Week Six in London!

This post is long overdue.

Day One

The social programme took us on a Thames tour. We floated around London for a bit before we went down the river to Greenwich.

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The Tower of London as viewed from the Thames.

I thought it was much further away than it turned out to be, as it was still in London (zone 3, to be exact). We got off the boat and walked up to the observatory, there was even a camera obscura there, which was so cool! #photographygeek

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Check out this view!

The rest of the attraction was rather boring, so Sydney and I made our way down to the town and grabbed dinner before wandering to a market that was closing for the night. At that disappointment, we decided to walk through the tunnel under the Thames. It was so cold down there!

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Under the Thames.

When we came out on the other side, we took the Tube to Little Venice. It was underwhelming, but I guess we only saw a small portion of the canal; it had started to down poor (for the first time since we had arrived) and we quickly hopped on a bus to watch the rain. We took the bus all the way back to campus, which was about a two-hour ride, but we got to see a lot of the city.

Day Two

I started the day by going to see Incredibles 2 with Syd, Caleb and Ashlyn, because if FINALLY released in England. I was so afraid that the movie wouldn’t do itself justice, but it turned out to be SO GOOD. After that, Caleb, Syd and I went out to the Mayfield Lavender Farms. It smelled absolutely amazing and seeing all of the pollinators happy made me happy. We spent a really long time there doing a photo shoot and exploring through the flowers. When we finally left, hours later, we were all craving Pizza Express. I ate an entire pizza. By. My. Self.

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This place was so beautiful.

Day Three

Caleb, Syd and I took the train out to Dover, on the English Channel. We hiked for about seven miles over to the cliffs and along them for a bit. The views were incredible and the castle there was so picturesque. After hiking, yelling at tourists, and eating some icecream, we settled down at the beach. I dove straight into the water and, other than the fact that it was salty, it was pretty much just like Lake Superior…cold. There were jellyfish, too. We were hungry after a few hours so we left the beach but I guess that everything in Dover closes at 4 on Sundays so we had to wait until we got back to London.

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Enjoying the view.

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Don’t let the sunshine fool you, the water was very cold!

Day Four

I gave a presentation in class that was worth 30% of my grade, I think I did pretty well on it. After that, I submitted some final papers for class. Ashlyn, Syd and I went to get high tea. It was so good! I had tea, cake, a scone with some of the best jam I’ve ever tasted, and a smoothie.

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My feast.

Day Five

I went to see the Changing of the Guard, and I saw more than I did the other time I attempted to see it, but it still wasn’t much. Then we went to a mac and cheese place that is Facebook famous. The mac was so good! I got the pesto/tomato flavor. Wonderful. After that we went to get watermelon ice cream, which was also Facebook famous. We ended the night by seeing Phantom of the Opera…I wasn’t a fan.

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Some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

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The icecream was more like sherbert than anything else. I’m pretty sure it was vegan because it’s made out of watermelon juice and lime juice. You can check out the ingredients on Google.

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Sitting in the nosebleeds.

Day Six

I did homework and then went out with Caleb to do a photoshoot. We went all over London. We started in the Spinny, walked along the Thames, went to Soho, the Sky Garden, St. Pauls, and across the river from the Tower of London. In Soho, we went to a vegan pub and I got to try tofish and chips. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because I usually don’t like tofu, but it was really good! The Sky Garden was awesome and the views were so incredible. Walking up to St. Paul’s, you couldn’t see it because there was a hedge along the street, when I finally entered the green, I was breathless. The building was GORGEOUS.

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Fish-less fish and chips. It was SO good.

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We saw Tower Bridge open while up in the Sky Garden. Apparently, it’s good luck to see the bridge raised.

Day Seven

We went to a ballpit club. It was smelly. I was imagining slides and a huge ballpit, but it was rather small.

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The colors of the ballpit club were really pretty, even though it smelled like B.O.

Day Eight

I packed up my things and finished watching Brooklyn 99. We went to Richmond Park, which was one of the vastest areas of land I had seen in England, other than the countryside. Then we had a potluck of all of our leftover food, so we wouldn’t waste any of it. There was a lot of frozen veggies. I said goodbye.

