I also tried to post this one on Friday but again, wifi…
So the food in London…was GREAT!! I really tried to get stuff that I either could not get in America or things I have not tried before. For instance the crepes made out of pancakes at that place by Westminster Palace, that place was really good. Not as filling as I wanted so I got ice cream after. Really cheap ice cream too. Thing is with ice cream in London, at least for me, is that it was extremely light and fluffy. Almost like whipped cream, but it was really filling. Shauna and I got some crossing the bridge by the London eye and it was honestly some of the best I’ve cream I have ever had. Desserts in London in General were delicious. The desserts we had at tea was good as well. The chocolate was really rich and the shortcake tasting treat was also light and fluffy with that amazing filling. I also tried fish n’ chips and yes I have had fish before and yes I have had fries before but it was fun to have it in London England. It’s about the equivalent to having sushi in japan which I hope to one day have as well. I also can honestly say I did not have a single mcdonalds, baskin, Burger King, or chipoltle in London which I am proud of because it is very true that even though it’s the same name, the menu can be different and was with mcdonalds in Germany. Group dinners were also a great time to experience with new food. For instance wagamamas offered a very spicy dish of pasta and chicken which I probably too eagerly ordered, but hey it was an experience right? Overall the good was great and it was different enough that I felt like I was in a different country but similar enough that I wasn’t eating crazy weird food.
And butter beer at universal studios for Harry Potter was amazing!!! Plus it is one of two places in the WORLD to get it! The other is in Florida! Great experiences!!
London was a fabulous experience and I’m so thankful I was a part of this group. It’s hard to pick a day or a place that stands out as a favorite because everyday was full of different experiences and sites. The real food market was a great introduction to London and assured me there was good food to be found in London despite many warnings I had heard from others. Actually, I indulged in the local cuisine more than I should have! Thankfully the 10 miles we seem to walk everyday hopefully made up for it! I adventurously tried fish and chips, bangers and mash, Canterbury brie, macarons and even a lox and cheese sandwich! After returning home I think I’m missing the delicious food the most! The experience was awesome and I loved every minute of it!!!!
On my free day I chose to do a little more in the city of London. I first met up with my friends from back in Ohio and went to this little quaint restaurant called Nicholson’s for fish and chips (again). This was one of the best things I ate there! After that we walked up and down Oxford and Regents street shopping! One of the big things I found to be different was the layout of the store Self Ridges. Unlike malls that I have been to in America, it was just one large space with all different stores and no dividing walls. I think this is a good way to organize a shopping center because it forces people to walk through different stores and see things they might not see if it was an individual shop. After that, we went over to Camden town to go to the market and try new foods. On our way there we passed by many street performers and were able to stop and enjoy for a little! Unfortunately the Camden Market was closing as we were getting there- but from what I saw it was mostly unique things that weren’t too expensive!! We ate at this little pub called Mexican Kitchen. At first it was a little sketchy but turned out to be really great food. I am happy I was willing to try new things because in the end that is what made this trip so rewarding!
On Tuesday night I went to see Wicked at a local theater with Kerry. The play was amazing and I had a great time. I have also seen Wicked in America, so it was interesting to compare the two. I was able to see the facial expressions of the cast members from my seat which made me feel like I was apart of the play. The acting done by all members of the cast was amazing and they portrayed their characters really well. Their British accents only added to the performance. All of the lead characters had beautiful voices and their renditions of my favorite songs from the play only made me like them more.
The last day in England was spent traveling to Canterbury. This is the tale of our journey.
The beginning of the day was a hot mess of everyone scrambling to figure out what the game plan was. One group already planned a trip to Windsor. Others were shopping. And our group hoped for a trip to the bleach white cliffs of dover. We were unsure of the price of a train ticket round trip and had to call the station. Finally, we learned that the train tickets had a deal that would make our tickets only ₤17, much less than the expected ₤60 we calculated the day before. The fab five (Chris, Juli, Kerry, Ruben and Todd) traveled to Paddington to buy the tickets. When there, the ticket lady determined our best option was to buy the ticket in Victoria station, which is where the train left. With 25 minutes before departure, the team sprinted to Victoria via tube. The tube was nearly about to depart when the fab five squeezed in. A few stops passed until the team reached the station. To our dismay, the queu to purchase tickets was half a football field (European version) long. Risking the situation, the group jumped into an adjacent queu that was nearly empty. The ticket master approved our request and gave us five tickets. With under ten minutes to spare, the fab five rushed to platform 3. After a stressful and time crunching morning, the team successfully hopped a ride on the train.
