First week in London by Glory Kim

Posted on September 2, 2014 in LUP Fall 14, Student Blog Competition Entries, Student voice, Tips by Emily

Hi my name is Glory Kim and I am currently studying at the University of Notre Dame’s London Campus. Coming from New York, I was used to tall buildings and a busy atmosphere. After studying in South Bend for two years, I really wanted a change in my environment and a chance to be able to experience a different country. This has been my experience so far and I’m really glad to get the chance to share it with you guys!

It’s only been my first week here but this is going to be a couple of tips to the people who have YET to start their study abroad trip to London.

1. Get a Charles Schwab debit card or exchange cash at your bank. Converting money last minute is not something that you would want to do or stress out about. At the airport, they’re going to add on a whole lot of commission fee on it so I would say a week or so before you fly out, take a whole lot of cash and get that exchanged for pounds.

2. Costco, BJs, Walmart. Currently, the dollar is not doing so well. In addition to that, everything here is SUPER expensive. Basic things such as shampoo, detergent, and bedsheets can come out to almost twice what you would pay usually. Its going to be extremely heavy but I think that sometimes it can be worth it. Buy a bulk of tampons, shampoo & conditioner, CONTACT SOLUTION, and bed sheets.

3. Speaking of Food…. As an asian girl, there are so many asian chips that I miss. They have an asian market here in London but it’s a bit of a walk and chips that usually cost $1 will cost $3 about here. So if you crave that kind of stuff, bring some of your favorite home chips and goodies that you can eat when your bored.

4. Colder and rainier than expected. My flight to London was in August so I thought that it would be warm and brought about 5 pairs of shorts. But I wish I brought my winter jacket, more sweaters, and more jeans. And the rain here can get crazy so invest in an actual rain jacket NOT A TRENCH COAT, and bring an umbrella. I brought my Hunter boots with me but if you don’t want to bring rain boots with you, there’s waterproof spray you can use on your shoes!

5. Dolls, Pictures, Momentos. It’s only been a week or so since I came here and I miss my family, friends, and boyfriend so much. In the video, you can see my bed has two dolls: one was from my boyfriend, and the other from my best friend. They comfort me when I’m lonely and homesick. Bring a lot of photos or notes ..anything that will reminds you of how loved you are!

6. Unlock your phone. Since London is such a touristy place there are a lot of places such as VodaFone that you can go to for a sim card. BUT it’s crucial for you to unlock your phone before you leave the States. Otherwise, it’s going to lead into a whole bunch of mess and end with you having to use a non-smart phone with no camera. That’s no bueno! Call your phone provider a week before and ask how you can go through the process. ALSO chooseThree for your service provider. For 15pounds, you get unlimited data, 3000 minutes and 1500 text messages. Also, it doesn’t charge you for when you go internationally in 13 different countries.

7. Plan your travels. Come up with a list of places you want to go to and try to find other people who will want to visit those places too! If you’re able to plan earlier, chances are you will be able to get them at a cheaper price. But also, make sure that your plans don’t collide with your school work! I’m going to Paris this October and if we bought these tickets earlier instead of the month before, i’m sure it would have been a whole lot cheaper…

8. What to do during your free time. Bring running shoes. It’s the best way to explore a new place and I swear to you that they won’t go to waste! Maybe purchase a Nook or Kindle because there’s nothing better than to go to a great cafe and read your books. Bring heels and going out clothes. You want to experience the whole of London, you can’t forget about its nightlife! And also, there are so many broadways and musicals you can attend that require you to dress up.

9. Tell people you’re going away. First things first – tell your bank you won’t be in the United States anymore. If they see that your credit card has been used in various countries, they’re going to realize something is up and might suspend it. So make sure they know so they won’t freak out when you travel. Another thing, make sure people know how to contact you. So far, I’ve only been using Facebook and iMessage to communicate with my friends. But, I use Kakao Talk (FREE APP) to actually TALK on the phone with my family. I hear good things about WhatsAPP and Viber – both free apps you can download on your phone to talk to people internationally without charge.

But it’s seriously been such a great experience so far. I know that this semester is going to go by really quick so I’m trying to document it as much as possible. If you guys have any questions, please feel free ask!

