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 Three in London!

Day One

It was a typical London day, rather chilly. I had caught a cold and this was the first day it hit me. After class, a small group of us went to the Tate. I ran into Jenny again, which was so funny. We were there for an hour and a half before it closed and we were only able to get through one floor. I saw a Picasso and quite a few Warhol’s with my own eyes.

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Picasso

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Warhol. I was so excited to see this because I had studied it in one of my classes last semester!

Day Two

The social program took us to the Tower of London. We walked around and saw some staged kingly rooms (surprisingly, decor from the 13th century reminds me heavily of That 70s Show).

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The bridge behind me is often referred to as the London Bridge, but it’s actually the Tower Bridge.

We were able to see the crowned jewels. There was a diamond the size of my palm! We saw many other crowns and precious jewels and swords and batons as well. After the crown jewels, we saw some Royal Guards. I felt bad, gawking at them like they weren’t even human. Some kids were miss behaving and making fun of the guards and climbing on the fence and the guards screamed “Get off the fence!” and it was the only sounds they made. I think the kids peed themselves.

Sydney and I had to leave before we were able to see the torture chambers (😢) so we could make it to our train to Paris (😀) on time. The trip to Paris, via bullet train, took only 2.5 hours. We went with a group of ten, which eventually split to a group of six and a group of four. The hostel we were staying in was a five-minute walk from the train station. We could see Notre Dame and the Effiel Tower from our room!

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The view from our hostel window! Notre Dame is on the right and the Effiel Tower is in the middle.

Day Three

We did almost all of Paris.

In.

One.

Day.

I don’t think my feet have ever been so sore. I started the day at the hostel desk, purchasing a ticket for the Catacombs. The catacombs took a while to get through, due to the line and the stairs. The staircases up and down were spiral and there was so many of them that I actually got dizzy each way. Walking to the bones required walking through ancient passageways; they were constructed so long ago that I actually felt tall in them. There was a room that was full of informational posters, and then you walked out the door and…bones. Skulls staring at you from all over. The air actually got heavier. It made me think of how many people have lived on this planet before me, and how many of them will never be remembered.

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Can you smile while getting your photo taken surrounded by a bunch of skeletons?

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This is only a small portion of the catacombs. There are 6 million bodies in there.

After the catacombs, my little group hopped on the train (London public transit is much better than Paris, I’ll have you know) and took the two stops to Notre Dame. It is right next to the Seine. The building is massive and incredibly beautiful; it baffles my mind how something so intricate could have been built by hand. The inside was just as, if not more, beautiful than the outside because you could clearly see the stain glass windows. There has been a building on that site since the eleven hundreds.

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One of the giant stained glass windows of Notre Dame.

After Notre Dame, we grabbed lunch at a little cafe. Then we decided to walk the twenty minutes to le Louvre. Do to having an appointment at the Effiel Tower, we were only able to be in La Musee du Louvre long enough to see the Mona Lisa. Honestly, she was not as impressive as she could have been, but that might have just been the mob around her.

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I managed to get to the front of the mob to grab this photograph.

When we finally figured out how to get out of the Louvre, we decided to walk to the Tower…45 minutes away. We high-tailed it across town, probably clocking 15 miles of walking by the end of the day. Our tour group of the tower met at 5:30 (we ended up leaving the tower at 9:30, four hours later…the lines were really long!). We climbed 700 stairs to check out the first two platforms. The first platform had a glass floor, which was awesome to look through! From the second platform, we were able to take an elevator to the top. Being at the top was amazing! We were able to take an elevator all the way down, praise the lord. When we finally left the tower, we grabbed dinner before the tower was supposed to sparkle. Sitting on the grass, staring up at the tower sparkle and lit against the night, it was simply magical.

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While running to the tower, we accidentally found the love lock bridge!

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Day Four

We went back to Notre Dame for brunch. It was the most expensive meal I’ve ever had, but I thought I’d better get everything I wanted to try in Paris because I doubt I will go back. I got a crepe, a latte, a hot chocolate, a small macaroon and a glass of champagne. I sipped and ate and listened to the bells of Notre Dame.

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A deliciously expensive breakfast.

Our train back to the hostel was delayed for around ten minutes. When we got back to the hostel we checked out and walked to the train station. After the English Channel lost power, the station was evacuated for 45 minutes, and a 2.5-hour delay, and approximately one of the most stressful days of my life, we made it back to London.

Day Five

I went to class and then went grocery shopping. London is going through a crazy heatwave, so I went to the gym to just be in an air-conditioned building. After the gym, a group of us went out to a trivia night.

Day Six

My class went on a Sherlock Holmes walking tour. Our guide was the sweetest old lady who knew so much about the detective that it blew my mind. When I got back to campus, I did my laundry and found a stray cat who let me pet it for approximately fifteen minutes, it was perfect. Then, the social programme took us to see Wicked! It was incredible. I 10/10 recommend it.

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St. Paul’s (Actor’s) Church, as featured in Sherlock Holmes as well as The Rivers of London!

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I was so excited to finally see Wicked! I’ve wanted to see it for years!

Day Seven

I pretty much took this day for myself. I’ve been so go-go-go that I needed a day to watch Netflix and Youtube for a few hours.