This past Saturday was one of my best friends’ birthdays, so Emily came to spend the weekend with me to celebrate. She flew up from Geneva on Friday and stayed until Sunday – it was so great to see her, even for just a couple days.
Friday after Emily arrived, we explored Oxford whilst it was still light out (after grabbing some Ben’s Cookies AND Moo Moo’s milkshakes, go big or go home). We walked around Christ Church and Pembroke Colleges, city center, and then my college St Cross. Oxford isn’t very big, so it doesn’t take much to see all the major sights. That night we met Lindsay, Nick, and Mike for drinks at the Lamb and Flag. Emily definitely needed a “proper pub” experience while in England.
Saturday we woke up early and headed off to London to spend all of Em’s birthday in the city. We started off walking along the Thames, so she could see the London Eye, Parliament, and Big Ben. Very touristy, but it was cool to see (when we weren’t ducking to avoid terrorist pigeons).
From there we passed Westminster Abbey and Downing Street before making our way to Trafalgar Square. Then, one of the definite highlights of the day: CHIPOTLE. Emily and I are both crazy about Chipotle, so we of course had to eat there while in London.
One of Emily’s few requests was that we go to King’s Cross and get our pictures taken at Platform 9 3/4. It’s actually a really cute set up that they have for fans, and there’s even a scarf for each house that you can wear. Emily sported her Hufflepuff colors, while I went sans scarf.
From King’s Cross we went out to Buckingham Palace because Emily wanted to see the “guards with the funny hats!” which she had a good giggle over.
After leaving Buckingham, we checked out the Covent Garden area (thanks Mary for the suggestion!) before making our way to the O2 Arena. The biggest part of Emily’s birthday weekend was that I got us tickets for the opening night of One Direction’s world tour! Our seats were great and the show was even better, but I’ll have more on that in a review post I’ll put up tomorrow. We showed amazing restraint at the merchandise booths, but if a beer wouldn’t have been £5 I think we both could have used a drink…definitely on the older side of the fan spectrum!
The queue into the tube station from the arena was unreal, and it took us nearly 30 minutes just to get inside the station. We eventually caught the bus back to Oxford around midnight, and by the time we arrived back at mine we were the good kind of exhausted – but of course stayed up for another hour or two talking about our day, typical for us.
Sunday we grabbed breakfast and just tried to spend as much time together as possible before Emily had to catch the bus to the airport. We had a nice walk around Christ Church meadow and talked about all the stuff we’ve both been going through living abroad, and our friends back home. It was really easy to forget that we were in Oxford for a moment and imagine that it was like old times back at school. Of course, I think it’s just a sign of a good friendship – that your relationship doesn’t change, even if your location does.
Sadly, I did have to see Emily off, after plenty of hugs and sad faces. I do hope she can visit again, and if not we’ll at least travel together for a bit after my program and her au pair-ship end in June.