- Glory Kim (London Undergraduate Program, Fall 2014)

You can follow Glory’s London 2014 blog here

BBC Proms

Posted on September 1, 2014 in Festivals, Things to do by Emily

Royal Albert Hall by Ania MendrekArguably the most famous seasonal classical music festival in the world, the BBC Proms are one of London’s great annual treasures. Founded by the great British conductor Sir Henry Wood more than a century ago, the festival now features more than 100 concerts each year during its eight-week summer season. The BBC began broadcasting every single concert in the festival beginning in 1927, and continues to this day. Most concerts are held in Kensington’s beautiful Royal Albert Hall, with a few of the afternoon events in the Cadogan Hall down the road in Chelsea. There is truly something for everyone in this festival, with the world’s finest classical performers appearing every year. This season features the works of German composer Richard Strauss among many others. You can hear the world’s premiere orchestras play Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, Mozart and Ravel piano concertos, masterpieces by British composers such as Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, and William Walton, and the late Sir John Tavener. For something slightly different, there are big band concerts, staged performances of Kiss Me, Kate and War Horse, and even a Pet Shop Boys concert!

One of the unique features of this festival is “day-Promming”, a tradition that involves ‘queueing up’ outside the box office from about 2 1/2 hours before the concert for £5 tickets (what a steal!). The only trick is, your ticket is to stand on the ground in the center of the hall in front of the stage, rather than in an allocated seat. Just think about how close you can be to the action this way, though, and you can’t beat the price!

There are still a few weeks left of this season’s festival. The BBC website sets out what’s on in the coming days and if you see something you’ve missed or can’t make the performance, it should be available to listen (or watch in some cases) on the BBC iplayer for free.

Finally, the Last Night of the Proms, on September 13, is an annual event of national pride here in the UK. The final concert in the Albert Hall always features a special guest star who does a highlight performance before leading the audience singing British favorites like “Rule, Brittania”, “Jerusalem”, and “Land of Hope and Glory” (probably more familiar as Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No. 1, heard at almost every high school graduation in the US). Tickets for the Albert Hall that night are pretty much impossible, but you can still get tickets for the sister celebration in Hyde Park. Also run by the BBC, Proms in the Park this year features Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as plenty of other performers, and a fireworks display at the end.  And if all else fails, watch it live on TV!

- Josh (Rector, Conway Hall)

Photo by Ania Mendrek via Compfight cc

Walking

Posted on August 28, 2014 in Student Blog Competition Entries, Student voice by Emily

buses moving towards Tower Bridge by Beauty EyeAs my eyes looked out the window, and my heart started beating faster with the first sight of London, I knew a great adventure lay ahead of me. I was once again in a big city, in a city full with thousands of people from many different places, each of them with a different story that I wanted to hear. As the bus traveled through the city, my eyes were wide open, absorbing all those images that I had only seen in movies or photos. The bus driver started pointing out different sites of interest, touristic places you may say. With a thick British accent he said phrases of the style“…And to the right of this street, right there, there is the Ferrari store.” The amount of fascinating things I saw just from this bus ride made it clear for me that I was going to be walking quite a bit for the rest of the semester. That Thursday we arrived, my walking experience didn’t quite start. My mind and body were begging me to rest and stop resisting the jet lag, but, from personal experience, I knew that would be the wrong choice. Still, that night I was able to hit my first pub, and grab a nice cold local cider, hoping that the alcohol would keep me awake for a while longer. After an amazing night sleep, my walking adventure started. I attended all the meetings required by the program, but in any free time I had I just walked trying to find new places. In a city as big as this one, it is easy to pass by amazing places because you are in a hurry, or you just want to arrive to an X site that you heard about somewhere. You sometimes need to wander around slowly, looking at your surroundings. So far, I’ve been in a church which was inaugurated by Nelson Mandela; I saw an alley with amazing wedding decorations; I was in a boat that was transformed into a pub; I was in a Carnival where people were having a great time despite of the rain, and I saw an exhibit of Tattoo artist which blew my mind. I know eventually I’ll have to plan my days to go to museums and other iconic places, but wandering around will keep being my main way of discovering the city. You never know what you will find in the streets of this city.

- Santiago Martínez (London Undergraduate Program, Fall 2014)

Photo by Beauty Eye via Compfight cc

Notting Hill Carnival

Posted on August 21, 2014 in Celebrations, Customs and Traditions, Festivals, London, Things to do by Emily

7930178430_568690a204_mIntroduction

Notting Hill Carnival is an annual bank holiday festival of Caribbean music, dance, and food.  Live steel bands play through the streets, while more modern sounds such R&B and Funk are blasted through sound systems, and local bands take to the stages.  As Calypso and Soca vibes fill the air, enjoy dishes like jerk chicken, curried goat, and rice and peas, fried plantain, and more!

