I am very sad to say that this will be my last post on my study abroad blog. Over the past 4 months I have learned so much, about the world and myself. I’ve been so blessed to have this experience and live my dreams. I am happy that I decided to blog about my journey, and have followers like you supporting me throughout all my adventures…so thank you!
There are many people that I could not have done all of this without, and I just want to give them all a quick shout-out.
- Thanks to my Nana and Papa for always supporting me…even though I know you worried every single day about me! Thanks for being my #1 blog followers too!!
- Thanks to my brother, who always managed to tease me on Skype and make me feel like I was back home.
- Thanks to my best friends, who kept me laughing 3,000 miles away and always cheered me up when I was homesick.
- Thanks to Mark, who bravely watched me venture across the world, to live in Spain for 4 months, with a smile on his face. That’s not an easy task for a boyfriend to do, and I am so grateful for his non-stop support in every new adventure I take on!
- Thanks to my past teachers and professors (some of whom follow my blog), for helping to shape me into the person I am today. I would have never been interested in international relations, Spanish or traveling if it weren’t for some of my favorite teachers/professors who inspired me! (You know who you are.)
Finally…there are two very important people I owe it all to.
Mom & Dad. You guys never cease to amaze me. I am inspired and motivated by you every single day of my life. I could have never accomplished all that I managed over the years without your love and support. I wasn’t afraid to adventure out into this world because of you both, so thank you.
This ones for you...
THANK YOU MOM & DAD FOR GIVING ME THE WORLD. XOXO
Now that I’ve had time to readjust and organize my pictures, I’ve decided to share with you some silly ones I’ve taken in some really cool places! For those of you who are not familiar with the term “selfie”, it’s basically a picture you take of yourself! Now that we have things clarified, I hope you enjoy my edition of “Selfies All Over the World”!
Trevi Fountain Selfie
Vatican Museum Selfie
Top of St. Peter’s Basilica Selfie
Tower Bridge Selfie
Big Ben Selfie.
London Eye Selfie
Eiffel Tower Selfie #1
The Louvre Selfie
Venus de Milo Selfie
Mona Lisa Selfie
Arc de Triomphe Selfie
Eiffel Tower Selfie #2
Sunset at the “End of the World” Selfie
Torre de Oro Selfie
Plaza de España Selfie
Hello everyone! Like promised, here is a post on my travel tips regarding London! It’s an amazing city, and definitely worth visiting!! But before you do–check out some of these tips!
Keep calm and visit LONDON…
- The Underground (also called the Tube) is London’s metro system! It is very easy to navigate but relatively expensive. For a one way ticket on a bus/metro it is a little over 2 pounds.
- I recommend purchasing a metro/bus day pass for 8 pounds! One way trips add up quickly, and since London is such a large city, you are going to want to take advantage of the day pass!
- The busses are also relatively easy to navigate, but the Tube is much quicker/simpler in my opinion!
- If you are flying Ryan Air and landing in Standsted, I recommend using Terravision bus (just like I mentioned in Rome) because it is very reliable, and there are busses every half hour or so! http://www.terravision.eu/london.html
- I do not recommend Easy Bus! Since we missed the last bus at 1:00am because our flight landed late, we had to sleep in the airport. They also made us re-purchase a ticket to catch the 4:30am bus! Terravision is you’re best/cheapest option to get into the city, and the busses run much more frequently!
- Big Ben/ Parliament. When most people think of London, they envision Big Ben. You must snap a quintessential picture by the phone booth in front of Big Ben!
