London: Week 1

Hey there, followers of The Vessel. It’s only my second blog post, and already I’m falling behind. I should have posted earlier in the week, but life has been a little crazy. Here I am now, though, better late than never.

I’m in London! Our plane arrived safely at the London Heathrow Airport last Thursday morning around 11am UK time. That’s 6 hours later than Central Time in the US, for anyone back home who doesn’t know.

The next day, we had a competition called the Tube Rallye where we were split into teams for a sort of scavenger hunt. Our professors gave us a list of questions that we could only answer by visiting various locations around London. This gave us a chance to both get a taste of the many wonderful sights of the city and to learn how to use the transportation here – hence the name Tube Rallye. For anyone who might not know, the “tube” is the London subway system. The rallye required us to ride the tube multiple times. At the end of the day, my group actually won the competition! We got £5 each, which is honestly the best part.

Tube Rallye Winning Team

Friday night, we saw our first play: The 39 Steps. It was hilarious and so much fun. Then, on Saturday, we went shopping on Portabello Road, and I saw George Orwell’s house!

George Orwell's House

Afterward, we were set free to do whatever we wanted in London for the rest of the day, so I explored Trafalgar Square with a few of my friends. Pictures of Trafalgar from multiple visits there can all be found on my Facebook page.

Sunday, we went to All Souls, which is an Anglican church, in the morning, and our professors took us on a walking tour of London in the afternoon.

We started classes on Monday, which was strange and kind of surreal. After nearly 2 full months of no class during our extra long Christmas break followed by days that felt like weeks in London without class, we had gotten spoiled to not having to go to class. We got started right, though, with London History and Culture. Our professor gave us a general overview of London’s history during class, then took us on another walking tour in the afternoon.

We had another class on Tuesday, this one called Landscape and Legend in British Literature, after which we got to see the Churchill War Rooms. That night, we saw our second play: The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Both the war rooms and the play were phenomenal and indescribable.

We had class all day Wednesday, with Theatre in the morning and Art in the afternoon. Our art professor took us to the British Museum, where we stayed until closing time. It was tiring, but so worth it because I got to see the Rosetta Stone!

Rosetta Stone

Thursday, we didn’t have class until 1:30, so a friend and I explored Covent Garden and did some shopping in the morning. We had Statistics in the afternoon, which was interesting and fun. Our math professor is really good at teaching. Yesterday, we had our English class again (Landscape and Legend in British Literature), after which a few of my friends and I went to Covent Garden again to check out the rest of the shops there.

Today started bright and early with a coach ride to Avebury and was packed to the brim with a trip to Stonehenge and to Bath, where we saw Bath Abbey and the ancient Roman Baths. Stonehenge was my favorite part.

Stonehenge

And that brings us up to tonight! Hopefully I’ll be more timely for my next update so it won’t have to cover a week and a half of activities. Thanks for reading!

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