History

Notting Hill Carnival celebrates tradition and culture and its roots stem from anti-slavery carnivals in countries like Trinidad.  In times of slavery, festivities were not permitted so once it was abolished the celebrations also represented freedom.  The carnival fashion, or masquerade, was a mimic of the European masters.

The first carnival-type celebration was around 1959 in St. Pancras Town Hall.  It had various elements of a carnival including singing, dancing, and steel bands.  Over the next few years in continued to take place in various locations around London and the UK, eventually incorporating beauty competitions, and then masquerade.  These celebrations came to an end in 1964 when the founder, Claudia Jones, passed away.  However, a new carnival developed from the London Notting Hill Fair, which was introduced to release the frustrations of the struggling local population.

The first Notting Hill Carnival, as it is now known, took place in 1966 and continued to adapt and develop, despite various obstacles such as racial tensions of the 1970s.

More about today’s Carnival

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Sunday at the Carnival is known as Family Day, but it is no less vibrant or busy.  There is a children’s parade along the streets of Notting Hill, a World Music Stage full of performers and emerging artists, and workshops for all the family.

On Monday, the Grand Finale, the main parade takes to the streets, with floats, performers, and pop-up street food stalls and bars.

Stay Safe!

Notting Hill Carnival is hugely popular and is fast becoming one of the biggest celebrations of it’s kind in the world.  To say there are crowds is an understatement so staying safe is of utmost importance.  It is advisable to wear sturdy shoes (you don’t want to get trodden on in flip flops!), plan ahead, arrange a meeting point with your friends in case you get split up, keep an eye on your personal belongings, and don’t draw attention to your phones, cameras and wallets, etc.

- Emily (Communications and Planning Specialist)

Photo: R Schofield via Compfight cc and DancesWithLight via Compfight cc

Nicole Murgas wins the second LSP blog competition

Posted on June 19, 2014 in Competition Winners, LSP 2014 by Emily

Congratulations to Nicole Murgas who has won the second (and last) student blog competition of the London Summer Program with her article Barthelona, which rightly paints the city as one of the most exciting and wonderful places to visit in Europe.

Judy Hutchinson, Director of Student Affairs, who was one of the judges said:

“Nicole’s blog demonstrated that they had put some time into planning their trip, in order to get the most out of it.  Her descriptions of the Gaudi architecture, and particularly of Sagrada Familia were fantastic.  Despite having that destination on my bucket list, I now am more eager than ever to visit.  She showed how one can maximize a very brief visit with a little planning ahead of time.”

You can read Nicole’s Barthelona blog again here.

Well done also to Elyse Hight who produced yet another excellent blog post and came in close second.

- Emily

West End Live 2014!

Posted on June 17, 2014 in Festivals, London, Things to do by Emily

Stomp by Hibri MarzookHave you missed out on any musicals this summer that you really wanted to see?  Fear not because West End Live is back and celebrating 10 years!

Taking place in Trafalgar Square on June 21 and 22, West End Live showcases selected songs from the best of the West End.  What’s more, it’s free!  With performances from the latest shows like Miss Saigon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the long runners such as Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia!, and even musicals which are no longer showing in London, there’s something for everyone.  You name it, there will most likely be a performance!

Performances start at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday, but make sure you get there nice and early as it’s first come, first served, and there will be queues.

To find out more, visit the West End Live 2014 website.

- Emily

Image by Hibri Marzook under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDervs 2.0 Generic

Barthelona

Posted on June 16, 2014 in Competition Winners, LSP 2014, Places to Visit, Student Blog Competition Entries, Student voice, Things to do by Emily