- The London Eye. Although I did not venture for a trip on the actual London Eye, I did snap some pictures and view it’s beauty from a distance. For those interested in actually taking the trip, it costs around 20 Pounds and I heard the wait is very long. I would consider buying your tickets online, ahead of time, to avoid the lines! London Eye Tickets
- Buckingham Palace. Besides taking a few pictures in front of Buckingham Palace, and admiring it’s beauty, the only other thing we did was watch the changing of the guards. It’s best to arrive early, about half hour-45 minutes before in order to get a good spot! For information about dates/times check here: Changing of the Guard
- Abbey Road. For any Beatle’s fans, take the time to head out of the bustling city on a bus for about 15 minutes to find yourself in the quiet area of Westminster. Abbey Road studios is right next door to the famous crosswalk. If you can avoid getting hit by a car, have a friend snap a picture of you crossing!! (Just note, there are multiple Abbey Road bus stops to get off at–we made the mistake of getting off the bus too early and had to walk almost a half a mile up the road to find the studio and crosswalk!)
- Westminster Abbey. Although we actually did not go inside, it’s a beautiful church and I recommend taking the time to go in! (It’s where Princess Kate and Prince William were married!!) For information about prices and times, check out this link. Westminster Abbey
- St. Paul’s Cathedral. The beautiful cathedral where Princess Diana married Prince Charles. Definitely worth a visit inside (although we also did not have the time) St. Paul’s Cathedral Tickets
- Tower Bridge. Many people think this is London Bridge, but it’s not! However, it is an image that comes to mind when you think of London, especially thanks to the last summer Olympics where the rings were hung from!
- Piccadilly Circus. This is sort of like London’s own version of Times Square. Worth checking out for sure!
- Covent Gardens. This area was recommended by a friend who studies abroad in London. It has really cute places to eat and a lot of great outdoor markets to shop at! It’s the perfect place to find hand-made goodies to bring home for friends and family!
- Millennium Bridge. This is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Thames! You might recognize it from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.
- King’s Cross Station. Also for Harry Potter lovers, home to Platform 9 3/4! Where you can take an awesome picture before you board the Hogwarts Express!
- Camden Town. This is actually the area Kayla and I stayed in when we visited London! It’s really a hidden gem! It has cute restaurants, pubs and markets to shop at! I recommend going to Poppies for lunch or dinner (home to the best fish & chips in London!!). Also, if you’re interested in grabbing a beer, check out “The World’s End”.
- Museums. Great news, all museums in London are free to the public! So if you’re a museum lover like myself, and have the time, go check some out!!
- Fish & Chips. Go to Poppies in Camden Town!!!!!!
- Beer. London is known for having pubs all over the city!!
- London is an amazing place but is very expensive. When you consider the Pound to US dollar, or Euro exchange rate it can make you a little nauseous, especially if you are on a budget like me! Try not to think too much into the prices, but be cautious of you’re spending! 20 pounds is really more like $40!
Cleanliness: * * * *
- London gets four stars for cleanliness. Similar to most large cities, you can’t help but feel dirty touching the handle on the metro or walking along the street! However, when you consider the size of London, it’s cleanliness is very impressive. (I couldn’t imagine New York City ever being that clean!)
Safety: * * * * *
- London gets five stars for safety. I felt very comfortable and at ease in London. It could be due in part to that fact that I understood what everyone was talking about around me, but it seemed like a very safe atmosphere. Some police officers were not even carrying guns! This definitely made me feel at ease!
Transportation: * * *
- London gets three stars for transportation. Although the transportation system is very easy to figure out, it is very pricey! If you are not careful, the price of metro and bus tickets can add up quickly! For those who live/study in London, transportation costs can be a big hassle. I highly recommend getting a day pass when visiting!
Food: * * *
- London gets three stars for food. I had great meals at all the places I ate, but I give it only three stars because it was very similar to home for me. There were no particular foods that I felt inclined to try other than the fish. In comparison to Rome and Paris, London food is significantly less impressive.
Friendliness of People: * * * * *
- London gets five stars for friendliness. Maybe it was the comfort that everyone spoke my native language, but it seemed to me that every person was willing to point me in the right direction when looking for help. The people who worked at the metro stations were always available to ask questions on which stop will get you closer to where you want to be, etc. In my opinion, the people of London were very friendly!
