Ever since I was younger, I have dreamed about living in London. As I got older and started thinking more realistically, I thought maybe I would just end up visiting there someday- when I was much, much older.
Through my college, however, I had the opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom throughout January while getting a general literature credit. I said yes, handed in my check, and went to the informational meetings. All the while, I was internally screaming. I WAS GOING TO LONDON!
We left January 3rd and traveled to York, Edinburgh (Scotland), Oxford, Swansea (Wales), London (England), and took day trips to Canterbury, Winchester, Stratford-Avon, and Bath, and a group of four other girls and I went to Paris, France for a weekend. Finally, after 23 days, we arrived back in the U.S.A. on January 26.
This trip was AH-MAZE-ZING. I got to see and experience so many things, be adventurous, create memories, and meet new people.
I went to York Minster, Edinburgh Castle, Christ's Church College, The Kilns (C.S. Lewis' home), Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Winchester Cathedral, National Art Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Canterbury Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's birthplace, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Love Lock Bridge, Hyde Park, the Jane Austen Center, and the Tower of London. My favorite of all of these was going to the National Art Gallery because it was filled with so many beautiful paintings.
I saw things like the original texts of "Beowulf" and "Persuasion", Big Ben, Parliament, the changing of the guard, Tower Bridge, the forest that inspired "The Chronicles of Narnia", the Millennial Bridge, the city of London from a panoramic view, an Ama Luna show, The Phantom of the Opera musical, Buckingham Palace, crypts, and flocks of sheep. My favorite thing to see was the Ama Luna show, it was absolutely amazing.
I got to travel by train for the first time, navigate the "underground", travel to a completely different country with no actual adults, climb more towers than I can say, go to cute little coffee and pastry shops, sit outside at a cafe, go bowling, see where many famous writers lived, climb Arthur's Seat, stay right on the coast, wander in creepy cemeteries, and experience culture in such a different way.
I ate some of the most amazing food, including fish 'n chips, pie (chicken pot pie), gelato, croissants, greek food, crepes, escargot (snails), and found a new favorite to-go restaurant called Pret A Manger; unfortunately, it's not in the U.S.
This trip was truly a trip of a lifetime, and I can say that I am very satisfied with my experience in the United Kingdom. I would be lying though if I said I wasn't excited to be home ;)
Hopefully, I can visit London again... and who knows, maybe even live there ;)
If you were wondering, here a just a few things different in the U.K.:
1. They don't have trash cans- they have rubbish bins.
2. Using the tube or bus is a normal transportation method.
3. They don't know the concept of splitting the check.
4. The accents are real... and attractive ;)
5. They don't drink a lot of water.
6. Little fruit and veggie shops are everywhere.
7. Costa Coffee is their Starbucks.
8. Gas stations are rare.
9. Their Hyde Park is our Central Park.
10. It's called takeaway, not to go.
11. They call bathrooms toilets
12. They don't have exit signs, they have way out signs.
13. Electronic cigarettes are normal.
14. History is everywhere.
15. They drive on the left-hand side of the road.