Well hiya! Now that I’m back in the States, I can finally share some of my stories from my incredible j-term trip abroad, since time for blogging and consistent wifi access (shout-out to #WIFIAP) were few and far between while on the trip.
3 weeks ago, we arrived in London, but actually getting there was half the adventure! With the lovely Minnesota-January weather comes lots of airline delays. From waiting to just check in for over an hour, to our flight to D.C. leaving almost 2 hours late, it was quickly apparent that we would not be getting anywhere fast. We constantly eyed the clock nervously–our flight to London from D.C. was scheduled to leave at 10PM, giving us just 50 minutes for our layover. When we finally arrived in D.C. at 10:30, we sprinted to our gate…only to find that our plane had left just minutes before. Cue more waiting….and eventually we were given vouchers for a nearby hotel and for food at the airport or hotel (good thing it was almost midnight at this point and everything was closed! ;)). We were ready to just get to the hotel and relax before a flight out in the morning, but–surprise! We had to wait over an hour and a half for the hotel-airport shuttle (sensing a theme yet?).
Okay, so it all sounds pretty dramatic, and it kind of was, but everyone honestly stayed surprisingly (and thankfully) calm. Our mild frustration mingled with humor and a sense of flexibility; it was already evident we’d picked a great group to travel with!
So in the morning, we boarded our plane and were off! (Okay, after 2-ish hours of delays…again…classic). Around midnight (UK-time), we finally arrived in London, got our luggage (no problems–yay!), and started the long trek to the hostel. I think we finally made it to bed around 3am that night. It had been some very long days of travel and we were exhausted, but also stoked to finally be in London, and to finally be on this new adventure.
Having been to London before, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be back–and for a week this time. Yet I quickly fell back in love with the city and country again, and I never ran out of things to do or got tired with the city. It was also so interesting to experience the city from a news lens–WWI. I was finding tombs and memorials in cathedrals I’d been to before and learning more of the context surrounding monuments both new and familiar. The Imperial War Museum was a huge highlight, having been redone for the WWI centenary. There was an incredible amount of information presented in such an interactive way.
On another note, London was a great place to bond with the group, whether that meant exploring the city during lots of free time, stopping in for High Tea and crumpets with clotted cream (fave!!), or late-night gelato excursions. We were quickly thrown into comfortability with each other. And sharing a small hostel room with 7 girls and floor space the size of my dining room table may have helped too! ;)
-the Imperial War Museum
-the Tate Britain art gallery
-High Tea at the Tea House Theatre
-Attending an evening service at Westminster Abbey
-Making friends in the evening in the lounge at our hostel
-Just being back in the UK (aka my second home <3)!