I LOVE how everyone says cheers mate, it’s kind of my favorite thing ever, especially with an English accent 😉
Day 11: Came and went in a flash my goodness I was only in the city for about 16 hours. I participated in the Hansen Summer Institute this past July and one of my roommates from Tunisia, Dora, is getting her masters at the local University in Huddersfield. Whenever I would tell a local where I was going they would always give me this “Are you crazy?! Why are you going there?! Look, especially friends, strangers refrained themselves a bit.
As you might have read on Facebook getting to Huddersfield was a bit of a hassle. I ended up missing 3 different trains and getting on 2 wrong ones within the span of 20 minutes. Luckily I didn’t have to buy a new ticket for each mix-up. So due to my missed trains and taking an unnecessary stop to the Manchester airport, I arrived about 1.5 hours late. But there was Dora and some of her new university friends waiting for me! After a quick taxi back to her place we quickly got ready to go out to the end of Fresher’s week party. Freshers week takes place all throughout the UK, it’s basically the week before real lectures starts and they host a bunch of events for the freshmen, it’s basically a welcome week and everyone gets shitfaced. The end concert was more of a carnival/concert. They had performers walking around on stilts and blowing fire, a beer garden (cause the drinking age is 18 so pretty much everyone in University can drink) a twister ride type thing, food, and my favorite an inflatable obstacle type game. Everyone stands in a circle around the middle pole, the middle pole has 2 other poles facing outward at everyone, one is high you have to duck under, the other is low you have to jump over. It was great!! They had a few opening artists but the place didn’t get busy until the last two sets, DJ —-? And Sigma. I’ve never heard of them. But the locals were super excited. If we ever got too cold, because the whole thing was out doors, we’d just go in closer to the stage.
After the concert getting back to Dora’s apartment complex was a bit difficult, the taxi’s didn’t want to drive all the way out to the concert venue. Eventually we ended up hopping on a bus back to the university in the city center. Had some more difficulties calling a taxi, then finally one agreed to pick us up! Dora was so hospitable and it was great to catch up in person! I was off early the next morning for London.
Day 12: I woke up in Huddersfield, Dora made me a delicious breakfast omelette and sent me on my way with snacks 🙂 The day was mostly spent on the bus, sleeping half the time but never getting quite as comfortable as I wanted.
I met Anna through Melissa who was one of my closest friends in GAA last year. Anna came out to visit Melissa in January and we went to Las Vegas with a couple other friends. I managed to arrive to London on time but per usually couldn’t easily find wifi. By the time I did I had given Anna a heart attack thinking she lost me, oops!
That night there was a World Cup Rugby match on, Wales vs England so Anna, her roommate (Ruth), and I met up with 2 friends of hers to watch the game. I had never really watched rugby so it was great to have some guys explain it, but I like it! It’s fast pace and the rules are pretty easy to catch onto. It was a really close match but Wales pulled ahead in the end, which Anna loved since she’s from Wales. After that we went out to a cocktail bar and I got to play the accent of a snooty American during a story one of the guys was telling. Eventually we ended the night at another bar/ club where the bar tenders kept ‘making it rain’ with napkins and ice. Then the bar help had to go around picking up all the napkins haha.
Day 13: We all got a late start to day 2 in London since we were out till 3 ish the night before. After having a bacon bitty (bacon and toast sand which) we headed off to explore the city. I still get the zones wrong but I think we were in Zone 2? Anna, Ruth, and I explored the London eye and walked through all the street performers that hang out in front of it by the river. We walked across the river to see Big Ben and a better view of the eye. Of course I then had to take a stereotypical tourist pic with a phone box and Big Ben in the background.
We Grabbed sandwiches for lunch and sat in the sun in front of National Gallery watching the kids run around and play on the statue. It really was a gorgeous day in London, then we walked through St. James Park to Buckingham Palace.
After that we wandered through Piccadilly Circus, a giant shopping center and department store I forget the name of…. Checked out M&M world then found a plaza where they had dozens of Wallace the sheep statues!
After walking around for almost 5 hours we were all pretty tired, and Anna and Ruth both had work early the next morning so we headed back to their place and ordered take away (they say take away not take out haha).
