I have been a blogging failure these past few months. My summer at home has gone by in the blink of an eye and I’ve already been back in Madrid for almost a month! But I can’t start my next chapter in Spain without completing my last one: my final trip of the year to London! After I post about London and my summer at home, I’ll finally be able to update you all on the beginning of my second year in Spain thus far.
Strangely enough, my last trip of the last school year was actually the first one I planned. It was planned back in last September! I should begin this story by stating that anyone who knows me knows about my undying love for the British-Irish boy band One Direction. It has been an ongoing love for the past few years and my level of a fangirl seems to grow as time passes by. Yes, I know that I’m a 24-year-old girl in love with a group of 21-year-old guys that are usually aimed towards screaming 13-year-old girls but that’s besides the point. I was very bummed to discover they somehow sneaked their way through Philly in 2013 on their last tour without me even knowing! So when I found out they were going on tour again I knew I had to see them. Not only that, but they happened to be doing the European leg of their tour during the spring- when I just so happened to be in Europe myself! Total fate.
Unfortunately Madrid’s date was in July and I was planning to fly back to the U.S. in June. But then I saw that they were scheduled to perform at Wembley Stadium in London over the first weekend in June. I loved London the first time I visited and I knew that I wanted to go back at some point during the year. So what better excuse is there to go back to London than to go to a One Direction concert?! Not only that, but 4 out of the 5 guys in the band are from England so how EPIC to see them perform on their home turf?! Things didn’t seem like they were going to work out, though, because the shows were sold out and the tickets on websites like Stubhub were way too expensive. But then a ray of light came shining through my computer screen! I discovered that they were going to add another show that Friday night at Wembley due to their popularity and the tickets were going to go on sale just a few days after I looked! My friend Kristen, who I had met a few weeks prior to planning this trip that was 9 months down the road, agreed to get the tickets with me because she was also a fan of 1D. So we decided to dive in and buy the tickets and suddenly we had an amazing trip to London to look forward to over the course of those 9 months!
All the build-up to this trip did not fail us. It was the best last trip of the school year I could have asked for. Kristen and I boarded our flight to London Gatwick airport that Thursday afternoon after work and we spent our first night in London walking around and hanging out at our awesome hostel! We stayed at The Steam Engine which was just a 10-15 minute walk past the river from Parliament. It was a really cool hostel because it was essentially just an English pub with a few rooms upstairs. The limited number of rooms didn’t keep them from packing us in like sardines. The room we were in was probably the size of my room in the US (pretty small), but they managed to squeeze 12 beds in there! It was my first time staying in a triple bunk bed but it surprisingly wasn’t bad at all. Everyone was very quiet and respectful. Besides, we hungout downstairs at the pub for a bit and sipped on some ciders instead of being in the room anyways.
The next day was so much fun! We spent the morning walking around the city passing by a lot of the attractions like Parliament & Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street, Kensington Gardens, the Peter Pan statue, and of course taking pictures in the red telephone booths! One of the highlights from that day for me was our afternoon tea near Baywater. We had made reservations at this adorable place called LA Suite West and since we got so lucky with the weather that weekend, we were able to sit outside in their outdoor garden terrace. I forget how much we paid exactly (maybe around 18 pounds), but we received plenty of food and tea. We were given 3 courses: 5 different types of finger sandwiches, scones with coconut cream and strawberries, and pastries. Yum!
By the time we finished our tea it was just about time to head back to our hostel to get ready for our concert!!! After stopping at a convenience store for a quick bite to eat, we hopped on the tube and headed out to Wembley Stadium. When we reached a certain point on the line, we really started to see all of the other 1D fans (AKA little girls with their moms which was strange because we were expecting to see mostly teenagers).
When we arrived at our stop, I was overwhelmed with excitement when I saw the massive Wembley Stadium with my five favorite boys’ faces on the jumbo screen looking down on everyone as we walked in. We found our seats which were pretty much the definition of nosebleeds but it’s ok because we were there, in London, at Wembley Stadium, waiting for One Direction to come on. 5 Seconds of Summer was the opening band. At the time I only knew a couple of their songs but it was really cool to see them live. And then- the moment we had all been waiting for- the lights dimmed, the crowd started cheering, and then Harry Styles’ angelic voice filled the stadium with the first line of Midnight Memories.