Day Nine

I woke at four in the morning, took the Tube to the airport and left England. Oddly enough, the first time I traveled alone during the whole trip was on my way back to the States.

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Goodbye, London.

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Week Five in London!

Day One

We went to Hampton Court with the social program. It was awesome. We walked all around the palace, saw the King’s apartment and the Queen’s apartment. We went through a maze and saw the magic garden. It was also sweltering hot.

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Check out this fireplace! It’s been used to cook the King’s food since Hampton Court became a palace. Look at the soot all the way up to the ceiling.

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What an average menu would look like for the King.

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This clock, in Clock Court, is based on the moon.

Day Two

Syd and I attempted to see the Changing of the Gaurd, but the city was so packed and it was so hot, that all we saw were the sweaty backs of heads.

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Can you see how many people were there?

After that failure, we tried to find the vegan market and also failed. The market was closed for Pride, which we ended up in the middle of. We sort of gave up after that. It was so hot that I was sitting in my kitchen (using the WiFi) and sweating. I did homework and watched Netflix for the rest of the day.

Day Three

This was one of the greatest days of the trip. The social program took us to Bath and Stonehenge in an AIR CONDITIONED coach! Sleeping and studying on that coach was such a nice time, I never wanted it to end. I wasn’t sure what to expect at Bath, but the museum was really cool. There was an audioguide that explained all of the artifacts, there were the spring and the bath themselves. I even got to try some of the magical healing water. It was so hot! 40 degrees Celcius…that’s about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Stonehenge was phenomenal. I was expecting it to be underwhelming, so seeing it bigger and grander than I imagined was awesome! If you ever have the chance to go there, I highly recommend it!

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The baths are lined with lead, so all of the water is extremely contaminated. Not only is it too dangerous to ingest, it is also too dangerous to even touch!

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Please, if you are ever able and love history and mysteries, go here!

Day Four

I started the morning booking tickets for the sky garden. My class had a Mrs. Dalloway excursion, where we followed the path Virginia Woolf laid out in the novel. After class, I went to the Barbican Museum to see a Dorothea Lange exhibit and see the famous Migrant Mother. A lot of Lange’s work was phenomenal and some of it was not very good at all. I ended the night by going to trivia night. We didn’t come in dead last, so it was a great time!

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We think this is the area where Mrs. Dalloway lived.

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We stopped at Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in London!

Day Five

I went to class and did some homework before trecking to Camden Market for a little bit and then going to a Georgian restaurant and trying the acharuli khachapuri, recommended by Sydney. Essentially, the meal is a bread boat filled with egg, cheese, and butter. It was incredible!

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If you can eat this, do it. If you can’t find something similar that is allergen friendly.

Day Six

The last excursion for class. We went to Highgate Cemetary and walked around looking at the graves of famous people. After class, I went to the Natural History Museum and the London Museum. I saw the Rosetta Stone, a life-like T-rex, and Queen Cleopatra. I tried bubble tea for the first (and last) time. Then a group of us sought out a place to watch the game (World Cup). Wednesday was the first and last time I really cared about soccer. England lost to Croatia, who I thought played a little bit dirty towards the end.

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The whale!

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The Queen.

Day Seven

After class, I spent four hours in the library writing my papers. Then I went to the gym. Then Caleb, Sydney and I booked tickets to Dover to see the sea, and tickets for Incredibles 2, because it’s FINALLY releasing over here!

Week Four in London!

Day One

The final class meeting for session one. We had a literary scavenger hunt throughout central London. We ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, luckily, we came in second place!

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From left to right: myself, Tyler, Megan, Ally, and Isabella. We were on a mission to win!

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We found St. Paul’s [Actor’s] Church

After the scavenger hunt, a group of us went with Dr. G to a pop-up exhibition of graphic designs that helped create the Harry Potter cinematic universe, it was really cool to see all of the little details that went into creating the films.

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Right around the corner from this little gallery is an all vegetarian/vegan menu pub. I will 100% be going there!

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This place had Hogwarts letters posted EVERYWHERE.

