Wednesday morning we flew to London. Leaving Dublin that morning, I was so sad to leave the friendly Irish people and the beautiful green landscape that passed under my plane window. But then I got to London and it was love at first sight and all was forgiven. London is such a perfect combination of old and new; a sweet cup of perfectly brewed tea in a modern stainless steel water heater. My senses were overwhelmed when I first stepped on to a London street. Compared to my relaxing few days in easygoing and constantly picturesque Ireland, London was a shock of honking horns and fast-walking businessmen and litter and the smell of hot dogs. Christina and I met up with our friend Kate who flew up from Italy. That evening, we saw the sights of London for the first time. Stepping out of the underground tube station into Parliament Square was the most incredible experience. I was face to face with Big Ben, the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye, brightly lit against the night sky. An evening stroll along the Thames and I was enthralled.
Next on our agenda was the London Eye, an overpriced-but-worth-it experience. Seeing the whole city from so high up was pretty amazing. While riding the eye, an American lady was talking loudly and annoyingly on her cell phone. A British lady turned to me, rolled her eyes, and said, “ugh…typical American“. I laughed awkwardly and turned away before she could find out I was American, too! The Tower of London was next on our agenda, and we happened to enter right when a tour was leaving led by a hilarious and awesome tour guide. We heard stories of beheading, saw where Ann Boleyn was beheaded, marveled at the Crown Jewels (AMAZING), and admired the armour of past monarchs.
Friday Kate and I did some shopping at Nottinghill Antique Market and Camden Market. We also did the classic Abbey Road crosswalk (even though it looked like your average crosswalk strangely populated with tourists taking pictures, there is something magical about walking in the footsteps of the Beatles). My favorite part of the day was going to King’s Cross and Platform 9 3/4. We also went to a “quite British” tea shop where I successfully used up my pounds.
Saturday morning Kate left for Siena and Christina and I split up for the afternoon because we each had a couple of different things we wanted to do before we left London. My first stop was Westminster Abbey. I couldn’t take pictures inside but I got to see the tombs of kings and queens, beautiful art, the coronation chair, and the tombs of Darwin, Robert Browning, Handel, Charles Dickens, Chaucer, and many other poets. Late saturday we flew back to Pisa, spent the night in a 18-person room at a hostel, and visited the Leaning Tower in the morning before returning home to Siena, completely exhausted from the best spring break of our lives. Italy welcomed us back with warm weather and men honking at us within 30 minutes of landing. It felt good to be “home.”
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);">Ciao! I’m Mary and I’m blessed to spend the semester in Siena, Italy. I’m a junior double major in Psychology and English at Hope College in the charming West Michigan town of Holland. I grew up in the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and love to go on adventures, have deep conversations, drink unnecessary amounts of chai tea, play the piano, become totally engrossed in books, and most of all—learn. I am very excited to be immersed in the Italian culture and beautiful language, learn to cook, and have the experience of a lifetime! I can’t wait to share my journey with you!</span></p>