Having another amazing day. Today I woke up and got ready to go down and walk around more. When I got to the lobby I saw some Iowa students just arriving. I sat down there with them as they waited for their rooms to get cleaned. I hadn’t met many of them before, so it was good to talk to them more. Then about 10 USC students walked in. I almost booed them out of the place since I’m still upset about the 2002 Orange Bowl.
At the desk I finally got my orientation packet from EUSA (the London program that we are going through). It includes all the activities that we will be taking part in. I was pleasantly surprised to find an envelope filled with tickets to the London Eye, the Absolut IceBar, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Shakespeare’s Globe, and “Romeo and Juliet” at the Open Air Theater. I am so excited for all of these places. Neighborhood walking tour tonight, Scavenger Hunt tomorrow along with dinner at Covent Garden, Pub night on Wednesday, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Thursday, a “Blue Badge” tour (not exactly sure what it is, but it says 3 hours long) and “Romeo and Juliet” on Saturday, and a boat tour of Greenwich on Sunday. Not a bad week.
Also in the packet was my Oyster card, providing unlimited use of subways and buses around London. Just scan it and walk right through the gate. Since all the Iowa students were just settling in, I decided to go explore some more with my Oyster card. I just got on the tube not knowing where I was going to stop or what I would do.
My first stop was Covent Garden. I had heard about it but never really knew what it was. It’s a little market area with many shops and restaurants and people putting on their street shows like card tricks. I walked around here for about an hour. Many people were walking around Covent Garden. Since I like to people watch in Iowa City, you can only imagine how much better it is to people watch in London. I sat down for about 15 minutes just to take it all in.
I then jumped back on the Tube and took it one stop down to Leicester Square. I then walked down to Trafalgar Square in “Aw” looking at all the buildings and different structures. Trafalgar Square has the big lion statues that you always see in pictures along with the National Gallery. I got the chills as I sat and looked at these. People from all over the world. Seemed like 1 out of 4 people I walked past spoke a different language. I saw in the distance down the street was Big Ben. Naturally I kept walking that direction.
Along my way, I passed by a place where there was a crowd of people so I walk over towards them. Here were the guards that I’ve heard so much about. At one spot there was one guard standing and another sport were 3 guards with horses. Very interesting to see as everyone took pictures of them.
I continue of my way and get closer to Big Ben and the House of Parliament. What a huge building. It’s amazing to think about all the history of this building. When I am taking pictures of this building, I notice the London Eye close by. So I walk over to the Thames River and take some more pictures. I decided to head back after this as I’m getting pretty tired of walking (probably walked at least 5 or 6 miles). Instead of taking the tube, I decided to try to take the bus back so I can see more along the way. I figured it all out, got on the right bus, and it dropped me off in Kings Cross. It’s amazing how easy it is to learn these public transportation systems. Seems like the Iowa City Cambus was harder to learn than the tube.
I just got back to my room to find that my roommate had arrived. He is also part of the Iowa program and he is from China. Funny to hear him say that he’s from a “smaller” city in China with only 1 million people.
It’s great to know that this isn’t just a vacation, I’m actually living here. I would usually be hurrying around while sightseeing since time would be limited, but a few times I just sat down and relaxed since I know I could ride the tube back down tomorrow if I wanted to. There’s so much to see and I plan to see as much as I can over the next 8 weeks.
Well the walking tour starts in 10 minutes so I’m going to finish my microwavable Macaroni and Cheese (not Easy Mac) which is surprisingly good. Talk to you soon.