As if having class once a week is too rigorous, we also have a week off in the middle of the semester to “catch up” on all those two-question worksheets we’re assigned. I, with one of my flatmates, took the opportunity to travel to London and explore the city for a long weekend. She had been before, which proved very helpful in locating things and getting around. We took the train from Manchester to London Euston on Friday afternoon which was easy and quick. The hardest part of the weekend was finding our hostel. We got off at the wrong tube stop and wandered around for a while before asking someone for directions, getting on a bus for five minutes, asking someone else for directions, and then finding it down a dark street with no signage. The hostel itself was above a pub of which we thankfully knew the name. You could say this place had a lot of character. The two women who owned it were very nice and so were the other students staying there. And the resident dog who sat on our feet every night until we rubbed her. And the drunken irish man who told us to watch a great movie of which I cannot remember the name on the third night we were there after having a miscommunicated conversation wherein we were saying ‘Missouri’ and he ‘misery.’
That night, we went into the city to see the lights at night and eat the best waffle I’ve ever had. We walked around Westminster, the London Eye, and took in the night life of London on a Friday. It got dark really early there which made it feel much later than it was. On Saturday, we got off at the same tube stop near Big Ben and got on an open-top tour bus (the exact kind you imagine when picturing London). Even though it was raining most of the day, it was a lot of fun. We got off at Buckingham Palace, walked around the gardens there, got back on and went through Trafalgar Square where there was an NFL rally happening (?) and thousands of people filled the square. Later on, we got on a small cruise boat and went for a ride along the Thames down to the London Tower and the Tower Bridge, which everyone thinks is the London Bridge but apparently is not.
On Sunday we tackled the museums- The National History, Science, and Albert and Victoria Museums. All of which are within 400 yards of each other in South Kensington, a very nice, European-looking part of London. The Natural History Museum had all kinds of skeletons from animals I’ve never heard of and the Science museum engines and evolutions of mechanisms that I don’t understand because linguistics. The A&V was very cool and had everything from fine china of ancient royalty to original theatrical costumes from Phantom and Les Mis to busts of Henry V and Ghandi. Afterward, we walked along the cobble-stone streets and found a very cute and cozy bookstore to mull around in before heading back to the hostel.
People in London are very akin to those in NYC- fast-walking, rude, and largely oblivious. I never thought I’d say it but Manchester offers a much nicer demographic. Just city life, I suppose.