Overall Cost of Visiting the City: *
- London gets one star for the overall cost of visiting. As a college student on a budget, the exchange rate to the pound is enough to make you cry! Just realize that when planning a trip to London, things are going to be almost twice as expensive as you would expect in the states, and relatively more expensive than those places that use the Euro. Although a price of coffee might look the same to you, remember that it is in pounds! London, however, can be done on a budget if you’re aware of the high exchange rate!
Days Needed to See the City: 1 Week
- You definitely need at least a week in London to enjoy all it has to offer! Our two days in London were spent frantically running all over the City to see everything quickly! To have a more relaxed time in London, and be able to actually go up on the London Eye, visit some of the cathedrals and museums–take a week! If you’re a college student like me who’s studying abroad, you can make due with a weekend, but rest up–because it’s going to be a crazy trip!!
London is an amazing city!! After spending over a month and a half in a Spanish speaking country, it felt almost as if I was home again being surrounded by English speakers and American-like-food. I also was able to see one of my best friend’s from home, which was awesome! I really want to visit London again, next time for more than just two days!! It is a huge city, with so much to offer! The farther you go off the beaten path, the cooler the city gets!
Again, let me know if you have any questions about London!! Hope you guys get the chance to go someday, if you haven’t already! It’s an incredible city!! xoxo
Cheers everyone! I’m sorry this post is a little delayed, but I finally have time to write about my weekend in London! Kayla and I knew we wanted to make it to London but didn’t know if we would have the time or money. However, when Kayla found out we could stay in her friend, Steph’s, apartment for the weekend, we spontaneously booked a flight and before we knew it, found ourselves in England!
Our flight landed very late Friday night (1:00am, so technically it was Saturday) and we missed the last bus that would take us from Stansted airport to downtown London. Guess it wouldn’t be a real study abroad experience if we didn’t have to sleep in the airport at least one night, right? We were only able to really get an hour of (uncomfortable) sleep and then caught the 4:30am bus to London. We finally made it to Steph’s apartment at 6:30am…as the sun was rising and people were heading to work! Lucky for us, we got to take a quick 3 hour nap and then we were off to explore the wonderful city of London!!
First thing we did when we woke up, was head off to Buckingham Palace to meet my best friend from home, Julia, who is studying abroad in London! It was so awesome to see someone from home!!
Lucky for us, Julia took us on a little walking tour of the city! Here are some pictures of what we saw!!
Although we had bad luck missing our bus at the beginning of the trip, we were lucky enough to have amazing weather in London! It was sunny and 60 all weekend!
Beautiful park across from Buckingham Palace!
Tower of London! Once the location of many executions, now the home of the Royal Jewels!! We didn’t have time to go in but we stopped by!
Everyone recognizes this bridge, and mistakes it for London Bridge! It is actually called Tower Bridge! London bridge is nothing special, but we did walk along the river to see it!
It’s difficult to see in this picture, but this is Millennium Bridge! I referred to it as the “Harry Potter bridge” because it is in the 7th movie! I didn’t know the bridge was real, but it is made for pedestrians to walk across to get to the other side of the river!
Usually I am not a fan of bridges, but we had to take a walk on it and check out the view! In the background: St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Diana got married)! I wasn’t a big fan of walking on this bridge because you could feel it moving!! Didn’t stay on it too long!
Across the river, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater! It is not the actual original theater because it burned down, but it is a replica of what it did look like!
We had the chance to walk around St. Paul’s Cathedral after leaving the river!
Next stop, Big Ben and Parliament!
Then the London Eye!! Unfortunately, Julia had to go after this but she sent Kayla and I off with some places to visit! So very happy I got to see her though!!
We walked around Piccadilly Circus, which is kind of like Time’s Square but on a much smaller scale! This is also where part of the 7th Harry Potter movie was filmed!! (Can you tell I love Harry Potter…?)
Then we visited Covent Gardens! I really enjoyed this part of London and recommend it to anyone looking for a cool place to shop! It reminded me of Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market in Boston! There were street performers, lot’s of people walking around, cute shops and good food! We visited this outdoor market in Covent Gardens with a lot of really cool hand made things!
