March has been an absolute whirlwind. The last three weeks have been packed with trips, adventures and experiences as we try to squeeze the most out of the rest of our time here…cue panic attack.
We started on Thursday with our tour of Highgate Cemetery. The weather was perfect, and the park and cemetery were just the right balance of manicured and overgrown. We had some time to kill before our afternoon class, so Ciera and I came back to enjoy some food and a drink at Camden Lock market. Almost 60 degrees and sunny weather makes it even harder (if that’s possible) to imagine having to leave. All of the flatmates still had parents in town Thursday night, so I hung out and made my London karaoke debut with six of the other Mizzou girls.
Saturday was another beautiful day, so we went up to Hampstead to get crepes and then Spitafields Market to wander through their vintage pop up stands. After tearing myself away from buying the place out, I met up with my friend, Andy, who was in town from Paris. It was fun to catch up with someone from home, even if it wasn’t a very long visit.
Despite a severe lack of green clothing, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday in Trafalgar Square. The parade was slightly underwhelming, but I’m spoiled by a lifetime of New Orleans parades. If I’m not dodging cabbages and beads, what am I supposed to do while standing on the side of the road? The square was full of people eating, drinking and listening to performers. I got my first Guinness and we spent the afternoon sitting on the steps enjoying the sunshine (see also: getting sunburnt). We started talking to the people sitting around us, and when I said I was from New Orleans, one of the guys asked if I had heard of Dat Dog. I said I was surprised some one from here had heard of the restaurant, but yes, and I’ve actually eaten there. I had no idea one of the business partners was from the U.K., but he is and this guy knew him. If I’ve learned anything on this trip, it’s that the world is a lot smaller than I ever realized.
I started interviewing, filming and editing videos for my internship’s “What does the EU do for you?” campaign. It’s nice to be back in the broadcast realm and to see all of the background work I’ve been doing finally coming together.
Friday night was House of Lions single release party for their new song “Uncruel,” and it was possibly the most fun and definitely the most British night I’ve had in London. It’s the only time I’ve actually hung out with an entire room of British people my age because my building and classes are both fully American. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and they thoroughly enjoyed making me try to say things in a British accent and laughing at me when it was terrible. It’s truly unfair their American impressions are so much better than my British one. The concert itself was fantastic, and ending with a cover of “Twist and Shout” was almost too perfectly British for me to handle.
I left to meet Ciera, Kelsey and Christi in Dublin on Saturday morning, and it was the most stressful experience of my life. I’m still not sure if I turned off my alarm or if it never went off, but I woke up in a panic at 8 am realizing I slept over an hour longer than I intended. I flew out of bed, got dressed and ran out the door in approximately three minutes. Shaking from adrenaline and nerves that I was going to miss my flight, I took the Tube from Camden Town to Victoria, the Gatwick express from Victoria to the airport, and finally made it to my gate by 9:29. The gate supposedly closed at 9:30. Not something I ever want to do again. I eventually made it to Dublin in a better mental state with make up on and contacts in, and met up with the girls at our hotel. We regrouped, got lunch and went on a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. On the way to the brewery, we ran into a guy wearing a Mizzou sweatshirt who said his brother just graduated from MU and he is starting there next year. Again, the world is just too small. During the tour, we learned to pour the perfect pint and then headed up to the gravity bar on the top floor. It was a beautiful view and gave me a good crash course in Dublin landmarks. We trekked back to our hotel, rested for a bit and got ready for the evening. We started with dinner at Porterhouse then moved on to O’Neill’s and Temple Bar for drinks and live music. We all fell in love with Dublin because the trip seemed more about experiences rather than seeing big attractions.
Last Saturday, we took a day trip to Oxford. We hopped off the bus, and about 10 minutes later, were at the top of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin overlooking the city. We successfully shimmied around the top of the tower in what felt like a gutter, and then went to wander through the city and around Christ Church College. We went punting after we, thankfully, were able to switch our reservation from a self-driving boat tour to chauffeur-guided one. None of us wanted to end up in the river or stranded along a bank like the many of the self-driving boats we saw while waiting in line. Ciera’s jacket sleeve took a little swim, but compared to what would’ve happened if some one trusted me to steer a boat, it was a fixable problem. We made our way to the Eagle and Child pub for dinner and drinks. Along the way, we completely stumbled upon a priory run by Dominican Blackfriars. I got way too excited (you can take the girl out of Dominican…), took a couple of pictures, and then we kept walking to the pub. Nods to Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were sprinkled throughout the bar where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to chat. It was fun to people watch and chat in good company. Similar to Dublin, we had certain things we planned to do, but it was more about just exploring Oxford.
Sunday we finally took a trip to Abbey road and took a proper touristy photo. We got lunch at Chipotle, which was I was probably more excited about than I should have been, and went to 221b for the Sherlock Holmes museum. It was interesting to see the replicated rooms, but I don’t think I’m a big enough fan to appreciate it like some others were.
I can’t believe it’s already April. March was so full and busy, but somehow still seemed to fly by. I’m looking forward to making the most of this last month here, especially if it’s as fun as March was.
This is a long but very good article in this month’s Smithsonian. It covers much of what you have seen and might suggest a couple more you should do before you go home J