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?