Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Monday, September 3, 2012


Ileana and I arrived in Heathrow Airport nonchalantly. We walked (or skipped) ahead of our entire plane, then lost our lead entirely by stopping at the toilets. 

We carried our bag of bagels throughout the baggage claim area, very happy that we didn't have to stop. As we walked through the store that comes just before exiting into the wide world that is England, I looked around at the perfumes. Why would anyone shop for perfume just before exiting the airport? It doesn't make sense to me. 

As the double doors swung open, the first thing we see is Ioan jumping up and down like a Crowned Sifaca lemur, from side to side to side.

He looked much older than he had ten days ago...

He's acting like a little kid, putting on a teenage girl’s voice to commemorate the occasion. "So, like, did you miss me?"

We did, obviously. Ileana and I talk incessantly about camp over the next few hours, as we take the 'tube' from Heathrow to our hostel… which is huge.
Best friends catching up
The thing I like about the rooms here is the fact that they each have a mini sink in them. Epic.

We eat bagels, the bagels we bought in Chicago's whatever-airport.

And take a nap.

When that's finished, (I've never fallen asleep in the middle of the day so quickly), we go to the British Library.

The absolutely best part was reading Jane Austen's History of England. It is hilarious. She wrote it when she was thirteen, which I think is amazing, and, best of all, it was rather short.

I have to say that most of the nights in London I stayed up late. It's not because I necessarily wanted to, but because I had to. One reason was because I wasn't about to lose Camp NaNoWriMo. The other was that I wasn't about to lose the Rainbow Challenge because of one measly little book.

So I stayed up till one, two, three… writing and fulfilling my daily quota of book percentage or writing.

Amazingly enough, I managed to finish the 450 page book and write 19,000 words, despite the fact that I had full-day sightseeing.

One of the interesting things I found from this… 'experiment,' is the fact that my best writing is done in a dark room when no one else is awake.

Which leads to the fact that I'm going to have a secret study some day. *Nod*


The next day, Mom, Dad, and I went to the airport to pick up the grandparents, who flew in from Bucharest to see us and also re-see London.

Grandpa smiled the WHOLE TIME he was in London
We stayed in their hotel room a while, just talking, before heading off toward Westminster Abbey.

It was quite interesting, especially since very few of the people working there knew where Edward the Confessor's stained glass window was located.

We all found it together, thus learning a little bit all together.

The next day, waking up early, we went to Buckingham Palace with the grandparents. Trying to figure out how to get from the ticket office to the mews or the state rooms was crazy… especially since we were supposed to go see the Leonardo da Vinci Anatomy exhibit first, since that was a timed ticket.

Lovely, amazing… cool… but I wanted to get to the changing of the guard, which, according to me, was the only reason we came to Buckingham Palace.

So I scooted Ileana out of the exhibit, explaining to her that after the first part of the exhibit, she could look at any modern anatomy book and find out exactly what da Vinci drew. With the exception of perhaps reproduction stuff. But otherwise, quite accurate was he.

I dragged them all out, walked to the place where we could see the changing of the guard from, and we stood there to watch. Very nice. I liked (loved) the way they moved so well in sync, and I thought it was very nice (if a bit boring when they were just walking around without a marching band). We left a bit early, to get into the State Rooms (we'd already gone to the mews). It was, amazing.

And quite cool at one point to see all the diamonds from the Diamond Jubilee exhibition.

Some of us didn't want to leave.
In the afternoon, we went to the British Museum, where, thanks to Rick Steves, we breezed through the entire museum in a minuscule amount of time. Well, not the entire museum. Just the 'Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek' bit of it. Since they are everywhere, and we've learned so much about them.

The next morning, we headed up to the Tower of London, which is quite nice if you don't consider the fact that usually, there are huge crowds there. Without even looking at the videos put up on the wall, the seven of us went straight to the Crown Jewels, which we had all to ourselves for ten minutes. We went over the moving walkways three times each, then browsed through the rest of the gold and silver settings to see other pretty stones/cherubs, etc.

Absolutely stunning, honestly, but I wouldn't ever be able to live in a palace and be happy. I'm too much of a minimalist, and all the forks would annoy me. I wouldn't have any problem eating with them, but the excess would just… annoy me.

After the Crown Jewels was a series of exhibits on medieval life. I think that Henry III was quite handsome. I won't go into any other details, because they'd just bog this post down, since I didn't find them all that interesting.

Right after the Tower of London we went to St. Paul's Cathedral. I asked for the audio guide in English, but since it was an iPod touch, I changed it to French after about five minutes. Though I only understood about 50% of what the lady was telling me, and I think I fell asleep (but I would have done that propped up against a wall, not to mention on a comfortable chair with back support). Thankfully I managed to practice some French!

We climbed up 534 steps to reach the top. 

I didn't mind going up the cement floors that led up to the Whispering Gallery (I think that's what it was called). But when we got to the metal stairs… I don't like heights. And the entire thing was one way. *Shudder*

It was terrible.

Coming down, on the other hand, was quite nice on the metal stairs. They're straight, you see, and narrow enough that I could hold on with both hands whenever I wanted. The cement stairs were a pain in that respect, since I can't differentiate between depth if there's not also a slight color difference between step 1 and step 2. There wasn't much of a color difference, so I was constantly squinting to make sure I wouldn't slip down the entire staircase. (Quite funny, but perhaps not the best thing to happen in a Cathedral).

We had expensive pizza, courtesy of the grandparents, and then all of us went home.

September 2nd. We go to the National Gallery, split up into 4 groups (the girls separately, the grandparents together, Dad and Ioan in their own group). It's lovely, going wherever I want and not having to worry about anything except the fact that at 3pm I'm at the exit.

I go really quickly through everything, despite the fact that it's all beautiful, because my eyes hurt and I feel nauseated from the glasses.

Honestly, why did I need glasses in the first place??

We meet up at 3pm and go outside into Trafalgar Square to get ourselves something to eat. After eating, Ioan and I go up to the ping pong tables to play. 

I think I want a ping pong table in my house. I have no idea where it's going to fit, but it's going to be there.

Yes. So that was a very quick summary of London.

My favorite part? 

Playing ping pong.

We're all kids at heart.

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