Today and everyday since Thursday was a breath of fresh air. Surprisingly much of it spent in one of the most populated cities in the world. I expected to be impressed with London by not this impressed. People prepared me with this information and advice about the city: Crazy and hectic, fashion fashion forward, stay to the right on escalators as the left is for those in a hurry who climb them, see a show, walk along the Thames River, visit the Tate Modern and British Museum, be prepared to spend a lot of money, and use The Tube and love The Tube. Because I was somewhat warned and prepared, many things seemed less surprising and crazy. I found the city and people to be in not any more of a hurry than in Manchester . The people didn't seem to dress any less crazy than in Manchester either. You do, however, need to stand on the right side when using the escalator. Walking along the Thames riverwalk is a great way to see the sites. Seeing a musical while here is well-worth it. And the Tube can be your best friend and it was.
London has a great mix of Victorian and Roman architecture, green parks and gardens, small boutiques and markets, restaurants and pubs, theaters and museums. Time there was memorable, educational and well eye-opening.
Nina, an international student from Austria also living in Hartley Hall, and I left by train Thursday morning and returned by train Sunday. It was nice getting to know her better. We often joked that this was our "romantic" holiday spent in one of England's most iconic cities. The sites are all breath-taking during the day and some even better at night. And romantic I would say for couples who come here.
Some highlights were seeing the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Parliment, Covent Garden Market Trafalgar Square and Big Ben. We made our way inside Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon, National Gallery, British Museum and the Tate Modern. We explored districts like Soho, the West End, Southwark, and Westminster. Our legs hurt, brains filled and eyes blessed.
We packed sandwhiches and snacks to cut back on food expenses leaving it possible to eat out at two quaint places when the food did run out. The first was an Italian restaurant in the West End. And the second was a "london locals favorite" pub in Soho. Nice to rest our feet and chat over great food in equally great atmospheres.
I thought of many family and friends who I wished could have been there at certain points during the trip. I thought of my Mom while at the musical Dirty Dancing as she loves the movie, Martha as we ventured through the West End, the famous theatre district in London, Jessy while at Tate Modern, Grandma Dorothy as I was by the London Eye and Dad as he would have probably put as many miles in his shoes as we did. Others too.
Nina is a kind, open-minded, postive person who happens to make a great travel buddy. So glad we made the trip. Look forward to the time I can make it back.
Here is a short synopsis of the trip with photos.
Some of the future travel plans include: Amsterdam this week as I dont have class due what they call "reading week" and Paris after classes are done in December.
Liverpool, Lincoln, and Cambridge are some of the British cities I also have my eye on. Can already tell England is a great place to be during the Christmas season. They take having good holiday spirit quite serious.
Continue to feel blessed and grateful for everything experienced both in Manchester and away. And even though enjoying each day here can't help but each day also anticipate seeing family and friends back home.