On the way to campus, we ended up at the National Gallery Museum!

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Monet.

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Van Gogh.

After returning to campus and doing my laundry, a group of us went out to find a pub showing England in the world cup and to celebrate for those who were only staying for the first session. Eventually, we ended up at the Toyshop, which we had gone to for the cocktail night. After the game, there was a live band that played until close.

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The squad.

 

Day Two

I slept in for the first time in what felt like months, then went to the library to work on editing some photography with Jeff. After that, Sydney, Caleb, Jeff and I hunted down Abbey Road and Baker Street.

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If you didn’t know, this is an actual road, that gets used. We were literally dodging buses and cars.

We took the bus back from central London during rush hour, it took forever and I think I fell asleep. The day ended with all of us plus Ally and Carter watching Back to the Future in my kitchen.

Day Three

I took another lazy day. I slept in, finished a movie and watched five episodes of Brooklyn 99. Said goodbye to some good friends. Hung out with some good friends; we fed the birds and narrowly missed being attacked by some swans and geese. Then, Sydney made dinner for all of us. I also finally beat level 47 of Mr. Bean, which I had been stuck on for over a month.

Day Four

Caleb, Sydney and I took Jeff out for a goodbye brunch.

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Check out this delicious vegetarian breakfast burrito.

Afterward, we dodge a crowded bus, walked through a park, found a weird Santa toy and ended up feeding the birds again. There is a duck that will eat out of your hand. Sydney named her Stacy.

Day Five

The first day of class for session two. I’m in a writing class titled Hidden London. We explore the city and works about it and then write about London. This class has a bit more demanding workload than the last one, but it still seems fun. Tyler and I grabbed a table in the library after class to work on final papers from the other class and homework from our new class. I said goodbye to Jeff. Then a group of us went to see Oceans 8. It was okay.

Day Six

Had class and spent some time in the library. Then went on a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour with the social programme. This one was a bit better than the one that I went on in my session one class.

Day Seven

Happy fourth to all of my friends and family across the pond! My class went on an excursion to the White Chapel area of London. If you’re ever in the city and want to look at some awesome street art, check out Brick Lane.

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Save the bees.

We also visited the White Chapel Gallery, which was doing an exhibit on Dead Negatives of the Great Depression, focusing on photographers who shot for the FSA.

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The hole in the photos are from a hole-punch because the photos were deemed unsuitable/unusable for the propaganda.

After class, I tried some charity shops in search of clothes that won’t cook me in this odd heat wave (I packed for chilly, rainy London, not 80s-90s, sunny and droughty). I also went grocery shopping, as I had no food for breakfast. Pray for rain.

Week Two in London!

Day One

The class I’m in is called Magic, Murder, and Mystery in London Literature. We had an excursion (field trip), where we went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour. Only two of the original sites still exist, and the public can only access one of them.

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Standing in the spot where Cathrine Eddowes was cruelly slain.

The whole experience was rather eerie because I guess I never really thought of the killings as just that…killings. I’ve always been fascinated by the legend and mystery and standing where those women died really made it real to me.

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Even the street art honors the women who were killed by the White Castle Murderer. I wonder if we would even care if the mystery had been solved?

After the walking tour, we ended up in a market where I got vegan dumplings for lunch and made a few little purchases. Then a group of five of us went in search of a charity shop. We found one and I got a dress, a bathing suit (with the original tags still on!) and flamingo patterned shorts.

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Honestly, these were some of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

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The signs around here are amazingly funny.

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Little stands like this are all over the place!

Day Two

There was a tour of Windsor, which is where the royal wedding was and where the Queen lives most of the time.

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Here’s a quick look at the castle.

Honestly, I was not impressed. The castle was beautiful but the lines were long and what little we were able to see of the castle was so blatantly staged for tourists that it hurt. I almost wish it had been similar to a museum. We were not allowed to use our cameras/take photos while inside, otherwise, I would have included some photos for you all.

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Check out this view!

I tried gelato for the first time and I’m not sure if I did or didn’t like it, honestly. A group of us went out on the town for the night.

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Trying gelato for the first time! Chocolate fudge and oreo.