During the trip I tried my best to order native food and be open to new culture and experience. Turns out I really liked the difference I’m selection and now have new ideas for my own cooking. Of course I tried and fish and chips, the dish was from a local pub and you could tell the difference from chain because the fish was so fresh. My favorite meal was the bangers and mash, sausage and mashed potatoes with onions and English gravy. I was the most apprehensive about trying this because I normally don’t like sausage, but a friend told me I had to try it so I made sure I did. I definitely suggest this dish
trim.0B201B02-763A-4C36-BE96-8EE352BA1B54After the last day, the only thing I want to say is that the free day is amazing! Andrew, Tian and I went to the Cambridge. In Cambridge, the town is the university and the university is the town. There are 8 colleges in total and some of them just look like gothic churches. I feel that there is fullfiiled with the culture and art. A lot of people just perform beside the street or sell their handmade art crafts. We found a really authentic Chinese restaurant for the lunch. But it’s kind of sad that we don’t have enough time to take boat and photograph in the river. And the most funny thing is we run to the train station in such a beautiful town and tried to catch the train, but we still watch the door closing in front of us. Moreover, on the way back, I found a really cute and delicious cupcake store!
One of the things I just had to do this week was visit Harrod’s department store. This afternoon Kelsey and I stopped by, and the store did not disappoint at all! the prices are extreme; we saw bed frames for £13,000, and that was just the cheap model! The store is absolutely massive. Every department has a register and the employees even offer directions after each transaction! We didnt even get to see it all, which is a little sad. But I doubt anyone could ever see it all without spending a whole afternoon there. It’s unbelievable that there are people in the world who can afford to shop anywhere in that store outside of the tourist shop. I ended up getting the cuteat teddy bear there, probably the cheapest thing in the whole store at £15.
Going out today felt so odd. compared to the rest of the week, the sidewalks and tube stations were packed to the brim! I kept forgetting it was the weekend and so more people would be outside. If the city was this crazy on a daily basis, I doubt anyone could stand it. this morning I went to the national history museum right after it opened at 10 am. When I walked outside later to go back to the tube, the line was even farther down the block than when I came! Even the tube stations have a different feeling during the weekend. I noticed that nearly every station I went through today had performers both inside and on the sidewalk above. The musicians gave the tunnels a really cool atmosphere. I could hear them long before I ever saw them.
I am now in Portobello market which is located in Notting hill. This market is fully packed with people, almost tourists. It is quite a big market than I expected. Nothing makes me more exited than local markets, and it is perfect weather today to go out. I didn’t even look at the map, now I am just walking around the place. But I found shops that I wanted to visit, including the Notting hill bookshop which is famous for its movie! Funny thing is, I am now at the place called Coffee Plant, which was mentioned in the book I looked over at the book shop. Oh I also bought some teas for my mom. This is incredible!
I want to remark how nice tea at the national gallery was. Afternoon tea is such an iconic British cultural norm and something that, even if you were to come to London several times, as a tourist you are probably unlikely to take part in. Despite a few mix ups (few people making it on time, a misunderstanding with staff, etc.), it was definitely a lovely time sitting down as a group and taking time to slow things down for a bit. With such a hectic schedule all week, this was a much needed break. I know it helped introduce me to a few new flavors of tea and was just genuinely fun.
I loved taking the river boat down the Thames to Greenwhich today. I never associate the Thames with anything past the London Eye or Big Ben, so I was really cool to see all of the buildings along the riverbank. The ‘tourguide’ was great as well. I loved his sense of humor; it seemed very British, very subtle and almost sarcastic. I think it would have been interesting to have him show us around the whole city. And the stories about Jack the Ripper and the pirates were so interesting! I wish we had a chance to go to more of the dark historical parts of London. It’s morbid, but Makes the city so interesting and dynamic.
Yesterday was a wonderful and relaxing day. In the morning we had a walking tour in the Kew garden. At first there was heavy frog, but later it turns sunny and warm. I took a lot pictures of those beautiful flowers. For the lunch, we had fish and chips. This is the first time I tried that, although it is the same as I thought and not that good to me. In the after noon, we had the English afternoon tea at the National cafe.And the last destination we went is the London Eye. We got a great view of the whole city on it and saw the beautiful sunset. All in all, it’s a great day.
Being able to experience the view from the eye tonight was absolutely amazing! I have been looking forward to the eye because it is such an iconic landmark for London. I loved how as I looked over London, I was able to recognize the places we have visited over the course of our trip and there were still some yet to come! I think experiencing the eye has allowed me to take a larger look at the city itself and made me appreciate being able to visit such a wonderful place! I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings with visiting Westminster and Greenwich!
