Sunday, September 11, 2016

Travel Tyro: London Week #1

Hello from the other side!
As I wrote about in a previous post, I've moved to London this fall to study abroad, intern, and pursue all of my Anglophile dreams. As soon as I got here last week, I hit the ground running and haven't looked back— until now.

From taking a guided tour down the Thames with my classmates to exploring Greenwich (the original, not the Village or New England town), spending my last first day of school at a lecture in the British Museum, wandering around the city and running into Buckingham Palace for the first time, visiting six world renowned museums: the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Maritime Museum, Wallace Collection, and National Portrait Gallery (to be exact), trekking out of London to frolic in a field of lavender, and spending an unseasonably warm day at the beach in Brighton, this first week has been nothing short of a long awaited dream come true (more posts on these adventures to come).  

 London has been on the top of my bucket list since I was a child (I became hooked on the Tudors, Jane Austen, etc) and it was both exciting and agonizing to wonder if it would live up to my expectations. It really only took the ride to my flat (the English don't use apartment) in my black cab (no stark yellow taxis here) to convince me that all of my hopes were going to be easily surpassed. 

While starting to explore my new home for the next four months, I obviously couldn't help but compare bits of it to both New York and Boston. London definitely feels large like New York, but doesn't feel overcrowded and is very extremely clean like Boston. Londoners always seem to be on the move, but at a calmer Bostonian pace rather than a mad dash that is truly characteristic to most New Yorkers. While the city has a blend of both modern skyscrapers and historic brick buildings similar to both New York and Boston, London's history is so much older and you can honestly feel it and see it in it's architecture. Just running through Hyde Park will lead you into Kensington Palace and a simple turn on the street can end up in a mews (a row of carriage houses converted into flats and often painted in lovely bright colors). 

Looking back on this whirlwind of a week, I think one of the most standout memories will be my first day of orientation. Our lecturer introduced himself and then left the podium where he proceeded to get down on his knees and literally beg us to take advantage of our time in London so we may leave a changed person. 
To be perfectly honest, I don't think that's going to be a problem...

Overlooking Big Ben

Exploring Greenwich

Buckingham Palace

Note: Many pubs or bars have"arms"in the name which used to relate to a coat of arms

Picadilly Circus

Mayfield Lavender Farm

Natural History Museum

The Wallace Collection

My new neighborhood in South Kensington

Watching the sun set over the Thames on my first last day of school

Visiting Brighton

Overlooking the Tower of London

Cheers to many more great adventures in London to come! 

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