anglais, Australia House, Big Ben, bilingual, bridges, bus, Case Western Reserve University, Chunnel, customs, double-decker, England, English, Europe, filiming, francais, France, French, Globe Theater, Gringott's, Harry Potter, London, London Eye, metro, movie, mugged, night lights, Paris, pickpockets, pickpockets in Paris, RER, river, Shakespeare, solo, solo travel, stolen iPhone, student, Thames, Tower of London, traditional food, train, travel, walking tour
Leaving Paris was a nightmare. We were way too tired to want to get up in the morning and it took too long to get out the door. We checked out and dragged our luggage to the closest metro stop on the east end of the city. We took this train towards the center of town to transfer to a line that would take us to Gare du Nord but there was construction and we were tried several lines before we found one that was open. It was an RER line and I had told Dan I didn’t want to take the line. It seemed dirty and slow but we had no choice. While we stood on the platform, two men closed around either side of me and I felt uncomfortable at how they were looking at me. When the train arrived, I tried to get on when one of the men stepped in front of me and tried to grope me. I shouted at him in French and pushed him with my bags, completely distracted from what was going on. Dan didn’t understand either and commented on how the man sat on the other end of the car. We couldn’t understand why.
When we got to the train station, we rushed through customs as quickly as we could until Dan got pulled aside for carrying knives onboard. He had packed them for camping and his military card fortunately let him keep them. We ended up missing our train over this… which is when we bought breakfast and I finally put two and two together: the man on the train had distracted me so his friend could dig out my iPhone and flee the platform without me realizing. I felt incredibly stupid and angry. I replayed it a thousand times and imagined how much I would love to chase the guys down and beat them with my suitcases. But it was too late. I don’t have a phone for the rest of my trip. At least it was completely backed up…and my parents consequently blocked the service.
We were able to take the next train to London without any problems. We got seats together and watched as we passed through the northern countryside of France and slowly descended into a Chunnel for the train. Upon arrival in London, the train station and how kind the people were amazed us. We quickly found our Holiday Inn, drank a bottle of cider we had brought from Bretagne, and mapped out our sights for the day. We were psyched to include places on our list where the Harry Potter films were made. Our walking tour of London started with King’s Cross and Platform 9 ¾, then we took the metro (oldest in Europe!) to the Tower of London. We walked along the bridge and the shore from here, stopping where scenes from Diagon Alley and Gringot’s were filmed and others, crossing nearly every bridge, and hitting popular points like the Globe Theater. We stopped for some traditional dinner after taking a double-decker from Twinning’s Tea Shop to a plaza where we took the metro to Buckingham Palace and its surroundings. We passed the Arch and gardens by the Palace on our way to Parliament, Big Ben, and a view of the London Eye under its blue evening lights. It was a great day and we managed to see everything we wanted to see!
Arrival at the station.
Me outside of what would technically be Platform 9 3/4.
Me with an official Gryffindor tie where they filmed scenes from Diagon Alley.
Me by the Tower of London.
Me in front of the Tower of London Bridge that we had just crossed.
Me with Dan by a pub near the Thames.
Beefeater out by Buckingham Palace.
Big Ben at night.
London Eye on the Thames at night.