My last stop on my European adventure was London to visit one of my sorority sisters, Maggie. She was so great with helping me get everything together for my time there. I had to say my last good byes to Prague on my last night there, so I went on a walk around some of the city one last time before meeting up with some friends. That night I said good bye to all my friends from Prague at 3:30 in the morning, which was extremely difficult. I got into the van to take me to the airport with everyone leaving that day. I got to the airport at 4am, but my flight wasn’t until about 11, so I slept in the airport until I could check in to my flight. I was surprised to find one of the girls was on my flight to London, so it was nice to have a familiar face on my flight. When I got to London, I actually had a huge culture shock from being able to understand everyone around me! I was not used to hearing English anymore and it was a pretty big adjustment back to hearing English. London was the first country on my trip that English was the main language.
Maggie met me at the airport and we got some lunch after dropping off my bags at my apartment in the London USAC building. It was a really nice building and I had my own room, but I didn’t have wifi in my room, so that was a pretty difficult adjustment for me. It was fun to be able to get to know some of the people who were in the London USAC program after getting to know the people in the Prague USAC program. They were all very nice and fun to spend time with. I even ended up running into a guy who was in the Prague Summer Session I program who I had been in the program with me for my first week abroad.
After grabbing some lunch, Maggie and I walked around for a bit and saw Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. The next day, a few of us went on a tour of the Tower of London. We took tours of the different buildings and learned a lot of history of the place. One tower was called Bloody Tower. We learned that when a king died, his brother kidnapped the king’s two sons and killed them so that he could have the throne for himself. No one knew what happened to the boys until their remains were found in a chest several hundred years later in the tower. After, we walked across the Tower Bridge.
The next day, I went on an adventure of my own! Maggie had class that day, so I explored and navigated around London by myself and it was so much fun! After meeting Maggie for breakfast, she headed to class and I headed to Hogwarts! I went to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station and took the picture that I have dreamed of taking for so many years. After becoming Hogwarts’ newest Ravenclaw, I went to a museum that was really interesting. Part of it focused on fashion throughout the past century. It also had a lot of history on England and it’s culture. There was also some history on other parts of the world. I made my way to Harrods, which is a huge department store with designers like Tom Ford, Prada and soooo many more. After that, I went back to my apartment to rest a little after walking around London all day and then went to dinner with Maggie and a couple of her friends. I ordered some schnitzel and beer because I have having some serious Prague withdrawals. It was pretty depressing that the beer was about $7 though because it was so much cheaper in Prague. Maggie and her friends had to leave to go see a play for one of their classes, so I went and got a waffle with Nutella for dessert. The next day, I took a tour of Parliament with Maggie and her class. Someone from her class backed out, so I was lucky enough to be able to join the tour for free. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside, but it was so interesting to learn how ideas become laws and the Queen’s routine for it.
I was able to see a few famous sights after the Parliament tour and take some fun pictures. Some of us went to get what Maggie’s friends described as “the best burger in the world.” And it was pretty delicious.
Everyone went back to the apartment and I walked to Kensington Palace. There was a really pretty view of the sun setting over the grounds. People were playing soccer, riding their bikes and walking their dogs. It was a really nice walk by myself, especially since it was my last night in Europe. I got to take it all in for the last time and say good bye to my great time in Europe. I woke up at 5:30 the next morning to start making my way to the airport. Carrying all of my bags to the tube and to the airport was not easy, the trip home was long and tiring. I was sad to be ending my trip, but I was excited to see everyone from home and tell them all about my trip!