Big Shops in London

Hello and happy enhancement week to all of you!  In case you didn't know, this week at my University is "enhancement week" which is where you do not have class, but you might have to attend a workshop or two with your department.  This basically means for all the foreign study abroad students that you have a week off.  And what have I been doing with my week off so far you might ask?  Being sick (yuck!).  That is right people - my only week off from school and I've been stuck in my dorm.

I decided on Sunday that enough was enough and I needed to get out because it might make me feel better. In case your wondering - no, I felt horrible afterwards.  I decided to head to London and see a few of the big high end shops.

After eating lunch at one of the UK's only Chipotles (it isn't as good as in The States), I went to Harrods founded in 1834.  Harrods is what I would call a super luxury store.  It is beautiful though.  Many many tourists head to this store while in London just to check out everything that they can't afford.  The store takes up at least a full block and is in total seven floors.  Needless to say, I didn't explore all of them because I kept getting lost in the few areas that I did get to see.  I found myself at the Burberry section of the women's shop, which is one of my favorite high end brands to look at, and touched a scarf.  After touching a scarf I looked at the price tag and saw that it retailed for £279.00 ($446.49 at the current currency exchange rate). Needless to say, I sat it back down gently and walked away hoping no one saw that I touched it.  I also ran across beautiful ball gowns, furniture, produce, fragrance, and shoe heaven.  Shoe heaven is an entire floor dedicated to shoes so if you are in love with shoes, try window shopping at this place.  The building itself is elaborately decorated.  Many of the rooms have different feelings.  The picture above is from the room which holds most of the food.  There is also an area with Egyptian statues and others which are murals I can't even describe and at the bottom of the escalators there is a statue and fountain dedicated to Princess Diana. One of the parts that I didn't like about Harrods is that it was first overly crowded with tourists - and everyone knew it.  I would say that Harrods only has maybe one in every fifty people that are a customer of something that isn't a Harrods memorabilia.  

The next big store on the list was Liberty of London founded in 1875.  Liberty is much different to Harrods.  It is practically empty and is located in a very old building which is more 'English looking' in my mind.  It has stained glass windows and the inside is marvelously covered with wood.  Liberty's logo is a ship and thus there are some nautical elements such as the giant ship's sail that is in one of the cutouts that reaches up all five floors.  The building has a beautiful wooden staircase that certainly make you feel special as you walk up the flights.  One unique thing in comparison to Harrods is that in the clothing departments there were only one or two sizes for each garment and I can't tell you why since I wasn't looking for clothes.  There is also a stationary section, housewares, sewing and fabric, and gifts.  I prefer Liberty to Harrods because the overall feel wasn't that of a tourist attraction, sure there wasn't the expensive jewelry, but everything still had the price tag and the brand name to make it feel luxurious. 

Now to my favorite bit, Christmas!  If you know me you know that I love the winter, especially snow, and that I always look forward to decorating for the holidays.  This year, since I'm in England, I won't get the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving thus I've been thinking about Christmas and Christmas presents since mid-October.  Yes that long.  I felt notably giddy about the fact that both of these stores had Christmas sections.  In Harrods it was mostly just tourist ornaments of Big Ben and "Harrods 2014" but Liberty... on the place was breathtaking.  There were fairy lights draped across the ceiling like Christmas bunting, ornaments sectioned off by different colors and in every shape and kind possible.  This was the real deal.  They even had a section to the side of different gifts and sweeties.  Needless to say, I couldn't resist and I did end up getting an ornament here.  So if you need a bit of holiday cheer and you're in London from October on then I strongly suggest checking out Liberty.

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