Thanks to our wonderful mid-term break (four days off during a six week program), I got to spend the weekend and then some in the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona.  Thinking we would maximize time in Barcelona, Erik and I decided to fly out at 6 AM from Heathrow.  Sounds like a great idea, until you find out that there is no public transportation that can get you to the airport at that ungodly hour, forcing you to leave the night before.  We started our journey at around 10:30 PM, took a London City bus to a coach station, a National Express bus to the deserted bus terminal far outside Heathrow, and another National Express bus to Terminal 5 of the airport.  When we arrived around 3 AM, it was a ghost town.  Every bench had someone sleeping on it, but other than that, the terminal was entirely empty.  We wandered through the check-in area until we found a place to sleep.  My bed for the night, if you could call it that, was the tile floor, my pillow was my backpack, and my teddy-bear was my purse as I wanted to protect it from getting stolen.  I tell you this not to complain but just to emphasize the pure lunacy that evolved throughout that night.  We were in one of the busiest airports in the world, and it was dead silent and deserted.  After about an hour or so of sleep we went to security (when it finally opened around 4:30) and made our way to our terminal.  Because Heathrow is a pretty high security airport, they prefer if traffic between the terminals only moves in one direction.  Being in Terminal B, I naturally wanted to get to our gate, so we bypassed all the delicious warm breakfast options in Terminal A to get there.  When we arrived we were essentially the only human beings in Terminal B, which meant, much to my chagrin, that there was no food.  When we tried to take the tram back to Terminal A, we physically could not do it due to a number of one way doors and escalators.  However, in the distance we saw a beacon of hope…a walkway connecting the terminals!  One sign said authorized personnel only, but another simply labeled the walkway.  Seeing this as our only viable option to get food, we walked through the slightly industrial, wire and vent filled tunnel under the runways to return to Terminal A.  No one said anything to us so it must have been ok right?  After eating we boarded our flight and slept the entire way to Spain.

Goodnight Heathrow Airport

Goodnight Heathrow Airport

Before I knew we were flying,  we had touched down (not that I even remembered take-off I was so past tired).  After taking a short cab ride to our hotel and being delighted to see that our room was not only ready at 9AM but also clean and nice, we set out to stroll around the surrounding area.  Our explorations brought us to Camp Nou, Barcelona’s football stadium, to a 7 story department store to buy sunscreen, and to a movie-star themed cafe in which we ate a delicious lunch (think guacamole, goat cheese, and amazing coffee) for about 2 hours.

Inside the largest Nike store in Camp Nou

Inside the largest Nike store in Camp Nou

Camp Nou

Camp Nou

Some guys we met...

Some guys we met…

Delicious cafe con leche to keep me awake!

Delicious cafe con leche to keep me awake!

We were delighted to finally use some of the Spanish we had spent so many years learning as we tried to understand a “lispy”Spanish accent and some Catalan influenced slang.  After lunch, we took a brief nap that about doubled my amount of sleep for the night (woohoo for running on three hours) and headed for Barceloneta to see the real downtown area and get some dinner with my friends.  At this point, I realized that Barcelona was a perfect mix of Europe meets Caribbean Island.  It is a beautiful European city placed on a beach with loads of Spanish flair and culture (obviously).  We enjoyed dinner at a ocean-view outdoor cafe and had delicious paella and sangria.  After, we strolled down Barceloneta’s beach area, before heading to bed.

Friends and sangria

Friends and sangria

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Maybe I was a little excited to eat this paella

Maybe I was a little excited to eat this paella

The next day was our designated tourist day.  Thanks to Mrs. Rayno for organizing, we had a Hop-on Hop-Off bus tour that essential drove you everywhere you wanted to see and would pick you up and take you to the next destination all day long.  We started our tour by going to see the Gaudí houses in Barcelona, la Pedrera and Casa Batlló.  For those of you who do not know Gaudí is an Art Nouveau-inspired architect whose creative buildings are dispersed throughout Barcelona.  If you click on the London as Art section of my blog (click here) you will find more on Casa Batlló.  But here’s an outside picture for those of you who don’t want to click:

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After continuing on the bus journey and passing Plaça Catalunya (a big plaza at the top of La Rambla), La Rambla (one of the most famous streets in Barcelona with shopping, dining, and a direct route to the ocean), the Cathedral of Barcelona in the gothic neighborhood of the city, Barceloneta (where we had dinner the night before), we arrived at Sagrada Familia, another Gaudí masterpiece.  Since I am kind of a huge church-nerd I was unbelievable excited to see Sagrada Familia, but little did I know just how amazing it was going to be.   It is going to  be very hard to do it justice in my descriptions and pictures.  The outside of Sagrada is very distinct, with stone carvings and mosaics covering the facade of the Church.  The inside was completely different than I expected.  The ceilings were high, and ornately carved pillars seemed to go endlessly upwards towards it.  The walls were covered with giant stained glass windows through which brilliantly colored light streamed.  Above the alter was a sort of dome that was like a direct portal to the sky, with sunlight streaming in.  To say the least Erik and I were in absolute awe.  We must have spent at least and hour and half inside the church, admiring the architecture and artistry and watching the expressions of shock and joy that radiated from those who entered.  I now know what it must have been like to go into any of the grand churches in the world for the first time and to see them brand new.  It was overwhelming to imagine someone, hundreds of years from now, walking into Sagrada Familia and looking at it in the same way that I see St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, as a piece of history.  Sagrada is truly history in the making.

