On the 17, instead of drinking green beer and playing around all day, I got up early for a 6 am flight home back to St. Louis. It was a rough day, waking up at 3 to make it to the airport by 4, but in the end, it was definitely worth it. My dad, sister and brother picked me up from the airport, missing tooth and all. Then we went home where my grandparents and stepmom were waiting for me with an absolutely delicious italian meal. I've never had better lasagna in my life! After feeding myself for over two months and eating mainly garlic bread, eggs, and subway, this meal was a big treat. It was also really nice to see my family after not seeing them for such a long time. It's always a great feeling coming home to my family. When dinner was over, I went to my mom's house for a while and got to see her and play with my dogs, which is definitely one of my favorite things about being back in St. Louis.
The rest of my time home I spent either running errands, at the dentist (getting my tooth repaired!) or in a job interview. It was stressful and nerve wracking to say the least, but I always enjoy being home and being around family. On Monday, I was supposed to go back to Glasgow but, since there were delays on my flight to Chicago, I ended up completely missing my flight from Chicago to Amsterdam and had to reschedule all of my flights for the next day. It was very hectic, but I finally made it back to Glasgow on Tuesday morning just in time to meet my mom and sister.
On Tuesday, my mom, sister and I went shopping on Buchanan street after going to Morton's for a bagel. (So typical.) I got a lot of cute new things from my favorite stores, Top Shop and H&M. Then we walked around Merchant City some until it was time for dinner with the entire BC family at The Red Onion. I had never been to The Red Onion before, but found some excellent reviews on it on numerous Web sites, so I thought it would be a nice place to take everyone. It ended up being the absolute best meal I have had in my entire time in Glasgow. I had a fabulous piece of halibut that practically melted in my mouth with each bite. Then to top it all off, we each had an excellent dessert. Mine was a chocolate brownie that I couldn't help but devour. After dinner, my mom, sister and I were all just exhausted from traveling for the entire day, so we headed home for a good night's sleep.
I had to go to my last entrepreneurship class on Wednesday because it was revision for the final in May. It ended up being totally pointless because they had already told us the questions that we were going to need to consider for the exam but it was nice to go and see the engineering boys because I hadn't seen them in almost a week! While I was in class, mom and Claire went to explore the Kelvingrove Museum on their own. When class was over, the engineering boys and I met mom and Claire at Curlers, the oldest pub in Glasgow. None of us were very hungry, so we just enjoyed a pint and chatted for a while. Once we had finished our drinks, we went downtown again and enjoyed some more shopping. It was a disgusting day outside but we made the best of it. While dodging the rain and running under awning after awning, I ended up peeking into a little store I'd never seen before and noticed some gorgeous dresses that would be perfect for Claire for prom. After a little hesitancy, (there were some dresses with crazy feathers and far too much sequins...) Claire agreed to go in and it was here that we found her the most beautiful prom dress. The dress is a lavender color with intricate beading and multicolored stones on the neckline. It looked absolutely gorgeous on her and I cannot wait to see pictures of her in it!
That night, Jess invited the entire Glasgow family out for dinner to celebrate her 21st birthday at The Big Blue. It was a great meal and so fun to have everyone together one last time before spring break began. After dinner, we went back to Laura C's flat for some funfetti birthday cake, made possible by the 5 boxes of funfetti cake batter my mom sent me from the states. It tasted wonderful, especially after not enjoying the deliciousness of funfetti for many months now. Unfortunately I couldn't go out after to celebrate because I had to finish my final paper for my Scottish Culture class.
The next day, after turning in my paper and getting all packed, I met my mom and sister at S'mug for lunch and then we headed to the airport for our flights to London. The flight was short and completely uneventful. We took the underground to our beautiful hotel, the Mayfair, and got ready to go out to dinner at a French bistro, Cote. It was nice to have a really delicious dinner and just sit there with my mom and sister. The meal was definitely a successful start to a fabulous girls' weekend in London.
On Friday, we woke up early for our Mini Cooper tour around the city. Our tour guide picked us up in a classic red Mini and drove us around all of London providing us with the history of all of the big sites as well as some entertaining stories that you wouldn't normally find in the history books. It was also a really interesting ride because our tour guide and a few of his friends started the company (smallcarBIGCITY) by themselves and now it is in the top 5 things to do on my favorite travel Web site, TripAdvisor.com. After my entrepreneurship class, it was great to see how those concepts could be put into place in real life.
When we had finished with our smallcarBIGCITY tour, we walked around Oxford Street and looked around Selfridges, a huge department store with everything you could ever want. We had lunch at a cute mozzarella bar in Selfridges and then caught the underground to meet up with our next tour guide, who took us on a walking tour of London. We began with the Tower of London and spent a while there, listening to stories about people being beheaded and also getting to see the crown jewels, which were breathtaking. After the Tower of London, we saw Westminster Abbey and other sites around the city. At 5, our tour guide dropped us off at high tea at a gorgeous hotel. We enjoyed some fabulous sandwiches, sweets and cakes as well as some great pomegranate tea.
Monument to remember all of those who were beheaded in the past
Claire and me with a Beefeater at the Tower of London
Although we were almost dead after all the tea and biscuits we had been eating, we eventually left the tea room and made our way to the Savoy Theatre to see Legally Blonde the musical. The musical was great! Claire, mom and I laughed the majority of the time and truly enjoyed ourselves. It was a great night and by the end of the play we were all exhausted, so we headed home and passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
On Saturday, we didn't really have anything planned, which was really nice. We woke up and had a wonderful breakfast at the restaurant in our hotel and then made our way to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. After we watched that, we headed to Harrod's. Harrod's, although beautiful and extremely large, turned out to be quite stressful. Since it was a Saturday, the store was incredibly crowded and it was hard to move around everywhere. We ended up finding Claire an adorable shirt to wear to her after prom party, but after that, mom and I were both hungry and crabby, so things weren't as fun as they should have been. In the end, we all just wanted to leave Harrod's as soon as possible and get some food into our stomachs. We ate at an Italian restaurant right across the street from Harrod's and then we started walking around the area. We were getting ready to go back toward Oxford street when a torrential downpour began and we got stuck under an overhang. The rain wasn't subsiding, so we flagged down a cab and took it to the underground station where we needed to go. We got to visit London's Top Shop, but, just like Harrod's, that was overcrowded as well and became more stressful than it was enjoyable.
After our stressful shopping, we took a relaxing ride on the London Eye. It was incredible to see all of London from a little pod on the ferris wheel. It was just beautiful and something I would do a million times again.
On Saturday night, our last night in London, we ended the day with a dinner at Bumbles, a cute little restaurant on Buckingham Palace Road. It was an intimate restaurant with a few small rooms and excellent food. I had some potato dumplings with apples and poppy flowers (which are actually edible!) and it was fabulous. I also had an amazing dessert that was a banana flambé that had hot carmel poured over it to melt the chocolate. It was a definitely a big indulgence. We got back to the hotel and were completely drained from such a great weekend. I had to pack everything up because I had a super early flight in the morning to go visit Laura's flatmate, Alan, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for my second trip of spring break. I'll post about Belfast soon!