Wednesday June 21
Wednesday was a pretty uneventful day. After our weekly meeting I ventured to China Town to get a bubble wrap waffle. Almost everyone in the program had tried these before and they are somewhat Instagram famous. We had been told that the line could easily be an hour or longer, but since we went right before closing we waited closer to 40 minutes.
I got the oreo crunch cone which contained strawberry cheesecake gelato, crushed oreos and salted caramel sauce. It was really good, but not something I would stand in line for/ pay 7 pounds for more than once.
Thursday June 22
On Thursday I went to Hamley’s Toy Store. A giant 5 floor store filled completely with toys, super similar to F.A.O. Schwarz in New York.
After doing some window shopping around Regent Street I decided to go to Covent Garden. London’s 2017 Pride Festival runs from June 24th – July 9th, but there were already many cute decorations on the streets and in various shops. There was also free ice cream being given away from the cutest truck I’ve ever seen in the Covent Garden Piazza. All of the flavors sounded super fancy and I ended up going with the blackberry and bay flavor. This was by far some of the best ice cream I have ever had (the fact that it was free also may have contributed to this opinion).
Thursday afternoon my roommate and I were just sitting in our beds relaxing when actor Ansel Elgort (who stars in The Fault In Our Stars, Divergent, and the newly released film Baby Driver) sent out a tweet saying he would take pictures with anyone who came outside his hotel within the next hour before he left London to fly to Madrid. We quickly decided to go to the Corinthia Hotel, but what we didn’t know was that the entire cast of Baby Driver was staying at the hotel along with countless other celebrities.
If you’re ever bored in London just stand outside the Corinthia Hotel and I guarantee you’ll see someone famous.
Ansel was incredibly sweet as he took selfies with every single person outside. Then the paparazzi took some group shots that he later posted on his Instagram story.
We also saw Jamie Foxx leaving the hotel to continue the Baby Driver Press tour, along with the film’s director Edgar Wright. We saw Liam Gallagher (lead singer of Oasis), Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who), and someone said that Steve Carell’s car drove by the hotel (how they knew it was his car I have no idea).
Friday June 23
On Friday morning we took a train to Edinburgh, Scotland. We toured Edinburgh Castle which had some of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen. No matter which direction you looked there were beautiful green hills and rustic buildings. That night we went to an all you can eat buffet called Cosmo. This place was absolutely ginormous and the all you can eat aspect was great after being on the go all day. I’m not ashamed to say I had six macaroons and much more for dessert to ensure I got my money’s worth.
Saturday June 24
On Saturday we took a 12 hour bus tour. Yes you read that right, TWELVE HOURS. This was the only way to see all of the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness. Our first stop was the breath-taking Three Sisters in Scotland. We weren’t given much time to stop here, but did end up getting some pretty pictures.
After a few more hours on the bus we stopped at Loch Ness where we did a boat tour to look for Nessie. Unfortunately, there was no sign of her.
After stopping for lunch we boarded back on to the bus for a few more hours. At this point we were all pretty restless (especially since the air conditioning on the bus wasn’t working) so at our last bathroom stop before heading home some of us decided to get a drink at a local bar. On the bus, a group of us had made plans to meet at 2:50 in the morning the next morning to climb Arthur’s Seat in order to watch the sunrise. This meant we had two choices; either go to bed early or stay up all night. Most of us chose the latter and went to a super fun bar/club called Three Sisters.
Sunday June 25
After getting no sleep I went with a large group to climb Arthur’s Seat. What I didn’t realize before going is that it was in fact an actual climb. All of the ice cream I’ve been eating abroad must be catching up to me because getting to the top was strenuous to say the least. But the view was totally worth it. We got to the very top with plenty of time to spare before the sunrise. As we all huddled together against the wind in our Scottish scarves and blankets we had the best view of the sun rising over the town and water and town below.
After that I napped before roaming around Edinburgh for the rest of the day. We did some shopping along the Royal Mile, where there are countless tourist shops before stopping for lunch. I had heard about haggis and decided since I will most likely never be back to Scotland I might as well try it. I must say it was surprisingly really really good (at least on nachos). We headed back to London via the train that evening.
Monday June 26
On Monday we were all a little tired from our weekend away. Our first outing of the day got moved to Tuesday, so my only class excursion was going to the National Theatre that evening. We saw the show Common by D.C. Moore, a new original show starring Anne-Marie Duff (a famous actress where in the U.K.). To put it bluntly, the show was strange. It was difficult to follow and had no real spectacle or anything to draw people in. Of course this was the play I was assigned to give a ten minute presentation on, so maybe after reading the script it will make more sense and I will appreciate it more. Despite the show being a let down it was incredibly cool just to be at the National Theatre. From the balcony of the theatre there was a picturesque view as the sun set.
Tuesday June 27
Our first outing on Tuesday was a tour around Covent Garden.
We stopped at the Royal Opera House and heard a bit about its history and how our professor used to sneak in to shows there when he was in college.
For our second class of the day we actually had a substitute teacher since our professor had to go back to America to renew his driver’s license (which I find super funny for some reason). Our sub was a super cool guy who is very into art, so he decided to take us to a few private art galleries. These showings were meant for people looking to purchase the art, but it was a really different experience from simply seeing art in a museum, like we have done in a lot of classes here.
We had some time to kill before meeting up with our media and politics professor for our rescheduled outing, so we decided to stop somewhere to eat. We stumbled across this really nice Italian Caffe that was reasonably priced. Our table devoured chocolate milkshakes, a chocolate lava cake, and I got an apple crumble which was delicious.
Then we met our class at the Houses of Parliament. We were able to go inside and observe both the House of Lords and House of Commons in sessions. These giant rooms had extravagant decorations and seeing the two parties go back and forth discussing issues right in front of us was a really interesting experience. The House of Commons actually got pretty heated at some points as the Labour Party members directly called out the Conservatives’ lack of attention to issues relating to education. The House of Lords, on the other hand, was filled with much older members of Parliament who didn’t have quite that much zest in them.