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the altar

the altar

a masterpiece in progress

a masterpiece in progress

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Sadly, this side was the victim on an arson attack in 2011.  I can't imagine who would want to ruin a place like this.

Sadly, this side was the victim on an arson attack in 2011. I can’t imagine who would want to ruin a place like this.

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Next, we went up into one of the towers of Sagrada Familia via an elevator.  When we got to the top, we were the only ones up there so we could move as slowly as we wanted.  The tower stairs were fairly narrow, and we could not help but be a little nervous being in such a high, open-air place.  Regardless of our claustrophobia and height-fears, the view was breathtaking.  After we enjoyed the view of the Spanish landscape, we got to experience another view…the one down a very long, spiraling, steep set of stairs. 

boy, that's a loooong way down

boy, that’s a loooong way down

...and a looong way up

…and a looong way up

Thanks to the nice New Zealand couple who took this picture and complimented us on our ability to speak English

Thanks to the nice New Zealand couple who took this picture and complimented us on our ability to speak English

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After our time at Sagrada Familia we enjoyed lunch and got on and off the bus at various stops such as Parc Güel.  The park had architecture and mosaics done by Gaudí, but sadly we did not have time to go in since we got a little lost and ended up getting distracted by another church (…I know so uncharacteristic of me…).  Finally, we met up with my friends at La Rambla to have dinner (sangria and paella again!) and went to bed so we could wake up early the next day.

the distracting church

the distracting church

On Sunday,we went to mass at the Cathedral of Barcelona.  The inside of the church was quite dark and was of the gothic style.  Erik and I understood about 1/5 of mass (thank goodness for the Amens and Allelujahs) because it was in Catalan and difficult to hear.  Still, we were grateful for the opportunity to go to church in Spain. 

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Next, it was off to some relaxing on the beach with my school friends.  The sun was nice and warm, but the water was too cold for swimming.  Regardless we enjoyed our time there and even ran into an old friend of mine (crazy that we were both in Barcelona at the same time!). 

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After the beach we stopped quickly at the hotel to shower and change, and then made our way to Monjuic (a large hill on the west side of Barcelona.)  We took a gondola to the top and got the best views of Barcelona we’d had all week.  At the top was an old castle and plenty of paths to explore.  Erik and I spent some time walking and talking, just enjoying the views and each other’s company. 

The view from the top

The view from the top

the castle

the castle

Barcelona sunset

Barcelona sunset

A guy and a gondola

A guy and a gondola

Eventually, we took the gondola back down and strolled through a park area toward the Fónt Magica (Magic Fountain) by Plaça d’Espanya to meet my friends for dinner.  As we strolled down the hill, we found ourselves overlooking the Magic Fountain from atop a set of balconies, stairs, and miniature fountains (miniature in comparison to the ginormous Magic Fountain!).  Again, another great view as the twilight faded in Barcelona.  We met up with the girls at a restaurant called Brasa Pura and then headed back to the hotel for the night.  It felt so strange to go from dinner to sleep but the Spanish eat so late (we finished at 11:30!).  I think I am too much of an old lady who likes her early bed time to have such late dinners (teehee).

Magic Fountain!

Magic Fountain!

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On Monday we awoke sad to leave Barcelona but happy to have London to return too.  We went for a swim (complete with stellar bathing caps) in the hotel pool and then, revisited Camp Nou (Barcelona Stadium) to pick up some souvenirs for some very important people (I’m looking at you, Dad and Carsten).  Then it was off to the airport and time to say adios to Espanya.

Going to Barcelona reminded me of just how many places there are to see in the world and how many of them I still need to go too.  Even more so, it reminded me of just how fortunate/blessed/lucky I have been to have such numerous opportunities to see the world.    I know my travels will continue, and I am excited to see where life will take me (literally).  I am positive Barcelona will be on that list!  I HAVE to see Sagrada Familia when it is complete!

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PS: Remember that deserted walkway we went through on our way to Spain?  Well, upon returning to Heathrow we saw the exact same walkway clearly locked-up and marked private.  Whoops, guess we may have broken a law unintentionally!

- Nicole Murgas

Images ©Nicole Murgas.  All rights reserved.

Check out Nikki’s blog A Midsummer Night’s Dream… in London for more blog posts!

