've been lazy. I'll take it day by day.
THURSDAY (where I left off):
LONDON!!!!! Which was, as you may have guessed, STUPENDOUS. This is where I wanna be post graduation. We started at Camden Market, one of my favorite places on the planet. I don't know where I get these random spurts of will power, because if ever there were a place worth spending myself into debt, it's Camden. I think the only thing that held me back was the knowledge that I'll be there again soon. Camden is London's Venice Beach, only without the sun and bigger and with better accents. I could have spent the day there, however I took pity on Haynes. And I pinched my £s: a few post cards (which I have yet to send) and a couple of bracelets (also due for packaging = belated birthday gifts). I've been to Camden before, but last time it was even shorter, soooo I made a new discovery--more market. More market in a late 1800s horse stable. I'm talking legit, GIANT stable, with wood paneled floors in the underground parts and shops inside the stalls. The picture is an inside view.
Oli and I left a reasonably sunny Camden, minded the gaps, and emerged at Notting Hill to a torrential downpour. We hid in a Starbucks until the rain stopped, then picknicked at a park bench before meeting Oli's friend David and beginning our search for Hugh Grant's blue door from Notting Hill. We sort of found it--it was black and there was a junkie on the door step. We couldn't find the book shop either, but we did spot Maroon 5's Adam Levine hanging out. Apparently Notting Hill is a very posh area. It's gorgeous, but this is England, few things aren't. We walked through Portobello Market, then in to central London so I could see the sights. London Tower, London Bridge, Tower Bridge (we saw it open!),
Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, London Eye.
Then it was dinner at Wagamama's and Legally Blonde the Musical. Silly Brits couldn't quite get the valley girl accent, but most of them sounded American enough.
Uneventful. Read in a coffee shop in Colchester while Oli spoke with kids from his college about traveling to India. We had grilled burgers with his parents then drove back to Steph's.
Steph and I behaved like complete cows--we ate and watched TV all day. Then we got ourselves together and went clubbing in Camberley. I clung to a pole for dear life while some "chav" (Steph assures me that's what he was) "danced" "with" me.
Drove to Stafford to visit Steph's grandparents. These are the sweet, small, lovingly-bickery, spoiling English grandparents every child wishes they had, I'm not exaggerating. They both gave me huge hugs and kisses hello, they cooked a roast dinner for us, Steph's nan--very much like my Jewish grandma--would continue to offer us food no matter how many times she heard "no thank you." They had little statuettes of the queen on their mantel. This is the real England my friends. And I'm proud to say that within an hour I was adopted as the third granddaughter.
Cadbury World!!!! We toured the factory in Birmingham with Steph's cousin and ate our weight in chocolate. It was delicious and a little painful.
Lunch with the grandparents again and then off to the Roman city of Bath with Steph's other grandfather and her padre. Bath is lovely. I want to retire in Bath. We went on a comedy tour of the city--it wasn't informational, it was sort of combination stand up and magic show. For the very last bit the guy put me in the stocks and very nearly chopped off my head.
More of Bath. Technically Steph's gramps is in Bradford on Avon, so we went around and saw all David's childhood spots, then to the Tithe Barn and Gardens--filled with a few quaint little antique shops--before going for proper tea. It was the most English experience I've had, sipping tea out of white china and eating scones with cream and raspberry jam. Lovely. Then we saw more family, including a new baby, before returning to Yateley for dinner with the girls.
I managed to wire myself money from my American bank account. Thank God. And lots and lots of packing. We move to Canterbury tomorrow--byebye summer vacay. Next time I blog it'll be from my new school!