Now that I can finally get a chance to update (and rest my feet!) I can finally say I have thoroughly explored London’s finest tourist attractions. Pictured is the famous London Eye which is located on the River Thames (which is definitely quite a site at night!).
Yesterday, after all the dreaded info sessions, we were let loose in London on a scavenger hunt! Now at first we were quite overwhelmed, as none of us had ever used the public transportation! Well, I got a fine taste of the real hustle and bustle of London life. If you don’t move quickly, you will definitely get knocked over! And if you don’t always stay to the right on the elevators, you will make a lot of people very angry. Also, always look both ways because not even the cyclists will stop in the crosswalk for you (as we have been nearly run over quite a few times). But, aside from all of that, I have learned that London is a wonderful city full of very nice people who will always tell you if you have dropped something.
First on our list was to get to St. Paul’s Cathedral, and boy was that beautiful! Unfortunately there was an admission fee so we were unable to enter without spending a fortune, but just the outside was lovely. Next we had to make our way to Covent Garden and find street performers, and there were plenty to choose from! Unfortunately, of course, my travel card stopped working so I got stuck in the tube station until someone helped me out. For the rest of the day I had to pester security to let me in and out. Naturally only these things could happen to me. We then trekked to Trafalgar Square, where we caught our first real view of Big Ben. Then, making our way to Westminster, we passed many sights on our way, including 10 Downing Street (where I learned the Prime Minister lives!). Once we arrived to Westminster Station, we were able to get up close and personal with Big Ben and the Parliament buildings! What wonderful pictures I got, after I dodged all the other tourists trying to do the same. Headed further towards the river, we were able to get a close look at the London Eye and all the boats floating down the River Thames. I might have gone a little overboard with pictures, but when will I really be able to do this again (since it was surprisingly sunny yesterday). Oh yeah, and I climbed 15 flights of stairs leaving one of the tube stations.
After dinner, we were given tickets to go to the Playhouse Theater to see Spamalot, and I was thoroughly entertained! Definitely a great taste of British humor and culture.
Today I took my first trip to Primark, and it was fabulous. Three floors of clothes galore, and all super cheap! It was hard not to buy stuff since I will have to move all my stuff again Sunday. I just can’t wait to unpack because I’m so tired of living out of bags.
We also got a small tour of the National Portrait Gallery, and that was an interesting time. Our tour guide was not a fan of the British government and royal family, and he made it known. As we stood in front of the portrait of Margaret Thatcher, he became very opinionated and many other Brits who passed by did not agree in the slightest, which made for an interesting experience to say the least. I guess I got a flavor of both sides of the political views and how opinionated the British really are.
Highlight of the day: at the Freshers’ Fair at the University of London where we were able to sign up for clubs (and yes I signed up for Harry Potter club), I was speaking with someone at a table and they asked where I was from in “the States” and I said New Jersey, and to my surprise, I got a positive response! So to all those anti-Jersey Americans, a British student thought New Jersey was beautiful and really fun. And he did NOT ask about Jersey Shore. It was very refreshing to hear positive feedback about living in New Jersey for once. I am able to feel slightly more confident now telling my British peers where I live.