I’ve realized I’m the worst at keeping a journal.. and updating… Since the beginning of my study abroad trip, I told myself I would make a bucket list and also write about what happens every day so I can keep an account of all the details but I haven’t been doing so well (please continue to bear with me) but FINALLY here’s a looooong overdue post about the first part of my adventures on this trip: LONDON!!!
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you got to see that I stayed in London for 2 days at the beginning of this trip, and BOY what an interesting and nerve wracking 2 days it was.
I didn’t know anyone nor was I traveling with anyone from the program so naturally the first thing the program immediately “made” us do was meet new people and make new friends. Once the other students and I were picked up from the airport and arrived at the hotel in London, we were told our rooms wouldn’t be ready until around 2pm. This led us to go out and venture the city. Of course, I was starving so I quickly made friends with Brittany (who at the time I had no idea what she was like but we ended up becoming really close) and we wandered around looking for fish and chips. Did we get lost? Yes.. for about 30 minutes. Did we ask a bunch of locals for directions? Yes.. but most people are really friendly about it. Did we freeze our butts off? Yes.. good lord London was COLD. But the real question is, did we eventually find fish and chips? HECK YES.
It took getting lost to find an ATM, but once we withdrew our pounds (it was a bit worrisome at first trying to get used to the different currency), we saw a fish and chips pub right in front of us. I remember how excited Brittany and I were hahaha, because we were HUNGRY. The funniest thing was that this was around noon, which I can see why some places would still consider it to be breakfast, however the lady was a bit put off when we asked to see the lunch menu. We were just really happy she was nice about it and gave us lunch menus for fish and chips. All in all, lunch went well and we were full and happy. But the next funniest thing that happened was, since we didn’t finish our meal, Brittany and I wanted to take some of the fish and chips to-go so we could eat it later. when we asked the lady she quickly corrected us and said take-away. I had no idea people in London called it that! It was really great to learn something new I would’ve probably never otherwise known if I hadn’t been there. Now, we were unsure whether or not we were supposed to tip because I told her I heard something about how tipping wasn’t a thing in Europe. Well, in London, it is, so there we were standing at the bar pulling out all our coins to pay the lady haha. Again, so glad the lady was nice.
Afterward, we trekked the cold again, got lost for a little while more and headed back to the hotel to get situated in our rooms as well as rest. Eventually, dinner time rolled around and we ate the remainder of our fish and chips and were so glad we didn’t have to spend any more money for dinner. We ended the first night in London with a night stroll around Kensington, taking in the beautiful city and of course stopping to take cool pictures in front of gates.
The last day in London was a jam-packed day. We started off the morning with a tour around the city getting to see sights such as the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Bridge and the London Eye. Afterward, we had the rest of the day to ourselves to explore. Since the tour didn’t stop at a few places that I wanted to see, I took my friends along with me to hit up the rest of the city haha (so glad they were more than happy to come with me!)
Hope you enjoy the pictures!
When we first all started to bond 🙂 (love how pictures bring people closer together!)
The Tower Bridge (Not the London Bridge – I learned that a lot of people get the two confused)
My friends and I took it upon ourselves to get an all day bus pass (for only 14 euros well worth our money!) to use the tube to get around the city, so we walked around eventually finding ourselves walking through Picadilly Circus until we finally had some nice people help us find a nearby underground tube. I was determined to go to the Borough Market (a place for foodies aka me), and the 9 3/4 station (because who doesn’t love Harry Potter).
On our walk, I found Chinatown in London! Reminded me of my family, because whenever we travel we always try to hit up all the Chinatowns, haha.
The beautiful Borough Market!!! Can you picture my excitement when we found this?
Everywhere I turned, I saw mouthwatering food and smelled aromas of deliciousness. It was heaven. and THEN I saw chocolate filled donuts. ->
For only 2 euros, I gorged my wonderfully chocolately-velvety donut. I knew I had to get it or else I would regret it and I’m so glad I did.
We hopped on the tube again after having lunch at the Borough Market, and got off near King’s Cross Station to fulfill my dreams of taking a picture in front of Platform 9 3/4. King’s Cross Station was an outdoor train station which was really interesting – it took us awhile to figure out that the platform was “inside” the station.
The photographer said I had a really good jump haha. I was way too excited. I was made for Hogwarts don’t you think..
After the long line and the photo op, it was getting dark out. However, since it was only about 5pm we didn’t want the rest of the day to go to waste so we quickly decided that we all wanted to go to Abbey Road, where the road in the infamous Beatles album is located. Want to know something hilarious though??? If you ever take the tube to go to Abbey Road, don’t get off at the stop that says Abbey… because we did and got lost until we realized that we were at the wrong place. I mean that was weird though, why isn’t Abbey Road at the Abbey stop but the St. John stop?!
It was a struggle trying to re-enact the Beatles walk with everyone, since cars were zooming by on both sides of the street. but at least I got a walking picture in!
After a long day, we all headed back to the hotel. Just when I thought I was ready to clock out, my friend texted me saying I should definitely check out Carnaby St! So guess what by now it was around 9pm but I quickly changed, grabbed dinner with a friend (Hannah) and headed back out to venture the city. We got on the tube again and it dropped us off close by. But we were in a different area of the city so along the way, directions were definitely asked for. I kept butchering the street name though because for some reason I couldn’t separate “Carnaby” from “Canterbury”.. I got a lot of weird looks from locals lol. But FINALLY, we found the street!!! It was such a cute little area, I’m not sure my pictures do it justice. You look up and you see twinkling lights everywhere and cute little shops and stores.
It was a bummer everything was closed, but I’m still so glad we decided to check out the area &+ shoutout to my friend Michelle for the recommendation! 🙂 What a great couple of days in London. Although it was freeeeezing and I was taken aback several times about being on the other side of the world, I wouldn’t have traded these 2 days in London for anything. I’ve already learned a lot about navigating a new country on my own and for stepping more outside of my comfort zone in this past month.. and I still have a lot more to catch up you guys on regarding life in Florence and more importantly, Rome!
Thank you again for your continuous support & for reading my long winded posts!!! haha, hopefully, I won’t be too lazy and have them all up soon.. but definitely look forward to more travel posts in the near future (aka this past weekend’s trip to Prague, etc)!!
Until next time! ❤