And so the time comes to go home. Boy oh boy am I ready!!!!! My group can say with confidence that we hit the wall as soon as we got to London. The English speaking and Americanesque feel to London had us all yearning for home and our increasing exhaustion had us hitting the wall and dragging our feet earlier and earlier each day. Thankfully, Leighton was here with me to keep the energy alive (or at least partially functioning) and we were able to see and do London as best we could! On the 7th, we arrived in London early evening and simply cooked dinner in our apartment after checking in. We greeted Saturday with a visit to the Tower of London where I picked out my future engagement crown (so much better than a ring, wouldn’t you agree?) and explored the plethora of towers and their history. From there, Leighton and I grabbed lunch and got on the hop on hop off bus to soak in as much of London as we could. We got through about half of the route before getting off and making our way to Harrod’s where we made the mistake of finding the Godiva cafe. After drinking a chocolate shake way more expensive than should be legal, we waddled around a fraction of the department store and then spent about 15 minutes figuring out how to exit. Luckily, we made it out with only the purchase of our Godiva shakes and an apron for Leighton. We admired Hard Rock from the outside on our way to dinner at The Shakespeare pub near Buckingham Palace. Buckingham was our first stop Sunday morning to see the changing of the guards. That was QUITE the experience! We got there a little over an hour early and wormed our way to the front of a gate. While I would have loved to go inside the palace or even have been able to see the changing of the guards what with my short stature and passive aggressive nature, alas there was just no winning. After some debacle and strife, selfie stick came to the rescue! I strapped in my trusty iPhone, extended the selfie stick, and stuck it right through the bars of the gate, capturing the majority of the ceremony perfectly! Shoutout to Piper for entrusting me with the care of her selfie stick this last week! I admit with little shame that Buckingham Palace revealed me as the true tourist that I am, but I captured some moments that I’ll cherish for a lifetime! After a quick lunch, Leighton and I finished our hop on hop off tour and took a river cruise down to the London Eye. Checking things off the bucket list, we rode the Eye (the view is absolutely gorgeous, not quite worth the price, still glad we did it). We then walked across Westminster Bridge and attended the Sunday night service at Westminster Abbey. There’s nothing quite like worshipping with people from all over the world in such a reverent, beautifully architected cathedral. Though I did not know many of the songs, the lesson was about Jesus calming the storm and relating the storm to the different situations that come into our lives today. The closing hymn was to the same tune as Be Thou My Vision. It was a magnificent experience to worship at Westminster with my friends and so many others! After church, we strolled down to Piccadilly Circus and ate at Bubba Gump before walking around the square. Monday rolled around and Leighton and I started the day off by touring Shakespeare’s Globe. Being a theater buff, I absolutely loved it! Great way to start off our last full day! Next on the agenda was the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian mummy exhibits were my favorite, but by that point, it was crowded and I was having to consciously instruct my feet to move, so I didn’t last too long in there. Leighton and I capped off the day with high tea at a precious little store called Tea and Tattle. High tea is no joke! We each got a full pot of tea, a whole sandwich, a huge scone, and a slice of cake. We walked away with leftovers in our purses and tea-full tummy aches. Safe to say we went back to our apartment and napped before primping up and packing. Luggage in tow, we made our way to the Wicked theater and enjoyed what might be the best performance of a play I have seen to date. Tears were shed multiple times as we were both absolutely in awe of the talent that graced the stage. After the show, we made our way to the tube, out to Heathrow, and to a hotel by the airport to hunker down for a few hours of sleep before today’s travels home. Cheaper to taxi together, we got to the airport around 8 and I sent Leighton off to her early flight before settling into a chair in a cafe to await my midafternoon flight. I am beside myself with excitement to come home today, and I bring with me a full heart and a full backpack. This summer has been so much more than I ever hoped or expected and I cannot wait to be reunited with everyone back home and swap stories from the past 3 months. Viva HUF and buon viaggio! See you soon!