This morning I woke up early again and started to go over my final notes and the songs we needed to learn again when my phone buzzed and a classmate texted saying our final was moved to Tuesday. I was excited, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time I kind of just wanted to get it over with because that was now just one more thing I needed to worry about over the weekend.
Class brought along with it another great guest speaker, Rebecca Gilliver. Rebecca is the principle cello player for the London Symphony Orchestra and it was a privilege to have her come in and speak to our class. Following James Shearman the day before, the main thing I noticed was how down to earth they both were. Despite claiming she was a horrid public speaker and hated it, Rebecca spent the two hours telling us stories about her time with the orchestra. At times it felt as though she wasn’t even talking to us anymore, just reliving the memories. She was incredibly honest with us and talked to us about the sexism still present in the orchestra as well as how being a principle player impacted her married life. The one thing I did not respect about Rebecca Gilliver was that she KILLED DOBBY. Her cello solo ended the life of the best house-elf in the history of all house-elves!!!! Other than that she was great though.
After we wrapped up asking Rebecca questions, I went back to the hotel room and quickly did some laundry and figure out where I wanted to go the rest of the day. I ended up traveling over to Waterstones Piccadilly- the largest bookstore in Europe. Since I had sent two books home with my aunt the day before I decided I could buy a couple more (ignoring the fact that I had bought two at the Imperial War Rooms the day before). I ended up purchasing one of Carrie Fisher’s memoirs called The Princess Diarist (I already finished reading it, whoops!), Jaycee Dugard’s second memoir called Freedom (I read her first novel Stolen, so I just haaaad to get the second), and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.
Okay, so I’m going to justify my purchase of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in a separate paragraph before I a text saying how I don’t need to be spending any more money on Harry Potter. Let me start from the beginning. Before I left for London I told Peter that he had to read all of the Harry Potter books ASAP because he never had before and I kind of lived off of them. About half-way through my trip I decided it was about time I read them again and since I am a slightly competitive person I told Peter I was going to finish reading them before him (he’s on the fourth book currently). I hadn’t PLANNED on buying any of the books here, but I also knew I wanted to start collecting all of the different cover art versions of the series. So when I got into Waterstones and saw the display I decided it was worth it because (1) I could get a head start and beat Peter, (2) this was the real version because it was PHILOSOPHERS stone, not sorcerers stone, and (3) I was going to buy them all again anyways.
Once I finally dragged myself out of the bookstore following my three purchases I headed down the road to Hamleys Toy Store- one of the oldest and largest toy stores in the world. It was overwhelming to say the least. I just went right to the Star Wars and Harry Potter sections and then after deciding everything I wanted to buy was too large to get back to the United States I headed back to the first floor. I got a belgian waffle with bananas and drizzled chocolate before heading back to the hotel.
When I got back I hung around and read for a little bit before heading out again to meet my roommate at the Sky Garden. The Sky Garden was a free attraction that you had to book ahead of time though because it was generally pretty busy. It was essentially a little garden at the top of this super tall, glass building in London with a great view. In the gardens was a little outside area where you could go out onto and take pictures (Dad would have hated it) and then they had a little café set up and some fancy restaurants upstairs. I thought it was just going to be me and roommate, but apparently she invited two of the other guys in our class. It wasn’t a problem, but it would have been nice to know before I showed up there.
After we were there I headed back to the hotel for another short period of time before going back the direction I had come to go out to dinner with Ana Maria. My friend Ana Maria lives in Bulgaria and we actually met at a program at George Washington University two summers before. She had family friends in London, so she came to stay with them for the weekend and visit me!! We ended up meeting at a little Turkish restaurant called Kilikya’s that my roommate recommended. I ordered the lamb and chicken kabobs (ironic because my friend is a vegetarian) and a cider. We caught up over dinner and then ended up getting the Baklava for dessert along with complimentary Turkish tea. Originally after we finished dinner we were going to go and walk around, but it was already 9:30 PM and I was absolutely exhausted so we decided we would just meet up the following day.
When I got back to the hotel I read for a bit, talked to my roommate, and then fell asleep, not setting an alarm.