After some shopping & a couple metro stops later, we made it to King’s Cross Station!! And of course we found Platform 9 3/4!!!
In case anyone was wondering, I’m transferring to Hogwarts!!!
Finally….after running around the city, navigating the Tube and shopping, we made our way back to Steph’s apartment in Camden town! (Don’t ask me how we were still awake!) The three of us ventured around Camden Town for a bit (a very nice, artsy part of London that I suggest you visit if you go!) We were told by Steph’s roommates to try this restaurant near their apartment called “Poppies”.
Little did we know that “Poppies” happened to be voted the best fish & chips in London for 2014!! I actually don’t like fish, but Kayla tried the fish & ships, and said it was awesome! I got chicken pot pie, it was REALLY good! The restaurant had a really great environment and had a live band playing music! If you are ever in Camden town, go check it out!
After dinner, we mustered up the energy to go to a pub! (You can’t visit London and not get a beer, right??) Luckily, we stayed in Camden Town and went to this bar up the street called “The World’s End”. It was a big bar, that had an edgy vibe and played rock music! It was a really cool place, and seemed to be where a lot of locals in Camden Town go!
We went to the top level to sit at a table and here is a view of below!
Steph recommended we try the Cider beer…and we loved it!!! After one drink, we all went back early to crash! I never knew a couch could feel so comfortable, but missing a night of sleep can do that to ya!
The next day, we got up early and packed our bags! Unfortunately, Steph was going to be gone all day so we would not be able to get back into her apartment…this meant we had to carry our bags all over London with us!! (My shoulder’s are still sore…) Oh well, it was an adventure!
Our main goal of the day was to find Abbey Road! We hopped on a double decker red bus and headed to Westminster! We didn’t realize there was more than one stop on Abbey Road, so we hopped off at the first stop and started walking…we walked for almost 30 minutes before we found the infamous Abbey Road Studio and crosswalk.
These pictures are for you Dad! xoxo
Below a picture of Abbey Road studio!
Abbey Road is actually a pretty busy street, so it is harder than you think to get a picture like this!
But I did it!
It’s hard to see, but Abbey Road studio is on the left side of the cross walk! This was one of my favorite parts of my trip. The whole time I just kept saying, “this is so cool, my Dad would love this” (Miss you Dad!!!!)
After crossing the infamous road, like the Beatles once did, we headed back to central London! We walked around Big Ben again and saw Westminster Abbey (where Will and Kate got married!)
Then we hiked back to Buckingham Palace (bags included…) to see the Changing of the Guards! It was very crowded!!
Unfortunately, since our bags slowed us down, we were late and had to stand very far away! We were unable to really see what was happening in front of Buckingham Palace but we hung around anyways! After 20 minutes, we decided to head towards the street our bus stop was on that would take us back to the airport. We wanted to have time for lunch before leaving.
And, since Kayla and I seem to have very strange luck, as we were trying to cross the road to leave Buckingham Palace, the police officer helping to direct traffic told us we had to wait until the guards went by before we could cross the street… Leave it to us to be front row…
After this, we grabbed some food and headed to the airport! I still feel like I am catching up on the sleep I missed our first night in London!
Overall, the weekend was amazing. London surpassed my expectations and I am so happy we had the chance to go. Two days was not long enough, and I wish we had more time! I will definitely be making the trip back one day to visit again. The city was beautiful, but very huge! I didn’t realize how bust and crowded it was either! Also, it was nice hearing English everywhere and to be able to read signs and menus again! My only complaint about London was how expensive it was! The exchange rate for the pound is ridiculous! We managed to visit on a budget, however, which was perfect!
I’m not exactly sure how we were able to see so much in 24 hours (running on no sleep) but we did! We saw…Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Gardens, King’s Cross Station and Abbey Road.
I fell in love with London and hopefully will be going back to visit again! Next stop: Paris!!