I won’t bore you all with all of the details, but basically it was a magical night seeing my boys live for the first time, let alone in their freaking home country! Not only that, but I was wondering why they seemed so shocked the entire night. They have been touring for a while now so I thought they would be used to performing. It turned out, that was their first time ever performing at Wembley and they were so stunned to be performing in a stadium that massive- let alone selling out there for 3 straight nights! And since they were just normal boys a few years ago, I can see how surreal that must have felt. They each took turns saying “Good Evening, Wembley!” so that they could each have a chance at saying it which was cute haha.
Performance of One Thing:
Performance of What Makes You Beautiful:
Sadly, like all concerts, this one had to come to an end. They finished off their set with Best Song Ever and a bajillion fireworks. After having to get over my sadness that the night I had been waiting for for 9 months was actually over, the entire stadium made a very peaceful exit. I’m not joking- this was the most behaved mob of people I have ever seen in my life! Everyone was so respectful and no one got rowdy. Everyone made a beeline to the tube but there were police directing people when to stop and when to go up the steps to the metro. It was insane that everyone was actually listening! A method like that would have never worked in the US.
After the concert we grabbed a drink at a pub with our 1D face paint on for the sole reason that we could. The next morning Kristen went to tour the Harry Potter Studios and since I’m not a fan of Harry Potter, I used that time to just walk around the city. I walked along the Thames River, Passed the Tower Bridge, did a little shopping, and walked by St. Paul’s Cathedral. I really wanted to go on the London Eye but the morning started off cloudy and rainy and I heard it’s not worth it to do it in weather like that. Of course it turned into a beautiful day later on but I ran out of time. Later on I met up with Kristen and we went to Abbey Road and re-enacted the front of the Beatles’ album cover and also saw their studios. It was very difficult to get our picture because there was so much traffic and people waiting for us to cross. If I drove in London, I would avoid that road at all costs since there are constantly tourists walking slowly across that road. That night we went to a couple of pubs in Camden and I got my fish and chips for dinner! So good.
We used the next morning to just walk around London one last time before heading back to Madrid. We went to a market where we did a little bit of shopping and we had a great lunch. Afterwards, we walked over to the bus station that we came in from to catch our bus back to Gatwick Airport. We booked our tickets with National Express. When we got to the bus station we found that we had some time to kill so we went to a pub across the street for one last drink. When we realized we were cutting it close to when our bus was going to leave, we headed out to the station. When we got there we asked someone where our bus was and he told us it was actually at a different station a few minutes away! CRAP! We started freaking out and running. Kristen’s legs are a lot longer than mine so she was way ahead of me and I just followed behind her as she asked people where the station was. We finally found it but I had lost Kristen for a second. Suddenly I was in the waiting area and I saw Kristen through the glass doors standing in the parking lot. I panicked because I couldn’t find the way out! When I finally did I sprinted to where I saw her before but she was no longer there. I asked a woman working there where my bus was and she said it literally just pulled out. I looked behind me and there it was! Kristen was on the bus and she told me that the bus driver was a legitimate asshole and wouldn’t wait one minute for me NOR would he stop the bus when he saw that I was literally right there. I was in disbelief that that just happened. The woman directed me to the ticket office and said I might be able to get on the next bus. Thank god there was an opening on the next bus and for a fee I was able to switch my tickets. I got to the airport in just the nick of time and I made it back to Madrid safe and sound. It was definitely a sucky end to what was a great weekend, but it could have been so much worse even though being stuck in London might not have been the worst thing in the world!
So besides the end to our weekend, our highly anticipated end-of-the-year trip to London was incredible! I loved London the first time I visited and I knew that I wanted to go back this year. I have also had an ongoing love for One Direction for the past few years so it was very convenient that they were playing in London while I was in Europe. It seemed like a no-brainer to get tickets to the show and use it as an excuse to go back to London! I remember when I first flew to Madrid last September I had a layover at London Heathrow and there was One Direction paraphernalia literally everywhere! It was such a tease not being able to go into the city. Little did I know that 9 months later I would return.
All in all, I just love London. It’s always nice traveling to other cities, but it’s usually rare to find cities that you could actually see yourself living in for a few years. London seems like such a liveable city that I would definitely want to try to live there at some point in my life, or even just visit over and over again.