Day Three

The squad (Sydney, Jeff & Caleb) and I went into Hammersmith, which is about a ten-minute bus ride away. We originally went there to go grocery shopping, but that didn’t really happen.

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We walked down King Street, which was home to approximately 8 different charity shops, I was able to get some cute dresses and shirts for a good price. Then I said, “I could get a tattoo today” and Jeff said he would get one with me, so we walked to Hammersmith Tattoo and asked if they could fit us in. They could. So I got a tattoo. By the time we were done getting tattoos, the grocery store had closed, so we did have to go to Asda (Walmart).

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Before!

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After! It means ‘God is greater than the ups and the downs.’

Day Four

We toured Oxford, it took two buses, one incredibly crowded train, and three hours to get there.

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One of the first buildings designed by legendary architect Christopher Wren. This is where Oxford held graduations for years.

This tour was much better than the Windsor one. The university and the town are so intertwined with each other that you think you’re on college grounds and turn a corner onto a commercial street.

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The buildings were so beautiful. It was crazy to realize that some of them are older than the USA.

I was able to see a few locations from the filming of the Harry Potter movies, specifically the staircase and the Great Hall from the first movie when they go to get sorted into their houses.

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On the set of Harry Potter. (Not really, but that would be cool.)

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The Great Hall! Students are actually required to eat here the first two years of their college career.

Day Five

It was a rather laid back day. Class resumed, and after class, I went to the gym. Then I watched Netflix and did homework.

Day Six

For class, we went on a Harry Potter Walking Tour. This involved walking around London and going to the few locations in the city where they filmed outside of the studio.

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The bank that inspired Gringotts.

We saw the first location of the Leaky Cauldron, as well as another location of it and a flat that Harry stayed in.

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The Leaky Cauldron, from the Philosopher’s Stone.

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The Leaky Cauldron and Harry’s flat from the Order of the Pheniox.

After class, a group of us made our way to Platform 9 3/4 to get the famous picture. We waited in line for an hour 

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Can you tell which house I’m in?

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It’s Gryffindor.

Then we went to McDonald’s for lunch and dipped into the British Museum before coming back to campus. While at King’s Cross, I ran into my friend, Jenny, who I’ve seen more in London than I have since we graduated high school. What a small world.

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The shelves were probably four stories high!

Day Seven

We all went out to the Toy Shop for a cocktail night and happy hour. It was fun hanging out with everyone. Otherwise, the day was rather relaxed and homework filled.

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Did someone say ‘two for one’? More like two for fun!

Week One in London!

Day One

I arrived at the airport earlier in the day and was brought back to campus with a few other students. On my first day here, I went to the local shop to purchase an Oyster Card, which is how one pays for the public transit system. I then learned how to use the bus and get to Asda (the British version of Walmart) to purchase groceries. The rest of the day was spent unpacking and exploring campus before going to the Welcome Dinner.

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Flying somewhere over Canada.

 

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The campus library! Isn’t it gorgeous?

Day Two

I went through orientation and registration. I now have an official Roehampton Student ID! I went on an official campus tour as well, I’ve got about half of campus down, the other half is still kind of confusing to me. I met up with some people and we ended up back at Asda getting groceries we had forgotten previously. When we got back to school we wandered around campus and explored the library before hanging out and playing card games well into the night. The people that I went to Asda with this day are now people I hang out with every day and are very much lifelong friends.

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The view of central London from the top floor of the library.

Day Three

We spent several hours in Central London. I learned how to get to the local train station, which is about a ten-minute walk from campus. I saw the London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Big Ben (which is under construction, of course) and the London Eye, as well as countless other monuments and old buildings. I am slowly becoming an expert in public transportation!

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Outside the Tower of London, which I will be touring in week two!

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After walking around for hours, we found a little pizza place. Yes, I ate this entire thing.

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Other than Asda, this was the first time we hung out as a group. Going from left to right, I introduce you to Jeff, Caleb, myself, and Sydney. We didn’t know it then, but we’re all pretty much connected at the hip now! It feels like I’ve known these people for much longer than just a week.