Meltdown Festival 2014

Posted on June 12, 2014 in Festivals, London, Things to do by Emily

We briefly mentioned Meltdown Festival in our ‘Bucket List’ blog at the beginning of the summer semester and it starts tomorrow Friday, June 13, running until Sunday, June 22!  The festival, managed by electronic musician James Lavelle, covers a range of music from rock, hip hop, and funk to blues, electronica, indie and more.  Whatever your musical tastes, there’s something for everyone, and many of the acts will surprise you with musical fusions.

Although tickets may be pricey, some excellent free performances have been thrown in.  Kicking off the week this Friday are Polar Bear, an experimental jazz band who combine acoustic instruments and quirky electronics.  The band features ex-Loose Tubes saxophonist Mark Lockheart, tenor saxophonist Pete Wareham, and “immense” drummer Seb Rochford.  I have it on good authority that this is a gig not to be missed – whether you’re a jazz fan or not, check it out!  Also in the free line up are Machines and These Ghosts, two upcoming bands from NX Records followed by a DJ set, who will be playing on Friday, June 20.  On Sunday, June 22, the festival will be winding down with an open-air afternoon party with more free performances, including a brass band playing their own versions of classic house songs.

- Emily

Universities Week: Ideas for Life

Posted on June 11, 2014 in Festivals, London, Things to do by Emily

Did you know that it’s Universities Week 2014?  In its fourth year, the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about what UK universities are doing to tackle the challenges of today and their impact in society, by showcasing their research and activities.

The week-long events are taking place in the Natural History Museum from 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. until Friday, June 13 and include talks, activities, and performances.  Topics cover health and wellbeing, science and technology, environment and sustainability, culture, and society.

Head over to the NHM while you can to discover cutting edge research and the most recent academic developments here in the UK.

Check out the official Universities Week 2014 website, or follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

- Emily

The World Cup

Posted on June 10, 2014 in Celebrations, Customs and Traditions, London, Things to do, Tips by Emily

England by Mando GomezIt is said that English history is marked by “the three big years of  ’66″:

1066 – William the Conqueror, the Battle of Hastings, and the Norman conquest

1666 – the Great Fire of London, which you heard about at the Museum of London

1966 – England’s one and only World Cup win, which they clinched here at Wembley.

With that understanding, it’s easy to see just how much this tournament means to the English people when it comes around every four years.  (Note: English, not British.) Their one triumph seems to mark their national history as definitively as military defeat and the destruction of their capital city. Perhaps that’s all just hype, stirred up by the football fanatics, but of those there are many. Brace yourselves for the country to be festooned in red and white, cars with England flags flying out of the window, and groups of people chanting “En-ger-land!” And there will be a lot of England shirts on display in the next few weeks. This country is serious about its football. And come match time, there won’t be many English people away from a TV screen, be that at home or in a pub packed to the rafters with others hoping just as fervently that 2014 is their year. All these years of hurt have never stopped them dreaming… (according to Baddiel and Skinner).

England Football Grass Close-Up by irish-adamEvery time a tournament comes around, England fans are convinced it’s their turn, that England can do it again…. and every time since 1966 they’ve failed. Sometimes they’ve fallen at the first hurdle, but several times they’ve made it tantalizingly close – and often then lost on penalties (the shoot-out decider at the end of a match). The worst possible result for any England fan – or player - is to lose on penalties to Germany, their football arch rivals. Or Argentina, whose 1986 victory in the quarter finals came thanks to the famous “hand of God” goal by Diego Maradona - not so long after the Falklands conflict.

Oh, and in case you were wondering there’s also a small country called the USA taking part in the competition.  Pretty much any pub with a TV will show the England matches, but if you’re interested in other nations such as the USA, here is a terrific guide from Londonist showing hot spots to watch the matches for each nation (including the World Cup Carnival in The Vaults at Waterloo Station)

Some nearby to Conway options will include The Wellington on Waterloo Road, The Thirsty Bear on Stamford Street, and The Camel and Artichoke on Lower Marsh.  Word of warning:  Get there at least an hour early and claim a spot, otherwise you may be lucky to get enough room to stand up and watch for two hours.  Believe me, I’ve done it for the England/Germany match last time, and it’s much more fun if you have a seat!  A few of these places may even require advance booking, so plan ahead if you want to watch.

Keep up to date with everything going on in the World Cup via the BBC , and enjoy this very unique worldwide experience while you’re here in this great city!
- Josh