Friday, January 7, 2011

Wales: Day 39 Best Day of My Life - Part 1

The big day finally came. Wednesday, August 11, I woke up bright and early at 6 am, already crazy excited. We walked to Cathays station (about 20 minutes away, and in a quite ghetto part of Cardiff. Which is saying something.), and caught the 7:15ish train to Cardiff Central. A quick breakfast and then we boarded the 8:25 train to LONDON!!!! I love train rides. They're so smooth, quiet and comfortable compared with cars and especially huge packed vans. Gillian and I listened to some Dane Cook standup, which was delightfully entertaining to our tired and excited minds. Then we slept for the rest of the ride. That's really why train rides are the best - sleep.

We arrived in London around 10:30, got our tube passes and then ventured out into the city! Our group of about 8 or 9 went to Leicester (the theater district. All of the big Broadway signs line the building facades) so most people could get their Wicked tickets (I already bought my ticket to Phantom. I was too excited to wait or chance it.) then we grabbed some pizza from a little street vendor. Probably the weirdest pizza I've ever had, but I was starving and it was decent. Anna, Anders & Zoe were interested in seeing Les Miserables, so clearly I jumped on that bandwagon. We walked down to that theater and got tickets for the matinee. I was straight trippin' at this point. Two legit world-renown musicals. In London. One Day. Couldn't have been more excited.

We had about an hour until showtime, so Jessica, Gill, Sam and I walked around Leicester and Piccadilly Circus (kind of the downtown of London) in search of sights and a delicious treat. Come on. We get ice cream in every city as a tradition. Piccadilly Circus is my favorite area of London. I just ate it up. We walked down to Trafalgar Square which is one of the coolest areas of London without being too touristy. The architecture there is fantastic. We grabbed some chocolate ice cream outside the National Gallery and hung out people-watching for a while.

I love that people just hang out in the square. Such a cool vibe. I wish we did that here.

Jess, Gill and Sam went into the National Gallery, but I had to be back for Les Mis, so I bid farewell to them and headed to the Queen's Theatre. I was slightly nervous about walking back to Leicester from Trafalgar by myself, but I was happy to see that I knew where I was and where I was going, and hopefully I didn't look like too much of a tourist! haha.

Les Miserables was INCREDIBLE. I loved it. I'd heard the music before, but never read the book or seen the musical anywhere. I fell in love with it. I was completely captivated. The actors were so talented, stage effects and props were awesome, and it was all-around amazing. I'm so glad I finally got to see it, and in London, no less.

After Les Mis, we walked through Leicester Gardens (seriously this is the coolest area of London. People who focus on Big Ben, Parliament and all the touristy stuff don't know what they're missing out on), saw some pretty good break-dancing street performers, Anna got hit on, and then Anders, Anna and Zoe headed off to get food and go to Wicked.

You may be thinking, "Wow. That day sounds awesome. Borderline perfect." And you're absolutely right. It was. But it got even better. From this point (approximately 4 pm) onward, this day was 100% perfect for Danica Budge. Everything I could want or need. I knew that I would have a lot to say about my evening, and that Phantom deserved a much more thorough treatment, so stay tuned for another epic, emotional, exciting chapter in the London adventure.

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