Friday, July 15, 2011

Mind the Gap, Please

Last night, my family and I returned to Madrid from an awesome two and a half day getaway in London! Like Valencia, we didn’t have nearly enough time to explore all of the city, but we were able to see all of the typical tourist must sees such as Big Ben, the Westminster Bridge, the changing of the guard ceremony, ect…

We toured the city on the standard Red Double-Decker bus! One of the nicest aspects was having a humorous Englishmen explain the history behind the buildings and places in the city while adding British humor in at the same time.

Before the trip, I did not know that London was famous for its theaters – it’s considered to be top tier, on par with the likes of New York’s Broadway. The second night, my dad, sister, and I too advantage and saw a three-hour musical devoted to Michael Jackson, entitled “Thriller – Live”. The show featured the King of Pop’s greatest hits, all of the dancers, singers, and musicians were incredible, it was certainly one of the highlights of the trip!

Another highlight for me was running in Hyde Park, London’s biggest park. Not only was it nice to swap the never ending, 90-degree minimum weather of Madrid for a crisp 55 degrees, but it was a great way to see more of London on foot. I underestimated the chilliness of London, I didn’t pack any pants, and it got so cold on the first night that the next morning I bought a second jacket. In reference to the title of this post, we used the city’s underground or subway, more commonly known as the tube to travel from the Hotel to downtown. Whenever a train would arrive, the phrase “Mind the Gap” would be pronounced in a perfect British accent before the doors would open – one of the many British English phrases I learned throughout the trip. A few things I took away from this trip:

1.    The U.S. Dollar Sucks - London was very expensive, especially for Americans. Before I came here, I already thought Madrid was expensive, but England was much worse. The two U.S. Dollars is currently equivalent to about one pound. This, along with switching money at an increased exchange rate really hurt! Even a man in one of the stores told us he felt really bad for Americans who visited here because everything is so pricey.
2.    I’ve assimilated into Spanish society more than I thought. Communication certainly was not a problem on this short trip, but several times I found my self-asking for directions in Spanish, it didn’t even cross my mind. It’s become second nature to me now, I’m surprised on how well I’ve adapted to the language. My sister has also told me that my “American” accent is slightly different now. Interesting.
3.    The weather sucks! We experienced typical England weather – cloudy and overcast. But 50 degree days in the middle of July? I thought Minnesota had it cold, I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like in Britain in the winter.

4.   London is hosting the Olympics next summer. You could feel in the air, the excitement is already building. There was a countdown clock in Trafalgar Square.

Now I’ve got four more days in Madrid, then it’s home sweet home.

In Christ,


After "Thriller Live"

The Westminster Bridge

2012 is coming soon!

Typical Red Telephone Booths

The World's Largest Ship in a Botle

Big Ben

Changing of the Royal Guards

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