Posts tagged ‘East End’

January 23, 2011

Orientation Weekend: check.

So this weekend we pretty much just got through all of the tourist-filled attractions that London has to offer. The rest of the interns got here on Friday afternoon, went through the same introduction meeting that we had on Wednesday, and then life clicked into fast-forward & nonstop mode.

Rusty is the director of the semester in London program and he is hysterical, helpful and LEAVING this Wednesday. 😦 Friday afternoon they split us up and sent us on a scavenger hunt-type walk around the city. It was actually a great way to learn our neighborhood and the area. We saw a ton of cute looking pubs and shops, got to cross the Hungerford bridge & got great shots of Big Ben, The London Eye and the other typical sights on the London skyline. We continued on an awfully cold night for a “Twilight Thames” walk led by Rusty. It actually was painfully cold so we cut it short by a little and headed back to Bloomsbury for some dinner atWagamama. We knew that if Kelly, Liz & Erin went home they would crash for a good night’s sleep of about 12+ hours, SO we went straight to the pub, Friend at Hand. 🙂 I can’t wait until I’m comfortable walking into a pub. It’s very awkward walking in…10 times out of 10, there’s no seating, but nobody else is standing, and everybody just stares at you as you try to figure out what to do. After you get past that little hump, pubs are awesome and exactly what you’re probably picturing them to be…minus the fact that most of them close before 12. So, after the last call, we made the short trek back to the house and slept the night away.

Bright and early on Saturday we had an official orientation for our house: rules & policies and such. We got sent away on another neighborhood scavenger-hunt walk, and then set free for lunch. Annalina, Paul, Liz & I found this cafe that ended up being really delicious..Five Star Cafe. The second half of the day was a guided tour of the East End, which included a lot of interesting stories and very cool parts of town (markets, pubs, Brick Lane) that I’ll be revisiting for sure.

Last night we went out to a pub and then a club called The Den. We got a taste of European nightlife and started to meet some local Londoners. A lot of American students live in our area (You can’t miss the familiarity of loud, obnoxious voices walking along the streets) so hopefully we’ll get to meet them too. Today we went on a Royal London walk, and saw Buckingham Palace, Westminister Abbey, Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament. It was nice to get all of the big attractions out of the way this weekend, and now we can explore to more than just the touristy skirts of London. After our walk we were set free for lunch and Kelly, Erin & I just found a local cafe and got burgers: how American. 🙂 (We’re beginning to set up trips for our free weekends..Spain, Sweden, Germany, Malta, Ireland and Denmark are for sure on my “to-see” list.) After our lunch break we had a meeting with a local officer to talk to us about safety & precautions in London, especially because we’re American and usually the targets. We went on our first adventure grocery shopping in London, which has its minor differences but overall not that big of an adventure.

First grocery shopping experience in London!

I don’t think that I can emphasize enough how much we walk. I expected it, but we literally leave for the day, walk all day, and just come back to sleep. My feet are sore, and I hope this is just me “breaking in” all of the walking. I absolutely love it though. City life is the way to go. Tonight is actually the first night that we’ve had a few hours to relax and actually properly check up on lives back in the USA. But classes start tomorrow, so everyone will have somewhat of a routine.

The weekend overall: a little rough with everyone adjusting but extremely successful!