Day 14: Anna and Ruth both had to go to work all day so I got to explore the city on my own which was quite fun. I started at the Tower of London and walked along the waters edge towards Tower Bridge and passed a group of school children. They were only about 4-5 years old, all holding hands and being all adorable with their accents and everything. I know I was in the tourist zones but besides the school children I rarely heard an English accent. It was a mixture of every language imaginable; at least that’s what it sounded like to me. After Tower Bridge I wandered over to Borough Market where everything smelled delicious, then made my way over to Shakespeare’s globe. I wasn’t interested enough to pay for the tour but had a good time walking around. Anna and Ruth both work pretty late so I grabbed some dinner on my way back and managed to finally publish my first post to my blog post!
Day 15: I slept in a bit, packed my things up, hopped on a tram to the city center and was off to see Connor! Connor was my 4th GAA meet up. I forgot to tell him I was coming in by coach instead of train. I got in 45 min late and once again I was on that wifi hunt. Once I figured out directions it was a nice walk through Canterbury’s main street. That night one of Connors clubs, the Sci-fi, Fantasy and eXtreme cult (SFX) society, was putting on a free showing of Mad Max, which was actually a pretty decent movie. I tried a sip of their famous college drink a ‘snake bite’, which is half cider, half beer and has some black cherry syrup type of mixture added.
Day 16: I already lost a sock 😥 I did laundry that morning and after everything had dried and I was matching up my socks I noticed I was missing one. NO clue where it went or where I lost it, I thought I had been really good about folding them up into balls when putting them in my laundry bag! I went to explore the city of Canterbury with Harry while Connor was at class. I also met Harry in San Diego through my student org. We walked up the main strip, over to the cathedral, down a couple side streets and stopped in a cute café, hot chocolate in Europe is amazing. After getting football (soccer) shoes for Harry we stopped on our way back at the grocery store so I could stock up on food for next couple days.
Connor dropped his gf off at the train station who had also been staying with him and then we got ready for the evening. We were going to the mixer for Connor’s male Lacrosse team but I got to tag along anyways. They are so entertaining, it was a great night.
Day 17: Connor and I decided to do a longer tour of the city of Canterbury. Oh and remember the hot chocolate from yesterday? Today’s was SO much better it was like melted chocolate it was so creamy and delicious! After drinking the hot chocolate in another adorable cafe we wandered down the streets, I saw the towns most slanted door and then we checked out the Cathedral. It was interesting because there’s a school on the other side of the Cathedral so there were a bunch of kids in their school uniforms just laying out on the grass. After that we checked out the old and very run down castle and wall that use to surround the city. I had been sleeping on their couch down stairs but one of Connor’s housemates was going home for the weekend so offered me his bed for the next 3 nights, so nice of him!
Day 18: Connor only had an evening class so we went to Whitstable. A very very tiny coastal town, you can’t really call it a beach town cause there isn’t much of a beach either haha. We walked up the streets looking at the shops, which were mostly directed at people over the age or 60 or under the age of 10. We got some delicious fish and chips for lunch, ate them by the beach, then went to his favorite Ice cream parlor. My ice cream came in a little yellow boat (literally a boat) and the spoon was a tiny little shovel. Small towns tend to have the cutest shops.
That evening Claire came back because her living situation wasn’t working out for the weekend. Plans for that evening kept changing and we went to a few friends houses but ended the night on the Connors roof curled up in blankets talking to the people walking down the street haha.
Day 19: Found said lost sock from a few days ago! Saturday was a lazy day. It would also be my last day with my own room for a couple weeks so wanted to take advantage of it, it was great! And just what I needed before the main portion of my hostel life started where I’ll constantly be in a room with 3-12 other people. I slept in, caught up with family and friends back home, edited some photos, took a nap, and updated my blog.
London part 2
Day 20: Connor dropped me off at the bus station and I was on my way back to London! I had my second HSI reunion with Aisha, she’s from England/lives there and took the bus into London to hang out with me for the day! We checked out Buckingham Palace again, walked through a couple parks, and went to the National History Museum.
Aisha had to head back in the evening because she had class in the morning so I ventured off to find a friends older brother I had never met haha. I met Miranda through GAA, and her older brother who was visiting London for 2 weeks so she put us in contact with one another! My favorite thing about meeting other travelers is it doesn’t matter if they’re strangers, Alex and I had never met nor did we really know anything about one another BUT we had a great conversation over dinner about past travels, future travels, and life in general. After dinner he helped me navigate back to my hostel and we parted ways.
I was only in the hostel for 1 night because my coach to Brussels was early the next morning but I only got about 2 hours of sleep >.< It was a 15 person hostel room and I was on the 3rd bunk. Yes there were 5 bunks 3 beds tall and some guy decided to call his girlfriend or someone at 2am from his bed. Put a bit of a damper on my evening but I was off early the next morning for Brussels!