Upon arriving in London, it took me a little bit of time to adjust to a few things: the time change, the traffic change (people in London drive like crazy…), and last but most certainly not least…the weather change. I thought I had finally mastered dressing for the slightly chilly and occasionally rainy London weather…that was until Mother Nature changed her weather game.
Last week we had a lot of rain. And I don’t just mean rain, I mean London rain. You may think that precipitation is the same wherever you go in the world—it’s just water falling from the sky—but this assumption is false. London rain is different. The sun could be high in the sky with only a few clouds in sight and then five minutes later you’re being misted by a sudden rain storm that lasts for only a couple minutes. You could be walking to class in a light drizzle which then turns into a heavy downpour which then turns into a foggy mist all within the span of five minutes. You could even be going for an afternoon walk, feel a few drops of rain land on your head, have an internal freak out as you remember that you left your umbrella at home, and not feel another drop of rain until you return later in the day. London weather is a confusing thing. However, since I arrived here I have seen a TON of beautiful rainbows. Although the weather has occasionally been dreary, it has never gotten the best of me!
On Wednesday morning, my roommate and I woke up early and braved the dreary weather in order to line up at the box office to see the show Matilda. Although it was misting outside and the theatre was a bit of a walk from our residence hall, we were able to make it to the theatre and purchase tickets for only five quid (pounds)! We celebrated with some (American) pancakes before heading to our architecture class (in the rain) in which we walked around St. Paul’s Cathedral (in the rain) as well as a few other churches in the area (in the rain). Later that evening we dried off and headed to the show! As a kid, Matilda was one of my favorite movies (I thought the scene where Bruce Bogtrotter had to eat the entire cake was hilarious) and so this musical was on my list of shows to see. It definitely did not disappoint! The music was great, the choreography was amazing, and Miss Trunchbull (played by a male actor) was hilarious. Despite all of the rain, we ended up having an amazing day!
On Saturday morning we woke up bright and early (again) and were happy to see that the sun was up and the sky was clear! We prepared ourselves (with plenty of layers) to head up to the—slightly colder—town of York. Located in North England, York is a extremely historical town with a huge 13th century Gothic Cathedral and walls built by the Romans in 71 AD! Our train from King’s Cross arrived and we went on a walking tour of the town and were able to walk right alongside the Roman walls. Our tour ended and we were able to explore the Minster Cathedral (which was HUGE) and get lost in York! We ended up walking around searching for a lunch spot and ended up at a little tea room on Shambles Street. Something I loved about the town was that the streets were narrow and covered with stone—you could walk right down the middle of the street and not have to worry about being in the way of cars or bikers (in London this is definitely not the case…). Shambles Street sort of had a Diagon Alley feel to it and was lined with Chocolate shops, bakeries, and little stores! We listened to a group of bagpipers, tried on fancy hats, and had delicious Bakewell Tart flavoured ice cream. Bakewell Tart is an English pastry that is made with almonds and jam—it’s delicious! I ended the day by taking some photos in front of the cathedral (the obligatory cartwheel picture…it was bound to happen at some point) before we headed back to the train station. Although York was a bit cold and the weather during the week was a little damp, I still managed to take advantage of this amazing country and all that it has to offer! There was no way that I was going to let weather get in the way of my explorations. And as Elsa said…the cold never bothered me anyway!
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<p>Natalie Walden is a Junior at Penn State University, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in International Studies and Vocal Performance. On any given day, you can find her around campus singing with her a cappella group or drinking Jamba Juice at one of the HUB tables. She is a brother of Phi Sigma Pi honors fraternity and one of the THON chairs of the Oriana Singers and Glee Club THON organization. Her talents include impersonating Britney Spears/Shakira and binge watching shows on Netflix (which she will not be doing much of while abroad...). Natalie has never been to Europe before and can't wait to share all of her amazing adventures across the pond!</p>