London!

Molly Ballenger
March 2, 2022
London!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to go to London with my roommate Sammi! She decided to get a hotel in the city, while I got to stay with my old friend Holly, who lives in southeast London near Wimbledon. We unluckily chose to visit over the weekend that Storm Eunice rolled in, which was one of the worst storms that the UK has seen in a while, so we were glad for our planes to land safely and to make it into the city. The wind was crazy our first day; we could hardly stand up straight! But thankfully the rain held off, so we got to see the big sights like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. I also walked around Piccadilly Circus, a beautiful curving street with great shopping, and then took the Underground out to Holly’s house. 

The next day, I went to brunch with Holly and then headed into the city, meeting Sammi at Harrod’s Department Store! It was crazier than I could have ever imagined. I definitely couldn’t afford anything there, but it was fun to look around! Then, Sammi and I headed out to our big treat for the weekend: tea at the Milestone Hotel! We felt so fancy as the doorman, complete with classic doorman uniform, took our coats and led us to our table. We got to enjoy champagne, incredible pastries and sweets, and of course, delicious tea. After we finished, our new friend, the doorman, gave us a map and his own recommendations for how to spend the rest of our day. At his suggestion, we walked by Kensington Gardens, which is located right next to the hotel and is where William and Kate live! The doorman told us that he and William are friends since he dines at the hotel pretty regularly. Normally I’d assume he was teasing us, but I had good reason to believe him! 

The walk through the gardens was beautiful, and the street alongside it is where a few embassies are located. That put us out in the middle of Notting Hill, a picturesque neighborhood known for its namesake movie from 1999. The houses, all different pastel colors, all circle their own private gardens; it was so much quieter than the rest of London. It would be a dream to live there, for sure! 

Then, Sammi and I made our way over to the English National Gallery! It’s massive and contains iconic works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh. It was surreal to see so many famous works in person. 

We finished our day with drinks at Sammi’s hotel and then some of London’s famous Indian food. We went to a little restaurant that actually led us underground to what looked like an old Tube station! It was so cool, and the food was delicious. 

On our last day in London, we got to see Saint Paul’s Cathedral, which was stunning, then King’s Cross station for the admittedly cliche but fun Harry Potter picture spot, and then Paddington Station! We finished our trip with lunch at the market in Covent Garden, which was so exciting and happy, with talented buskers around every corner performing musical and magic acts. 

Visiting London was a dream come true, and my weekend exceeded every expectation. It’s a true testament to how wonderful the city is that we could enjoy it immensely even amidst a huge storm. I’ll definitely be back someday!

Molly Ballenger

<p>I'm an English and Religion major at Furman University from Lookout Mountain, Georgia. At school, I'm on the leadership team for several campus ministries, I work at my school's farm, and I play club ultimate frisbee! In my free time, I enjoy being outside, climbing, and playing guitar, as well as spending time with friends.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2022 Spring
Home university:
Furman University
Hometown:
Lookout Mountain, GA
Major:
English
Religious Studies
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