Hello, all! This post is long overdue, but in case you missed it, I’m abroad! I am in London to be exact, and to be even more specific, in a borough I could never afford if I were renting and not in student housing - so thank goodness for student housing. Walking to class gets a lot more interesting when you pass Aston Martins, Bentleys, and the occasional Rolls Royce. I won’t bore you with all of the details of my adjustment period... Suffice to say grocery stores are organized very differently in the U.K., but that was just another excuse to buy candy and snacks because I kept “accidentally” finding that aisle. The adjustment period was a little rough, but I blame that more on the jet lag and being tired for a week straight than anything else. Also, everyone tells you about jet lag for your sleep schedule - no one warns you that your stomach gets jet-lagged, too! But enough about that - here are some of the highlights of my five weeks.
1. The London Eye
Yes, it’s “touristy,” but the view is amazing! Definitely worth doing even if only for the pictures, but it’s also cool to get a feel for where things are in London - there are screens that identify the buildings you see from the windows.
2. Discount Theatre Tickets
I went to the TKTS stand in Leicester Square, and got same-day second-row seats to see Evita for easily half the price of what I would’ve paid booking in advance. For someone who loves going to shows, it’s a fun experience on short notice that can be repeated over and over without blowing the budget. Just a heads up: the line is significantly longer on the weekends, so that part requires a little bit of planning.
3. Going to a Another Country
I was lucky enough to go to Brussels with my European business class and visit the European Union government buildings. I don’t believe most of them are open to the public, but there is plenty to do in Brussels - particularly for the chocolate and waffle lovers of the world. If you want a bird’s eye view of Brussels, take the tram to the Atomium, futuristic former exhibition site. Flights (and some trains) between countries in Europe are extremely reasonably priced - so why not go? I also really appreciated the experience of visiting a place that did not have English as its official language... I paid a lot more attention to everything and really felt like I got to experience a new culture.
|The Grand Place in Brussels has survived for centuries, even through numerous attacks and occupations.|
3.1 - Traveling, continued
My program does not have a large amount of free time, but I still found time to go to Switzerland to visit a family friend! We hiked (most of) a mountain, had some really good food, and (of course) had some chocolate. Something that was new for me - we walked across a bridge over the Rhine River, just for ice cream! The idea of borders is very different in Europe, but not in a bad way.
|The view from the top!|
|I was a big fan of all of the Swiss cows.|
|The town in Germany that we visited|
|Dark chocolate ice cream!|
Unsurprisingly, London is very different from Burlington, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There are aspects of Burlington that I miss, but there are parts of London that are also amazing. I love living in close proximity to so many different activities; if I am sitting bored, then I just have not made enough effort to find something to do, because there is always something. In continuing my habits from Burlington, I have already found a local bakery and some fancy ice cream places - I also have a list of top hot chocolate places that I hope to visit.
Future posts will hopefully be more frequent and more detailed, but for now, this is just a brief update into what I've been doing here across the pond. Cheers!
P.S. My apologies if the formatting is off and there is a white background on parts of this post - I have never had this happen before and cannot figure out how it happened.