Hello from England!
I'm afraid my time abroad is rapidly approaching its end. I've got just about eight days remaining before I'll have to start the journey back home to the United States, so I've taken this final weekend to make a trip to one city I've always wanted to visit: London, England. I'm lucky in that I've got a friend who lives here, and she's offered to show me around her favorite parts of the city today. Tomorrow, I'll be on my own to do the traditional tourist things, such as visiting the London Eye and Big Ben in the center of the city.
For now, though, we're taking our time and wandering about the town with no clear plans in mind. I arrived in London yesterday around 18:30, and spent my first night walking through the streets of downtown. What I've learned so far is that London is, in fact, dramatically different from Dublin. I've seen that a little bit in my previous explorations of other cities, especially Glasgow, but the change in the atmosphere and tone from one place to the next has yet to stop surprising me.
At their core, every city is made of the same stuff; there are a few tall office buildings, some residential streets, and a lot of shops and cafes along the roads. People are there to work, or maybe just to explore, but they're seeing essentially the same things they might see anywhere else. Bricks and stones and statues of all kinds can be found pretty much anywhere.
Somehow, though, they don't quite feel that way. Walking through a city, there's a very distinct character even in the way that intersections are divided up; some, like London, are circular and cars can come from any direction at any time. The sidewalks always tell you to look both ways before crossing, where Dublin's crosswalks are divided more evenly between "Look Left" and "Look Right." London feels much busier, more crowded; it is a faster city, a bigger city, and a fuller city. That much was clear to me within the first few minutes of getting off the train.
This is, mind you, a very preliminary assessment on my part. I've only been here one night, and I've got two more days to figure the city out!
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<p>Hi! My name is Taylor Haggerty. I'm twenty years old and currently go to school in Bloomington, Indiana, for magazine design and poetry. This summer I'll be studying English and history in Dublin, Ireland!</p>