Weekend Part Two: Chelsea, Harrods, and Visiting Lauren!

On to Saturday (10/20)…

The weather was a lot nicer, and Raleigh and I took two short bus rides into the Borough (town) of Chelsea, which I have officially decided is where I will live if I ever buy a future London home. The area was absolutely beautiful. Just from walking on the main street (King’s Road), I could easily tell this place was an affluent community. The architecture and structure of the homes there were to die for, and the shops along the main street were very “posh” (fancy/upscale). There were tons of stores pertaining to interior decorating/design, like wallpaper and nice furniture. Take a look at the pictures and you can see what I’m talking about. Raleigh and I did some research, and I found a place to eat with AMERICAN BREAKFAST FOOD (which I have really been missing), so obviously, we went there. The restaurant was called the “Chelsea Bun” and claimed to be somewhat like an American Diner. Being the breakfast lover that I am, I was thrilled. We devoured our big brunches (consisting of pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, and tea) and I was completely satisfied after that meal. The only thing that could have been better was the size of the pancakes (they were tiny!). I need to go back there soon.

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We continued walking around Chelsea, found the River Thames and walked along a pathway with beautiful fall scenery. We also found the Royal Hospital Chelsea, which was a gated estate-like building with a large grassy field. It still serves its original purpose from the late 1600s, functioning as a home for retired soldiers. Next to that was the National Army Museum which we strolled by too.

After getting our fill of Chelsea and gawking over the beautiful homes, Raleigh and I made a short 15 minute walk to Harrods! Let me say this… it was the absolute most magnificent, yet depressing, part of my day (depressing because I have never felt so poor in my life)! Harrods definitely didn’t disappoint, and lived up to its reputation as Europe’s biggest department store. I was absolutely amazed at everything that was in there. We walked in on the ground floor and the ENTIRE floor was only dedicated to selling handbags… every single brand you could ever imagine. I think there must have been at least five stories, with each floor divided into sections, or smaller rooms specializing in an area, such as formal evening gowns (Raleigh’s favorite). I really enjoyed the massive shoe section. They were fabulous. Being around all those high class brand names was really cool, but completely unrealistic to purchase ANYTHING there. We also found our way to the Harrods shop section of the store, which sold tons of branded Harrods merchandise like key chains, bags, magnets, etc. I plan on going back to get a souvenir of some sort, probably a mug! The last section that we ventured into was Christmas World. Yes, it is true… they have already set up and opened an entire section for CHRISTMAS before it is even Halloween! I thought it was a little odd that Christmas World was opened this early in the year, but it got me even more excited for the holidays, and England apparently starts getting into the holiday season a little earlier than America does. Raleigh and I took some more pictures at Christmas World, fondled a few more expensive pairs of shoes, and left before we became clinically depressed for feeling dirt poor. We called it a day after leaving Harrods, and made our way back to campus.

After getting back on Saturday evening, I decided to take a trip to visit my friend Lauren who is also studying abroad this semester in London. She is my friend from back home in New Jersey, and did a good job of convincing me to see her even though I was exhausted from my day in Chelsea. I took two bus rides to get to Ealing (the town where her flat is), and about an hour later I arrived at her place. It was really awesome to be able to see a familiar face from back home. Even though Lauren and I don’t go to the same college (she goes to University of Delaware), it was so nice to be able to catch up and talk about our mutual friends at home. We got a late start to going out that night, and eventually made it to Central London around 12:30 AM after a tube and bus ride there. The group of us decided that paying 10 pounds to get into a club was a little steep, especially at the time of night already, so we went to Chinatown, got some food, and headed back to her place in Ealing. Overall, not the best night of going out, but it definitely was an interesting experience to see Central London at night and to meet her friends! I told her that she now needs to come visit me and my campus!

I slept over Lauren’s flat on Saturday night and made my journey back to Roehampton Sunday afternoon. I figured out a quicker way to get back so it only took me about 40 minutes instead of close to an hour (proof that I really am learning my way around this place)!

So that’s my weekend for you. It was one of the best ones I’ve had here so far and I’m so happy to be exploring and seeing as many parts of London as I can. This coming weekend I’m going to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland with some friends… I am so excited! More updates to come soon!

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