I think I understand the view that many people hold... England is part of Europe, but it really isn't. To be safe, it isn't. Paris is the place all Americans dream to go; a land of romance, beauty, fashion, great food, great wine, the list goes on (to be sure, Paris is great, but I realize our expectations are set a tad too high in the New World). London is it's antithesis. Let me count the ways:
1. Romance: Everyone in Paris is "en couple," for real, I made it a point to ask my new "conversation partner" actually; a beautiful French girl around my age who speaks beautiful French and speaks English with such a cute, thick accent I can't tell which language she's conversing in sometimes... but its ok, because at least she can understand my English, where as I have to have her repeat everything 3 times, once when she speaks French, again when she speaks it more sloooowly, and again in English with that cute French accent. Yea, go me. Anyway, in England I saw two, count it TWO couples kissing in 4 days. In 4 days in Paris, I saw more kissing couples than I may have (in real life and on screen) in my entire life. Also, when sweet nothings are not being passed around in French, it really takes the romance out of any situation now...
2. Beauty: While I was shocked at the amount of attractive people in London, it still comes to nothing when compared with the French. I just don't understand how they get like that. The Londoners on the other hand were not your stereotypical bad-toothed walking messes we sometimes make them out to be, although it should be said that the majority of attractive city-dwellers in London seemed to have a variety of ethnic flare to them, making me think that the beauty came from their Indian, Arab, Italian, or Asian side.
YES! Telephone Booths... here I come Ministry of Magic!
3. Fashion: I always felt overdressed in London, where as in Paris, I feel that when I have a hair out of place I will be locked up and jailed for the rest of my life because I wasn't able to conform perfectly to the immaculate fashion of those around me. This difference was felt with the same outfit in the two locales.
4. Great food: Again, the food in London wasn't as terrible as British food is made out to be, but let it be know that the food I enjoyed was not British, it was of some varying culture that just happened to be COOKED in the city of London.
Either way, the people of London are absolutely the kindest people I have met in my life, so it makes up for everything ten times over. Oh, and speaking English again for 4 days was sooooo nice.
Changing of the Guard, marching toward the Palace
Ok, now for what I actual DID while there.... TOURIST!!! We saw everything, and I mean every monument, church, museum, street, etc. that is worth seeing. Parliament, Big Bend, the British Museum, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tate Modern, The Globe Theatre, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Changing of the Guard, St. James Park, Abbey Road, Herod's (far more amazing than Les Galleries Lafayette in Paris), and (most importantly) PLATFORM 9 and 3/4!!!!
MY LIFE IS NOW FULFILLED!!!
I learned a lot of interesting facts from my hostel roommies (who happened to be from Australia, one specifically from Tazmania! Hey Tamara!) (Oh yea, that place really exists! I saw pics) For example, the weekend we were there happened to be the weekend of Waitangi, or the Kiwi's Independence Day (Kiwis are from New Zealand in case that isn't common knowledge). Now I'm not sure what Waitangi day is like in New Zealand, but in London there is a huge celebration where everyone gets drunk and dresses up as sheep or gets all muddy and takes off their shirt, or dresses up as any other number of animals, god only knows and rages around London... and that's just what they did.
It was interesting to say the least, especially to note the stark difference between Paris and London. Oh.... the French.
(Oh.. p.s. Those red, double-decker buses really are EVERYWHERE)
I must add (thanks to Jen's comment) that the accent thing was amazing, I felt like I should have been riding a broomstick next to Harry Potter or having tea with Hugh Grant. Lovely!