Shae Abroad Spring 2019 travel blog

I’m not really sure why I wanted to visit London initially. I think partially because everyone does it. Things are kind of weird right now between Ireland and the UK because of Brexit but a lot of people think it will take a long time for anything to really happen.

The morning of my flight I really didn’t want to go. I think I was just in a bad mood and was a little worried about traveling alone. I wasn’t spending the entire weekend alone but the flight there and back I had bought just because they were super cheap.

I got to London and figured out the public transportation to get into the city — pretty proud of myself. Got into the city and met up with my friend Danny, who I was staying with. At first he didn’t realize that I was studying abroad so he thought I just flew over from the states with no plan — I was honored for him to think that I was that ambitious. We met “downtown” (I put it in quotation marks because the city of London is huge — 5x the size of Paris — and there is not a specific city center). We had dinner at a tapas place with some of his friends he’s met at UCL. Since that dinner wasn’t enough, Danny grabbed a burger from 5 Guys. We stopped at his apartment and then Ubered to meet some BC kids for a pub crawl he had signed us up for!! It was my first pub crawl ever and it was nice to see some BC kids — they were super surprised to see me. The pub crawl was four bars total and ending at a club. It was cool but I didn’t really drink and then at the third club there was a lot of dancing but it was kind of getting packed and weird so Danny and I decided to go. Took the tube and headed back to his dorm.

The next day Danny was really tired and had a lot of work to do so I headed to the city alone. All the museums are free so I started with the British history museum. It is really big and had a lot of cool stuff on the enlightenment period. It also has the Rosetta Stone which was really cool to see in real life. After some time, there I walked (a long way) to the Tate Modern, which is the modern art museum in London.

A lot of times I don’t like modern art because it’s just like a blue square or something. But this museum had a lot of exhibits based around social issues/ historical events/ poetry and I really liked it. There was one exhibit about this woman who had made these shoes with a compass and a map. She is an artist from San Diego and her project focused around the issues of immigration and how people crossing the border often don’t have shoes. In the States she sold them for a lot of money — to represent the obsession with consumerism in the US — and then was giving them away for free in Mexico. She got a lot of criticism for the shoes saying that they supported illegal immigration but she said that was not her intention. She always went back to the point that she was an artist first and created these for artistic purposes and they just so happen to have a function.

After the Tate Modern I decided to walk to Buckingham Palace which was also far away. In the course of the whole weekend I walked 28 miles because I didn’t want to pay for the tube every time. I walked along the river, got a Nutella sundae at this little pop up ice cream place.

The Queen Victoria memorial and Buckingham Palace were pretty cool — I’m sure it would be more interesting to take a tour inside. But I saw the guards marching and standing in their little huts — that must be the most boring job ever.

I finally got fed up with the rain and took the long walk back to Danny’s place. He was doing work at his sister’s apartment close by so he dropped me off and I laid in bed for a while. At night we went to this little pizza place which had gluten free pizza! After that we watched Bandersnatch which is the Black Mirror movie — it’s like a “choose your own adventure” story.

In the morning we got Starbucks and Danny headed to class. I walked to Camden market. Camden Market is a collection of six markets that sells souvenirs, vintage clothing, food, and more. It was a really cool vibe and there’s lots of decorations on the buildings, as well as a lot of cool graffiti. I don’t know what here influence was on the area but there are a lot of tributes to Amy Winehouse. Within like 5 minutes I walked into a leather store and bought some sick boots. I also got this super cute London-style hat.

After more walking around I knew I needed lunch so I stopped at this little pop up thing that made corn pancakes filled with cheese! Gluten free and super good. In line I met these two girls who were Indian but lived in the Netherlands. I talked to them a little about abroad. After more walking around and experiencing things, I decided to play it safe and get to the airport super early. I flew in and out of different airports so I didn’t know exactly how to get there. I got a train from the city to the airport and it was a lovely ride through the countryside. A lot like Ireland actually. Got to the airport supppper early but it was better than running to my gate.

Easy, one-hour flight, made it back to Ireland, headed to bed.

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