Arriving in one of the biggest and most well-known cities in the world and having to spend the first five days in a room with little to no airflow, during one of their hottest weeks, was not the ideal way to begin my travels abroad. Many of us have been through quarantine at some point during this pandemic, but nothing really compares to hearing the kids screaming outside chasing down an ice cream truck while you’re sitting in the same spot for four hours. There was some respite from the dullness of Quarantine however, this came in the form of virtual orientations held by IES Abroad, a cooking lesson, and the wide array of movies that Netflix in the UK has to offer. My quarantine was mostly spent catching up on movies I have not seen in years and it made my seclusion that much better. Still, nothing compared to the sweet, sweet release from my room after the results of my Day 5 Covid Test came in, and then it felt like my trip really began.
The first day out of Quarantine I walked over ten miles around the surrounding area as some other students and I traveled to Regent’s Park and all the exhibits within. The Flower Garden there was beautiful and we were blessed enough to have the sun out all day with warm weather. If only I had known that what I was seeing then was actually special compared to the normally overcast and rainy days I might have stopped to appreciate it more. The sunburn I received feels almost special now after the past few cloudy days, but regardless my time in the sun was well spent in Regents Park. The next few days after Regents Park were a blur to keep it simple. Every day was a new place in London with different people from IES Abroad. My group and I went to Westminster, Notting Hill, Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath, Highland Park, and finally Oxford. Rather than go over each of these I’ll be highlighting my three favorites which had to be Notting Hill, Highland Park, and Primrose Hill.
Notting Hill had incredible architecture and was just an absolutely beautiful place to travel through. The rows of houses were colored with different light pastel colors in shades of blue, pink, white, and grey providing some fantastic picture opportunities and made for a nice walk. Not only this, but the pub we went to for food had amazing fish and chips, although they were on the more expensive side, they were still worth it. Finally, even though it started raining while we were walking around, there were still people walking around and enjoying the night which made the city feel even more alive.
The next favorite spot of mine is one I went to on my own and have already revisited twice. That spot is Highland Park, an amazing place to hike and one with a fantastic view throughout. When you get there you’ll find a trail that seems to go on forever in both ways and you’ll encounter families, workers, and people just out for a walk with their dogs. I have always been a fan of hiking and this trail is not difficult at all, just a straight path shaded by trees, but something about it makes it feel inherently peaceful. Highland Park has been one of my favorite parts of London so far, and I will surely be visiting there again.
Finally, Oxford offered both one of the best and worst experiences of my trip so far. The sights and stops there were informative and enjoyable to take part in. My group was able to tour the Oxford Castle and Prison as well as spend a few hours in the Ashmolean Museum. Of all the museums we’ve visited so far, this may have been the best. It had amazing artwork and relics from many different cultures and time periods, and their Roman section was a gem. What made this part of the trip bad however was the rain that lasted for six hours straight. I had accounted for the rain by bringing a raincoat and thought that I was well prepared but after that many hours in the rain, my coat gave in to the water and I was soon without any dry clothes at all. The rain eventually let up near the end of our trip and my clothes dried on the train ride home, but there for a while, it was almost unbearable. Overall, if rain is the worst thing to happen to me while I’m here I’ll be more than happy, and I look forward to the rest of the trip.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>My name is Eli McCoy, I'm going into my senior year at Indiana University in Bloomington and I'm currently a double major in History and English. I plan on going to Law School after I finish my undergraduate degrees and would like to work in Family Law. In my free time, I have a few hobbies that I am very passionate about and like to spend time on. The first is reading, something that has always been a passion of mine, I try to read somewhere between 15-20 books a year. I'm also a big fan of lifting and MMA, I lift 4-5 times a week and have been training boxing for almost 5 years now. Finally, I love all forms of poetry and love writing it myself in any form. I'm really looking forward to broadening my travels and experiencing a new culture!</p>