This was my first time ever being in England, so naturally, the cars bugged me out a little. Sitting in the “passengers seat” on the left side of the car felt completely wrong. As the car started moving, I kept feeling like we were driving on the wrong side of the road and a car would surely hit us head on at any moment. While crossing the street, I would instinctively look in the wrong direction. Luckily, on the streets of London there are words and arrows painted on to the street saying “Look Left” or “Look Right.” Apparently it’s a problem for others as well.
It was so nice to see a friend from Vermont for the week. Lora is studying at Richmond University for a semester and was my roommate freshman year at Champlain College. While staying with her, I felt like I was home again. Her dorm was so cozy and it was so refreshing to be with a familiar person from home who I’m quite comfortable with. This week made me really excited for Christmas break and for the Spring semester at Champlain.
London is absolutely beautiful. I love the architecture all around the city and the people are lovely. I felt more at home in London than I have anywhere yet since I’ve been abroad. This is partially because of Lora and her cozy living quarters, but also because everyone speaks English! It’s so nice to walk into a grocery or convenience store and know exactly what you’re buying. I was able to get food in England that I can’t find anywhere in Holland. It’s a small detail, but a great reminder of home and being comfortable.
One sight I was really anxious to see while in London was Big Ben. This is the obvious tourist sight when visiting London, but it had to be done. One day while Lora was in class, I decided to go on a little solo excursion. This is when I saw the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace. After that, I wandered over to the river where Big Ben and Parliament are located. While wandering around, I ran into a tour group. I decided to tag along for a bit and listen since I had nothing better to do. I recorded a blip of this tour group before they headed off to the direction I had just come from:
While I was in London, I felt like the sunlight and the air were generally better than that of Amsterdam. The lighting was that of a brisk, early morning, but it continued on all day. I had the best blue skies for the photos I took on the river. The air and lighting around me just set the mood for my entire week and kept me smiling.
I’m so glad I got to hear Big Ben chime while I was on the bridge over the river. It’s such a bold, triumphant chime. In fact, I tried to record a video of the chiming, but I only managed to catch the end. I then proceeded to trip over myself while turning, jostling the camera all over the place:
I always love roaming around a city by myself, but not in the middle of the night when I need to catch a flight. My flight left at 6AM on Thursday morning. I had to catch a bus at 3AM in order to get to the airport 2 hours early for check-in and all that. I got quite lost on the way to the bus. I wasn’t sure of its exact location, I just figured I’d find it somehow. I felt like I had been wandering around for ages and creepy drunk men were lurking on the streets. I decided to ask a taxi driver if he knew where the bus stop was. These taxi cabs are very old school; they don’t have GPS like the ones in Amsterdam but only a printed map. The driver tried to help me out, but really had no idea. He pointed me in one direction, completely guessing, and I followed it. I ended up missing my 3AM bus, but found the station around 3:30AM where another bus was heading to airport. I showed the driver my ticket, hoping that he wouldn’t see the “3:00 AM” printed at the top. He didn’t seem to notice, so I found a seat. Luckily, I got through check-in and security with no problems and made my flight. I even had time to spare.
I would go back to England in a second. I hope that someday I get to visit again and have a chance to see more of England and not just London.