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


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!


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

NHCarnival13 21

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


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


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:


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.


the altar

the altar

a masterpiece in progress

a masterpiece in progress

10006205_10203793935830159_8507238551519149940_n  10407511_10203793934990138_5656591127925711458_n

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.


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


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. 


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!). 

10464148_10203793943670355_7893568345654850823_n  10336662_10203793944510376_6548295689351750015_n

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!


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!


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

The Color Run 5K London 2014, “The Happiest 5K on the Planet”

Posted on June 6, 2014 in Celebrations, Customs and Traditions, London, Things to do by Emily

Last Sunday, I was a tiny drop in the ocean of 18,000 adults, children, families & babes in pushchairs who took part in the London Color Run around Wembley Stadium. Being only the second year the event has taken place in London it’s already overwhelmingly popular! The idea is quite simple really, you turn up in your Color Run kit (90s sweatbands & temporary tattoos included!), run 5k and volunteers douse you in different coloured powder paint at different stations along the way. It definitely makes for a more interesting experience that just a run around the park.

The idea originally began in the States (hence the spelling of Color) and was inspired by a range of world events including, probably most obviously, India’s Holi Festival. What though, you might wonder, apart from turning thousands of people across the globe into a mass of human rainbows, is the reasoning behind all this festivity? Well, as all proceeds go to Save the Children, at the end of the day it’s just a good ol’ fashioned charity run – albeit with quite a vibrant twist.

The afternoon started with an army of Color Runners, uniform clad, pouring out of Wembly Park station all sparkling clean. The sun was shining and it was a perfect day. We made our way down to the ‘warm-up area’ to take part in a Zumba class. Trying to do a grapevine en-mass with 18,000 people caused more than a few toes to be trodden on but the Mexican wave of over arm stretches really got the buzz going.

Color Runners at Wembley Park Station Ready to run - 'before' team photo

At 3pm we made our way towards the start line. With groups of 1,000 being set off in one go it wasn’t long until we were at the front. We started jogging, itching to get towards the first colour station. It really is surprising what child-like excitement comes out when you know you’re about to get super messy!

The first stop was pink (my favourite!) and it didn’t disappoint – it was like running through a bubble-gum cloud with everyone cheering and high-fives all round. The stuff dreams are made of? I think so! Blue was next then on to yellow and orange, each one covering us head to toe. The whole route was amass with happy participants running, walking, even skipping the course. We’d kept an even pace throughout with a few walking stints so as not to let it all rush by. When it came to the final leg however it felt like an occasion where you had to give it the last of what you had and the three of us sprinted over the finishing line together.

The fun didn’t stop there though! To celebrate all our hard (and obviously perilous) work there was a party at the end. This time we were given our own paint pods for everyone to throw together on a 15 second count downs causing an explosion of colour. There was paint everywhere; the air itself was tinged with pinks and yellows as everyone, old & young, partied away.

Paint throwing My sister and I

Evening time came and slowly everyone started to realise that after all the Zumba, running, partying and paint merriment, we were definitely hungry and so it became time to get the tube home…

All in all it was undoubtedly the most fun I’ve ever had, and probably will ever have, in gym clothes. So if you’re ever feeling charitable or just want a good day out with friends, definitely look out for the Colour Run next summer.

Starting to head home - 'after' team photo

- Sinead O’Halloran (Conference and Event Support, ND London Global Gateway)

Images ©Sinead O’Halloran.  All rights reserved.

A Sickness, A Bath, and Some Rocks

Posted on June 5, 2014 in London, LSP 2014, Student Blog Competition Entries, Student voice, Things to do by Emily

With midterms coming this week and the halfway mark rapidly approaching, I think all of us are in denial about the how quickly time is passing while we are here. With that eternal clock always going in our heads, we are all trying to make the most of our time here in London/Europe. Although we didn’t travel abroad this weekend, we made sure to make the most of our time here in England.

One minor detail seems to be setting all of us back though: sickness. With all of us living in such close quarters, it was bound to spread like wildfire once the first person got it. I think it first showed up in my flat in the second week, and it hit me hard on Monday and Tuesday of this last week.

With a sore throat in fever, I was left with spending most of my time during those two days, with the regret of missing out on two London days looming over me like a rain cloud. I tried my hardest and to check a couple of items off my London checklist, although I was relatively unsuccessful in doing anything for those first couple days.

