I can’t believe it’s been 12 days since my last post!! I’m currently working on one encompassing everything I’ve been up to since July 6th, but at the moment, I’m slightly preoccupied…
Tomorrow morning, at 3:20am, a bus will take me, Justin, Keesa and Matt to Luton airport. I don’t know about you, but I only know what 3:20am looks like because I’m usually up on Skype or g-chat until 4am… But to actually have to be a functioning human being who is traveling to another country, I should probably take a nap or go to bed super early or something.
We’ll be spending the next 4 days in the beautiful city of Paris. Think of it as a mini vacation in the midst of my program here. We had spent the past 2ish weeks taking a special topics class on the Olympics, took our final this morning (aced it) and I have one package already done that should be posted on boston.com sometime next week. We’ll be going nonstop for the 3 weeks after Paris in full-blown internship mode so after already being here for a little over 3 weeks, a getaway to France is more than perfect.
The last time I visited Paris, I was 9, and as much fun as I’m sure I had there being hauled around by Len & Shirl, I am bouncing-out-of-my-chair excited to get to experience it again in a different way. The four of us are even considering a day trip to Versailles on Saturday.
And the best part? It’ll be my birthday while I’m there… Oh hey, how did you spend your 24th birthday? In Paris… no big deal.
So the next time you see me, I’ll be a little older, probably none the wiser and hopefully full of good French wine. Always gotta have wine..
Hello again! This time from Courtfield Gardens in Kensington.
I moved into my flat on Monday after a weeklong vacation with my family. Courtfield Gardens is a mere 25 minutes away via tube and I quickly settled into my 3-bed room with two roomies, our own bathroom and an accessible kitchen.
On Tuesday, my special topics class on the Olympics started. Three hours a day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and our schedule looks a little something like this:
Essentially, I’m putting together a presentation about Women and the Olympics, shooting and editing a ton of video and stills, and have my first few weekends free to travel Europe and explore all that London has to offer.
Instead of sleeping after class, because let’s be real here…. I’m hardly doing any of that for one reason or another… I decided to go down to a local dance studio for an advanced contemporary class.
Not only were both the class and the instructor amazing (I was drenched in sweat within the first five minutes and could hardly move the next day), it had a familiar name making me feel right at home.
DanceWorks London… who knew?
When I got back from the class, my friends were ready to get a drink and check out some of the local nightlife. We decided on the Courtfield Pub about 10 minutes from our place.
The only boys in the program… they have it made.
On Wednesday, our group made the journey on the tube to West Ham to take an Olympic walking tour.
We walked for about 2 hours, learning about everything from past Olympics to how and why London was chosen over Paris for the 2012 Summer Games. Apparently everyone thought that Paris would get it over London, including all of England, and when it was announced that Paris lost, the French didn’t take it so well. Go figure.
For now, the area surrounding the Olympic Park is still pretty accessible but within the next few weeks, security will tighten and getting anywhere near the entrance will be impossible without tickets or the highest security clearance.
This is the viewing tower and the main Olympic arena…
Since it was the 4th of July on Wednesday, there was no way that we were going to not celebrate, despite the fact that we’re in England. If anything, the irony made it that much better. We got ready, had a drink or two, and found a bar in Covent Gardens called Roadhouse that we heard would be full of other Americans we could party with. It was.. and we had a blast.
Sometimes we let Justin think he has game…
Matt decided to bring the American flag along for the ride.
It was, by far, the best 4th of July I’ve ever had.
Despite staying awake until an ungodly hour, we decided to dedicate the next day to being as touristy as possible. Our solution? The Tower of London.
Before going inside the fortress, we checked out the Tower Bridge, beautifully adorned with the Olympic Rings.
Within the walls of the Tower of London, we joined a guided tour with a Beefeater. I think we got the best one the Tower has because we learned a ton and laughed the entire way though. He was informative, clever and knew how to keep the audience engaged. A+ Mr. Beefeater.
We saw the Crown Jewels, took a tour through the Torture Towers and checked out the Royal Artilleries.
Sometimes Matt likes to play with ancient weapons.
Today included things like a gym session with Justin (who made me run a 7:30 mile to the gym and I thought I was going to die), shopping on Oxford Street (oh Primark…), a much-need 2 hour nap, froyo, wine and Despicable Me…. a terrific way to end one of the busiest weeks ever.
