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 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.