I was able to make it to an awesome art exhibit though at the Institute of Contemporary Art in central London. For my Fine Arts class, we are required to find a random art exhibition and write a review on it, and I was determined to go off the beaten path and find a random art museum to do mine at. One of the best parts of London, in my opinion is the extent of random things that you can do on any given day, and this art exhibition is a prime example of that. The exhibition is called “David Robilliard: The Yes No Quality of Dreams,” and it really helped to bring me some joy during those couple of sickly days.

961105_10204084983789483_623242774_n 10388318_10204084983709481_1342492697_n

Another positive aspect of spending a lot of time in my flat during those first couple days after Scotland was that I had the time to cook myself a delicious dinner. I tried to make enough so I would have leftovers, but it was too good to not eat it all…


After getting some meds from the local drug store, I finally started to feel better on Wednesday and I was actually able to make it out and get some things done. Lauren and I have friends who were here studying for the spring semester, and during their time here, they met some kids from the college across the street from ours, King’s College. They put us in contact with them before we got here, and we finally met up with them on Wednesday. They were great, and now it is definitely nice to have an inside source of where all to go and do in London.


Also, because I haven’t given one previously, here is a picture of my lovely flat from Thursday, even though I didn’t really do much on that day…


Friday night turned into one of my favorite nights I’ve had since being in London, as some of us had the fortune of getting tickets to the World Cup Warm-Up match for the England national team against Peru at Wembley Stadium. With a sold-out crowd of around 85 thousand people, the game was absolutely amazing to go to. I loved every minute of it, and England ended up winning 3-0! Also, Lauren and I met (well, kinda) the love of our lives, aka Joe Hart, the England goalkeeper.


Although we didn’t make it somewhere abroad this weekend, we did get to take a day trip to two of my personal favorite places in England: Bath and Stonehenge. Baths is the location of the Roman Baths and is a beautiful little town with thousands of local shops and random alleys to explore. While there, we got to see one of only four bridges in the world that has shops and restaurants located on it, stroll around the amazing side street and see beautiful English countryside, we got to eat some of the best sandwiches and cookies that we’ve ever had, and we got to see the amazing historic Roman Baths. While we joked that we all forgot our swimsuits and towels so that we could jump in the baths, I think the water was a little too sketchy looking for my taste.

10356571_10204102605310010_961047962_n 1554586_10203766624276810_523373248805352122_n 10405922_10204102622950451_637439401_n 10437121_10204102599909875_873164182_n 10425710_10204102597229808_497097618_n

After leaving Baths, we made our way through the countryside to the breathtaking location of Stonehenge, which as most know is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. After visiting here two years ago, I was determined to recreate the same shot I got and I think I was pretty successful.

10373949_808696199140796_2373216867332001915_n 10416842_10204102403784972_675039383_n

On Sunday, I was determined to check a couple more things off of my London checklist, so I ventured out on my own to take on a new part of the city. Starting off, I attended a choral service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was absolutely spectacular. Not only was the choir amazing, the sheer beauty of St. Paul’s Cathedral alone will knock your socks off.


After the service, I ventured over to one of the more iconic locations in London, the Tower Bridge, where I actually got to go up into the bridge and walk across the top, admiring the views along the way. I loved getting to see the city I am coming to love from so high up and experience it in a new way.


After this adventure, I met up with a couple others and we made our way to the Petticoat Lane Market, which if you are looking for some bargain clothes, this is the place to go. After, Lauren and I went to the Real Food Street Fair located close to our flat, and I once again ventured to try something new. This time, I got a Korean BBQ dish that involved a pear-infused marinated beef that was to die for. I did not want that dish to end.

petticoat-lane2 10439699_10204107074861746_1926233588_n

One advantage to living in London is the immense amount of locally owned coffee shops that offer a wide array of ambiances and delight. One of my flat mates, Cat, is determined to go to as many different cafes as possible while here, so I went to one with her Sunday afternoon. It turned out to be a much needed, relaxing time with great coffee in this cute little hole-in-the-wall called Foxcroft and Ginger.


Yesterday, Cat, Meg, and I made our way to one of the London boroughs where the Wimbledon tennis club is located to take a tour. What was a last-minute tourist decision turned into an amazing afternoon of getting a first-hand look at all that Wimbledon has to offer. It was an amazing tour and something I would suggest for anyone to do. If only I could have been on Centre Court when an actual match was going on, but we will save that for another time.


That brings me pretty much up to date with my European adventure, but I have an excited weekend in store. After finishing midterms on Thursday, Lauren and I will be jetting off to our Italian adventure, which I will be sure to update you on next week.

- Elyse Hight (London Summer Program, 2014)

Images ©Elyse Hight. All rights reserved.

Check out Elyse’s blog Carpe My Diem for more blog posts!