the day i landed in london
day one/two in london
Well we left for London on Monday, May 16th at 3:45pm and landed in the UK around 7:00am on Tuesday, May 17th!!!! The flight did not feel as long as I thought it would and I didn’t sleep as much as I was hoping or needing to either. The plane came with some perfect movie options and so I was set on watching movies the whole way over. Some old- You’ve Got Mail, and some new- Burnt (one of my favorites!) and How To Be Single.
Once we landed, we went through border control and grabbed our luggage. Learned the hard way, don’t tell customs that you are Studying Abroad because they will demand a letter and we did not have any sort of letter. Some had a harder time than I did, but next time I will just say “going on vacation with 16 students and 3 teachers!” We headed down to the Tube station and waited for another one of our classmates to meet up with us. Getting on the tube with 16 Americans and ALL of our luggage is hands-down the worst idea ever. We were all exhausted and ready to be at the flats, and we had to try keep up with one another to navigate the Tube stations (going up and down stairs with all of our luggage…) and getting in and on different Tubes while “Minding the Gap.” Let me tell you- London-ers walk FAST. I thought I was a fast walker, but they put me to shame. If you aren’t doing a light jog, you might as well be standing still. Okay, exaggeration, sorta, but they do walk fast. When we finally arrived at our station- Farringdon, we all jumped off, drug our suitcases up the station staircases, frustrating every single local, and headed to our flat. That block-and-a-half from the station to our flat was the worst 20 minutes ever. We were trying to lug our luggage through the cobblestone streets of London, during morning rush hour, not accustomed to the British driving/traffic patterns. For them if the light just turned red, about 3-4 more cars can still drive through even though the other lights are green. People think Dallas traffic is insane, they wouldn’t last a day in the U.K. because this Dallas driver was panicked too. You don’t want to know how many times we almost got hit or got honked at… Whoops! Also, note to self, I should’ve packed lighter because I know that I will wake up incredibly sore in the morning.
After we unpacked, we had our orientation of our flats and then headed out to the ATM to get our cash for the week. This was the cheaper option (rather than using my debit card and paying an international conversion fee for each transaction), but I will really have to budget my money because once I am out of cash, I will have to wait until I can get to another ATM to get more. After that, we went and got lunch at the market area/shops right by our flats called Exmouth Market- the coolest! We ate at this incredible hummus place called Hummus Bros and I got a hummus bowl with chicken and feta- and it was just that- a bowl full of hummus with seasoned chicken and loaded with hummus and it was so good! After that (our first meal post airline “dinner”), we went grocery shopping in what seemed like a “food” convenience store. It was weird- fresh produce, cereal, milk, alcohol, breads, magazines- an interesting assortment of what they considered everyday groceries, sans grocery bags. With our groceries overflowing in our arms, we headed back to the flats, about a 4 minute walk. We took a little bit of a breather in our rooms, but tried our hardest not to fall asleep because it was the middle of the afternoon and we needed to stay ahead of the jetlag. Some of my roommates fell asleep, but I was determined to not let jet-lag win, which is a shocker to me considering I’m not one that can function on less than 8 hours of sleep. We met our group to go take another ride on the Tube to Piccadilly Circus to see the Eros Statue and then moseyed over to the fountain at Trafalgar Square. We walked around for a little bit as a group then we broke off and went on our own adventures. The adrenaline and excitement was driving us! It was cold and rainy, but we were trying to get a bearing on where we were and what we wanted to see. A group of us girls were wandering around and we turned a corner and there was Big Ben, peeking through the clouds. Of course, Holly and I stopped for a picture because it was the perfect moment- black light posts with gorgeous gold accents (who makes their light poles pretty??), the cutest hanging baskets with the brightest flowers, amazing architecture, Big Ben in the back and as soon as Holly (prime photographer let me tell you) snapped the picture, a black taxi and red bus were turning and she caught those too. The epitome of London in one picture. Bless you Holly girl. We walked up the road past the Plaza Hotel to Big Ben and the London Eye. We walked through South Bank along the River Thames to get to this place called Udder Belly which was sort of like a concert venue, food truck area. I tried Pimm’s for the first time, which is gin, lemonade, spices and garnished with fresh oranges, cucumber and lemon, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. People compared it to beer, and yes I did like it a lot more than beer, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. I did have a delicious waffle with homemade chocolate sauce on it for dinner-healthy choice, I know. After we finished eating, we conquered the Tube without our teachers (!!!! Thanks Regan), headed back, showered and got in bed. We tried to fight jet-leg all day and we were finally able to pass out.
All in all it was an incredible food day!! Loving the city so far, but still very anxious/nervous.