Here I am, week 7 in London, and I have survived midterms already! My, how the time flies. The exams and essays passed pretty painlessly, and now I am just scrambling to get ready for my midterm break trip to Scotland on Thursday!
This past week, I’ve had my boyfriend from back home here to visit me, and it’s been fun playing the local and knowing what I’m talking about as I show him around. It reminds me just how far I’ve come since the beginning of January, how comfortable I am by now with this city. And how lucky I am to be here.
This past weekend, we decided to get away to the sea. Our destination was Dover, on the east coast of England in the county of Kent. Most people picture the stark white chalkstone cliffs that feature in a lot of movies and photos, but most tourists in their rights minds don’t go there in February. Except us. We got there by bus on Friday, and explored the little town, which has a major port for ferries across the channel. Though it was a bitter wet cold, we walked up to the Western Heights, a nature reserve and site of huge Napoleonic era fortresses in the hills. At the top of the hill you could get a good view of the port, the town, and Dover Castle (it’s not an English town if it doesn’t have a castle!) Then we found where we could walk around inside the inner (massive) wall of one of the forts, which was beautiful and snowy and quiet with no one else around. That evening we went to the one cinema in town, tiny with one screen and 50 or so seats. So quaint.
Day 2 in Dover was a journey to the White Cliffs. A city bus wouldn’t take us there, so we got as close as Dover Castle, then trekked along a winding two-lane road with no shoulder and very fast cars—bit terrifying. But we finally made it to the visitor center for the cliffs, where we warmed up with tea and scones (what else?). Then we headed out onto the cliff trails which, not gonna lie, got a tad scarily close to the edge for my comfort level at times. But it was simply stunning. We eventually found our way down the cliff face to the rocky beach (of primarily flint stone), where we discovered a secret tunnel (!) that connected two lookout points in the cliff that seemed at first like they could have been gun posts, but in fact used to hold lights to search for ships out at sea. Too. Cool.
Dover has been one of my favorite places so far, despite freezing half to death the whole weekend. I’d better get used to it, because I’m in for more cold up in the Scottish Highlands later this week! Wish me luck.
More Blogs From This Author
<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ariana is a junior at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. On campus, she is busy with bellydance and yoga, and as an executive member of the student health club. She has ridden elephants in Thailand and gone whitewater rafting in New Zealand, but her time studying abroad in London will be her first experience of Europe, which she hopes to make the very most of. Writing is how she makes sense of the world, and she hopes to share this blog with you while she explores jolly old England!</span></p>