Okay okay, I know it's January. But 2015 went by so quickly, I can't even believe it. I feel like I just arrived in London for the first time with my one suitcase, expecting to only stay four months. Now here I am, a year and a half later, with probably 5-7 suitcases filled with crap I've somehow accumulated since I moved here.
Besides the fact that I'm starting 2016 with an almost completely empty wallet (thanks Jesus for making everyone spend a crapton on your birthday!), I'm not letting that stop me from planning out my adventures for 2016. Which means looking ahead toward the summer!?
The Royal Ascot was mentioned in a few of my previous posts, but I never dove deep into why this event is at the top of my 2015 adventures, and I'll definitely be attending in 2016. Here's why.
The Ascot is a racetrack in Ascot, Berkshire, England where thoroughbred racing takes place throughout the summer/even winter (??) AKA a chance to get rip-roaring drunk with your British amigos and wear funny hats somewhat reminiscent of Princess Eugine (what a horrific name) at the Royal Wedding circa 2011. And how else do you make light of being surrounded by a pretty pretentious crowd other than drinking your weight in Pimm's?
Last year, I attended the Peasant Ascot (TM, (C)) aka not the Royal one, because I'm poor and needed money to spend on my boingy hat and 26 pound pitchers of booze. Still just as fun, I imagine, or arguably maybe even more fun because I got to see Rick Astley perform. Yep he's still alive. No he only has the one song. Yes I spent the following 3 months trying to bring back the short lived internet phenomenon of 'RickRolling." Don't think Prince Harry or Queen Elizabeth (aka Big Liz) were at this Peasant Ascot, probably because they're slightly above it, but that didn't make me feel any less royal. (ALERT: PDA PHOTO BELOW)
The Ascot is just a short train ride away from London, and easily accessible through Waterloo station. The day starts early, so prepare your livers / lipsticks ahead of time. But it goes quickly, as the races are brief, and you spend most of the interim time placing new bets and making runs to the bar. Do not be fooled. On the Ascot website they tell you that you are not allowed to bring more than one bottle of champagne per 4 people. There were four of us, we brought one bottle of champagne, and they 100% did not regulate that rule. So we ended up spending a fortune that day (despite that I made BANK on one completely random bet, I pretty much broke even).
After the Peasant Ascot, there's a large outdoor concert, where as I mentioned, the world renowned Grammy winning (?) recording artist aka 18 year old one-hit-wonder circa 1986 (not factual) Rick Astley, and some other people that my boyfriend had heard of but I hadn't. But at that point, you just want to take off your shoes and hat and dance on the grass with your friends.
The closest thing I can compare it to is tailgating a football game. It's not really the same, but in theory, you get dressed up, drink a lot, watch sports (maybe) (go sports!), and then either go out afterwards, or spend your evening passed out in the grass.
The truth about this event though, is that I've never felt so actually British in my life!!!! Something about those hats man. But really, so far, the Ascot has been one of my favorite English memories since I've moved here. Not only is it a great day out, but it's an excuse to get dressed up with your friends, dance, spend the day in the sun, and blow all your money on some dumb horses (and cry when they fall and get hurt).
Really recommend The Ascot to anyone visiting London this summer, or living in England! I'll be sure to see you there ;)