It’s only day three and I’m already at a loss for words. If that’s any indicator for the rest of this trip, then I might return to America having completely forgotten how to speak.
Day three began at 2 am last night. Our flats all have mini kitchens with microwave/oven appliances. Apparently these operate quite differently from what we’re used to in America…someone down the hall had an issue with his and set off the fire alarm. It took (what felt like) forever to get the smoke all cleared out, but we were eventually allowed inside around 2:30 am. I think it took me until about 3:30 to fall asleep again. Ugh.
But the rest of today made up for the less-than-pleasing previous night.
We had our first class today at Anglo over in Russell Square. Russell Square is a cute little place with fountains and all sorts of coffee shops and super touristy gift shops. I definitely indulged my inner tourist and bought a few things there.
|Me at the fountains in Russell Square|
Class let out early, so we were released to continue explorations. I went out to Covent Gardens with a few other girls to do some light shopping. I rediscovered this amazing bakery that I found when my family came to London a few years ago: Ben’s Cookies. If you’re in London and want warm, gooey, delicious cookies, go to Ben’s. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
And now for a bit of a tangent… traveling around London is a really interesting experience. Not living in DC or a city with a true metro, the tube is completely new to me. It’s super convenient and I get better at reading the maps and schedules each time I use it.
However, the tube isn’t always the most comfortable way to get around, especially at peak times. I’m not a fan of crowds and at times experience slight claustrophobia. This morning, on our way to Anglo for class, I had one of those experiences on the tube. We must have caught the train that everyone and his siblings in London was taking to work. I have never had that many people standing near me in that tight of a space, not even the few times I’ve visited NYC. One man stood so close to me–not by choice–that I could hear him breathing. Needless to say, it was one of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve ever experienced, and pretty much solidified my notion that I would never survive living in a large city.
Although the night views and night life, at least in London, are almost enough to convince me otherwise…
It wasn’t planned as a night walk or anything. Two other people said they wanted to look for a place for a good drink or cup of coffee, and I didn’t want to sit in the flat all night, so I joined them. We grabbed an 8-bus a block away from the flat and took it into the city. We didn’t really have a solid plan as to where we wanted to go, so we just rode around until we saw something interesting.
That place was St. Paul’s Cathedral. One little restaurant caught our eyes, but it was too expensive for what we wanted, so we kept looking.
I’m glad we moved onward, because we found the perfect little Italian restaurant right across the street from St. Paul’s. If you’re in London and looking for a nice place, look up Strada. We didn’t have an actual dinner, but my coffee and bunet piemontese dessert was to die for. And sipping on coffee while gazing at St. Paul’s at night was a perfect way to spend half an hour.
|My delicious dessert and coffee at Strada|
When we left Strada, we decided to cross the river and head back to the flats in Bethnal Green.
Best decision ever. The views of the city from the Millennium Bridge almost can’t be described. I could try, but I don’t think my words could do it justice, so I won’t. I’ll just share a few pictures I took…
|Me and my night walk buddies Cameron and Mariel|
|Isn’t it beautiful?|
|The Globe glows!|
|St. Paul’s as seen from the bridge|
So that was a pretty amazing way to wrap up the third day in London. We decided that another night walk has to happen again next week. Maybe we’ll pick a completely different destination next time.
That was all yesterday, at this point. Didn’t quite have time to finish before I fell asleep last night. Today we’re going to a colloquium at a local university, and then seeing a play tonight! I kind of want to look up the play and read a little bit about it before seeing it, but at the same time, I kind of want to be surprised.
I’ve got time to decide.