This week has flown by. It’s the first time in a while that time has rushed by and I couldn’t be happier because that means I’ve finally started to settle in. Naturally getting out of survival mode has allowed me to enjoy some of the finer things England has to offer. So, here’s how I spent the first week I felt at home in the UK.
SATURDAY, LONDON I had to wake up this morning at the unholy hour of 6am to make it all the way to West London to catch my bus. I decided a little while back that I needed to get out of town and see some of the other sights so I booked a trip to Stonehenge and Bath. After kicking myself out of my nice, warm bed and showering, I met up with Montana and we headed out to West London. Now you would think people would be asleep and not on the tube at 7am on a Saturday. Well, you would be wrong. The tube was packed all the way to the meeting place.
SATURDAY, STONEHENGE After a two-hour bus ride, we arrived at Stonehenge. It is actually, surprisingly, larger than it looks on TV. I have to say, the place is surprisingly impressive. It’s amazing to think about the work ancient people put into making the circle. While I didn’t meet any aliens, it was great just being out in the countryside. It turns out I had forgotten what fresh air smelled, tasted, and felt like. I would have been content just to stand in a field and breathe for the entire day. I forgot how much I adore expanses of green, nature, peace, and tranquility. It was well needed. Who knows, maybe I’m a country boy at heart after all.
SATURDAY, BATH After another hour or so we arrived at the town of Bath, home to Jane Austen and the famous Roman Baths. Our tour guide took us all on a walking tour of the city where I got to marvel at the beautiful streets, abbeys, and stately homes that make up the town. The city looks quintessentially British and like it never left the 1700s. I loved it. After seeing the sights, I wound up at a traditional British pub eating Nutella crepes. It was truly a fantastic day.
WEDNESDAY, WEST END Today I got highly cultured. I went to my first professional theatrical performance at one of the great West End Theatres. Now a quick backstory, last semester my drama class forced me to go to several productions. Never really a big theater lover before, I figured it wasn’t the worst homework ever. Surprisingly by the end of the semester, I was hooked on theater and live performances like I never thought possible. I even ended up attending a few productions just because.
Naturally, now that I live in one of the theater capitals of the world I knew I had to make it out to at least a couple of shows this semester. Well, that mission got off to a great start today when I caught the Wednesday matinee of Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre. Sydney managed to find some cheap tickets and invited me along. The show was wonderful. I have never seen a live show with such high production values before in my life. It was truly a sight to behold. Hopefully, I can manage to catch a couple more great shows while I’m here. (Hint: If anyone would like to profess their undying love and appreciation for me and buy a Wednesday matinee ticket to Hamilton, now is the time)
TUESDAY, GUY’S CAMPUS I am in love with Tuesdays this semester. With only one class (even though it’s at 9am) I have most of the day to do whatever I want. Plus, with Wednesdays being free, I have a miniature weekend in the middle of my week. Tonight, I went to my first ever trivia night with a few people from back home. Now the theme was Friends trivia and you would think a group of four Americans would be champs. Well, you would be very, very wrong. We were outsmarted by several teams of Englishmen at every turn. It was a dark night for team USA.
SUNDAY, PICCADILLY CIRCUS After what seemed like forever, I finally got out of the flat today after being cooped up sick for a while. On a whim, I decided to check out Piccadilly Circus. The way Piccadilly was described to me was as London’s Times Square. Figuring I should eventually check it out for myself, I boarded the tube and headed out.
My first thought upon emerging from the station in the middle of the circus was, “you know this place looks bigger on TV.” While it was strangely beautiful, in that advertising and shopping kind of way, I was struck at how small and intimate the square felt. It wasn’t overly crowded either. The buildings surrounding the area were also not that tall which probably helped make space feel smaller. I walked around just taking it all in and sat at the foot of the statue in the center of the square and people watched for a while. Soon, I decided I fulfilled my need for the circus and headed back home glad I checked another sight off the list.
Now that I’ve been semi-cultured, I can’t wait to see more of what London and England have to offer. While I don’t have any adventures planned for this week, I am planning on watching sporting events at hours when they should not be watched (Go Eagles! Go Heels!). Yes, I’ll be up at 1am for sports but hey it’s not study abroad unless you’re doing some weird stuff. And of course, if you want to hear some stories I didn’t have time to write this week or just want to chat about anything, drop me a line. I’ll probably pick it up. Now I need to start prepping for the big game tonight (well tomorrow morning but I digress), I’ll see you next Sunday.