Day Four

I ended up joining a group and we went to Hyde Park. While there, we rented rowboats and rowed around a man-made lake for an hour. When we were done, we walked around to find a place for lunch. The restaurant that we stopped at had spinach, chickpea, and fettuccini “meat” balls and spaghetti, which I loved! We took the tube (subway) back to our area of London. I ended the night with a game of frisbee with a bunch of cool people! I was worried coming in that I would be lonely since I didn’t know anybody else who was studying at my school. Honestly, though, making friends has been pretty easy! A lot of people who came here also came alone, so we’re all just trying to get to know each other. Most everybody is kind, generous and genuine.

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The view of the lake and a really weird looking building.

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My veggie “meat” balls. They were honestly some of the best things I have ever eaten.

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Experiencing the Tube for the first time!

Day Five

The first day of class. I’m in a literature course that focuses on how London has been depicted through books, specifically the Magic, Murder, and Mystery of the city. Class runs from 9:00-13:00, Monday through Thursday. It seems long but we get two breaks to stretch, get snacks, and use the loo. My professor is originally from California and has been in London for just over a decade. She’s very nice. After class, a group of us went looking for a charity shop (thrift store). The original one we wanted is no longer in business and the other one we found, the owner was out for lunch. I stopped at a post office to buy stamps and was blown away by how expensive they are. Don’t ask, I don’t want to talk about it. I bought a gym membership since I’m here for so long!

Day Six

Getting up for class is rough, and not having caffeine in the morning is worse. I had to get a coffee on our first break because I kept nodding off. Class went by really fast and afterward, I quickly worked on a presentation. Then I went to the gym. Then I got ready for the Hidden Pubs of London Tour. It wasn’t as fantastic as I wanted to be, but I did see a lot of beautiful old buildings and hear some crazy ghost stories, including one that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Nearly Headless Nick. We ended the tour at a gin palace and after I ordered my gin and tonic I realized that I didn’t like gin. I drank it though. On our way back to the station, we stopped at McDonald’s. The chips (fries) here are the same, and they have veggie burgers. The veggie burger I got was NOT good. I’ll try the spicy one next time, but if that one isn’t good I will just stick to the chips.

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While we were waiting for our tour guide, I found a telephone booth!

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This church is haunted by an evil French queen. It was also destroyed in the Blitz and now acts as a memorial to the lives and the old London that the war destroyed.

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Acting like I liked the gin and tonic I ordered.

Day Seven

I presented in class about Jack the Ripper and we watched a movie about him. After class I went to a quaint little event that the Study Abroad Team at my university put on for us; tea and cake. The cake I tried was vegan chocolate and it was so good! The tea was also very good, except that it was hot and humid and I was drinking a warm beverage. While at the social, a group of us decided to spontaneously go into the city and ride the London Eye. I’ve really taken to doing things spontaneously, as I used to do before my life required organization. We ordered our tickets online with a student discount. I was expecting the cost to be £50 but it was actually only £15, which was a relief, though I probably would have done it anyways. The Eye was pretty cool but not as great as I expected it to be, given how talked up the attraction is. We roamed around the city afterward to find a doughnut shop in Soho. It was the most expensive doughnut I’ve ever had, but it was incredibly rich and the frosting was amazing.

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If you look closely, you can see Big Ben getting worked on in the background. Fun fact: Big Ben is actually the name of the bell. The structure is actually named Elizabeth Tower.

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Check out this view!

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A peanut butter, chocolate doughnut! The store also had doughnuts the size of my head.

 

 

That’s it for week one! Week two will be coming soon, and with some even crazier stories than week one.

ABOUT

20180714_163313I’m Susan Arnold and I’m a twenty-something Michigan based photographer.

I started doing photography seriously in 2013 but began taking photos in 2006 when I got my first camera as a birthday present. I graduated from Northern Michigan University with a bachelor’s in science in photography in May 2019.

I focus on multiple types of photography, primarily portraiture and landscape. If you book with me, I offer competitive prices for on-location shoots (I will travel if you need me to).

I hope you enjoy scrolling through my views of the world.

 

You can find me on social media here:

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