Our first week in London, Caitlin fell in love. She was in love as soon as her eyes first alighted upon William the Bartender who was a struggling musician with a dog and spent his Saturday mornings volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Actually, we didn’t know his name or anything else about him since Caitlin could barely form a sentence around him, let alone hold a conversation. But for our last night in London, we were adamant that she at least learn his real name.
On our last day, we went to class until 2 o’clock then we did last-minute souvenir shopping. As we walked back to our flat with trinkets in hand, we planned how to spend our last hours in London.
Our final strategy: sample the World Cup of Crisps, dine with the group, tube over to the Salisbury (William’s Pub), dance in the Spanish Club, walk to Parliament, slurp milkshakes at Tinsel Town, pack our flats and get on the bus for the airport.
Notice sleeping didn’t make the schedule.
After stuffing ourselves with crisps and eating steak for dinner, we headed to the Salisbury, all the while prepping Caitlin on her last meeting with the bartender. I think we embarrassed her. Having eight pairs of eyes “subtly” watch while you order a drink is kind of unnerving. Add in your “soul mate” and you have an immediate awkward situation.
While Caitlin managed to gasp out a few words and learn the bartender’s real name (Henry) the rest of us were already sentimental about our last pub experience. When we drained the last drop from our pints and finally dragged Caitlin away, we headed toward the Spanish Club. Melissa managed to knock the cover charge down to £3 and we spent the next two hours dancing to a mix of Spanish, British and American hits.
Around 1:40 a.m., Amanda and I rounded up the girls and then ten of us walked down to the Thames to say farewell to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. We asked some people to take one last group shot of us in London.
At this point, it was about 2:30 a.m. and my feet were dying. Half the group went back to the flats with me while the other half went to say goodbye to one of our favorite discoveries: nutella milkshakes.
Somehow I managed to throw all my belongings in a suitcase and before I knew it, it was 5:15 a.m. and time to board the bus to the airport.
I crunched up my hoodie, leaned my head on the window and begged the bus to,“Please talk quietly.”
And only then, after 24 hours of sentimental goodbyes, did I finally get some sleep.