I want to know… How are things in the States? I heard it’s super hot in Boston! What else should I check out in London and what would YOU like to see in a London-themed giveaway here on the blog?
Greetings from London, England!!!! (Warning: Lengthy post ahead…)
It only took me a total of 15 hours to get here from the time I left my house at 2pm US time last Tuesday afternoon to when I arrived at my aunt’s place in London at 10:30am Wednesday England time (5:30am US time.)
All-in-all, the travel day wasn’t horrible. 6 hours from Boston to Frankfurt on Lufthansa’s business class is an extremely luxurious (cough cough SPOILED) way to travel. My dad works for Lufthansa so it just makes sense and all….
We landed in Germany at 5:30am their time before boarding a much smaller airplane for the 1 and a half hours to London, where the time changed again, back 1 hour.
Now, I’ve traveled abroad a lot in my life and jet lag isn’t something that normally hurts me too much, but this time around, it was BRUTAL. I don’t know if it’s because we left the USA so late in the day or if it was the 3 hours getting from Heathrow to my aunt’s house because of a massive line at the UK border or the amount of luggage we had or the time on the tube but either way, I was dying for sleep by noon.
After taking the fastest hour-long nap of my life, we were back up and off to one of my favorite places in all of London…
I proceeded to practically run around the store, buying things like Harrod’s brand red wine. Don’t judge me.. this is good stuff.
The rest of my week looked a little something like this:
On Thursday, we visited Windsor and saw the castle where the Queen is currently residing. We didn’t actually get to see her, but we did get to see her guards and their stellar hats.
We tried some on just for fun.
Friday….Stonehenge and Bath!
Stonehenge was beautiful, albeit a bit chilly but by the time we got to Bath, the weather changed completely.
We toured the Roman Baths and checked out Bath Abbey. Bath is the setting of one of my favorite books, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, so it was incredible being there where the story takes place.
That night, my cousins took me and my sister out to experience the London nightlife. Ever met an Irish kid you couldn’t understand because his accent was so thick? Now I can say I have…
One night club in particular looked slightly familiar..
Later that night, I decided it would be smart to stay up until 2:45am thinking that I’d get to sleep in the next day. My dad, however, had other plans, strolling into my room at a casual 7:00am to inform me that I needed to get up RIGHT THAT MINUTE because we were going to miss the 8:21 train to Oxford. Fail sleeping in.
Oxford included a tour of the gorgeous Blenheim Palace and scoping out Oxford University’s campus.
The rose garden of Blenheim was by far my favorite.
By the way, I got a new camera…can you tell? No more iPhone photos for me!
100 British pounds to whoever can name what movie this courtyard was featured in…. Hint: It’s one of my favorites series of all time.
After falling asleep on the train ride home, my family went to dinner at one of my favorite spots in London: Kandoo. This hole-in-the-wall Persian place is BYOB and serves incredible food. Even my mom, the pickiest eater in the entire world, loved it.
Today I finally got to sleep in and didn’t wake up until… noon. With my parents out of the house (they decided to go back to Bath and spend a few more hours there), Melissa and I printed a map, got some tips from our cousin Ali and hit the streets of London for our own pub crawl.
First up, The Beehive..
Then, The Marylebone, which ended up being my favorite stop of the day. I recommend the Passionfruit Bellini.
Third, The Prince Regent, where I had my first-ever glass of Zinfandel. I usually stay away from this type of red because I’m biased towards Merlot, Cab and Malbec, but this one was surprisingly delicious.
Our last stop, the Barley Mow, was cute too.
About three seconds after we left the Barley Mow, we got a call from Ali who told us to come to a bar called The Globe to watch the Italy-Spain “football” game with her, Gabby and bunch of their Embassy friends.
…And then Ali spilled her full beer all over the place and our new friend Derek laughed at her.
All-in-all, a successful pub crawl around London and a great way to end my first week here.
So that’s my trip to London up until this point. Tomorrow I move to BU London at Courtfield Gardens in Kensington and have orientation before starting class on Tuesday! Once I’m settled in, I promise more pictures and maybe a few more posts so they aren’t as long…
I want to know… Have you traveled or studied abroad? What’s your best advice for getting around London and/or Europe? I’m dying to get to Paris and Rome but I’m not sure of the best way to go about it… help!!