One of the greatest cultural experiences I have encountered along the span of this trip is through shopping! I consider myself to be a shopaholic and I am not ashamed to admit that I was excited for the shopping this trip provided. While we have been here I was interested to see the local shop like primark, but also see the differences in the shops we have in America. Forever 21 was sooo expensive compared to the prices we find in America and the Disney shop in London is absolutely massive compared to our small shop at Polaris. Overall it’s been a very interesting and different perspective to experience the shops here in London!
After spending some time in Kew Gardens, Kelsey and I decided to visit Trafalgar Square again before we met the group for tea. It was so fun to see the street performers again, and we realized that many of them come back day after day. This guy was there playing guitar before when we went on Sunday. I remember he was always playing popular American songs, like ‘Let Her Go’ which is one of my absolute favorite songs. I was really excited to see him play Hey Soul Sister this afternoon. Its so weird to walk around London and hear all of these songs that are big back home. It seems like everywhere I go I hear Onerepublic or Kelly Clarkson. It’s like the American music scene is following us!
I’ve enjoyed eating the food here! I like how there are lots of bakeries and sandwich shops. I’ve been trying to try new foods along the way and try foods that fit into the culture. I still have not had fish and chips, but will be getting them very soon. I have documented all the food I have been eating along the way because I feel like the food can tell a lot about a journey. I like that I have gotten try different juices. One of my favorite meals was probably at Leadenhall Market. I went to Paul’s with some friends and I got a sandwich and a vanilla macron! The sandwich had turkey, cheese, cream cheese with some fancy (yet hard) bread. The macron was delicious and definitely hit the spot on the chilly day.mimalso enjoyed all the food I got at our first market! I was a little nervous to try the food here because I heard it was not very good from a couple people before we departed, but I have been pleasantly surprised.
Pubs are an important part of British culture. It’s not seen as a bar but rather a place of gathering and much more friendly, even in some instances, family friendly. My grandfather told me stories of how after work he would always go to the pub and relax. My mother always spoke fondly of them too. In the evenings here we have been going to pubs and just hanging out with a drink or two. On the first night here we went to a pub near the hotel. There I had the Sunday roast beef. The meal included Yorkshire pudding, an item of food which my mother always made with roast beef. Surprisingly, the food feels more like home than the food at OSU.
On Tuesday night Kelsey and I went to see wicked. I’ve seen it before in 2 010 in the very same theater! We had a pretty interesting time trying to get over there. Buses are not our friend; we ran back and forth across Bayswater Road, just trying to get on the right bus. We somehow figured it out and got the to show just in time. We ended up in our seats at 7:29, a minute before curtain. The show was just as amazing as I remember. Our Fiyero was fantastic as well too. I love that I had a chance to see my favorite musical again.
Tonight, I went to a Thai restaurant for the first time and with Wagamama that makes two times I have tried foreign cuisines on this trip. I had chicken both times once with noodles and once with rice. I really enjoyed the Thai food and I am now glad to say I can I can use “kiddie” chopsticks. It has made me excited to try new foods even though I may not like it every time. I am really excited to try traditional British cuisine while we are here. despite not liking seafood, I would like to try fish and chips.
I find the language to be different here than in other parts of Europe that I have been to and this is why. When in Germany, Italy, France, ect, it is expected that people will speak German, French, or Italian, with the hope that someone will speak English. And when they do you pick up on accents and words they say and common questions they ask at stores when you are checking out, and ect. But it is almost a different language in England, even though it’s not. There are different words British people use like ‘chips’ instead of ‘fries’ but their accents make it sometimes hard to understand. Or we kind of expect or anticipate a ‘you’re welcome’ after we say thank you, but instead I have only heard a bunch of ‘thank you’s’ instead. I find this interesting and Reuben brought up a good point when he said that he notices they say ‘thank you’ if they know you’re American and ‘cheers’ if they haven’t heard you speak. It is a phenomenon I have noticed as well. On that note, I have always wanted to know what an American accent sounds like to say a British person, and that whole dynamic of hearing yourself through someone else’s ears comes into play and what do you really sound like, and are you speaking clearly. But yes, sometimes their accents are so thick that it is hard to understand right away what they are saying.
So in my London guidebook, I flagged a page about nightlife and pubs and bars, and I wanted to check out some of the scenes. One of the ‘hidden’ gems of nightlife that I would not have thought to look at was Leicester square. Not hidden in a sense that no one knows about it and it’s in some back alley but hidden meaning it’s not in books as a place to hang out. While it had shops and restaurants and maybe some pubs, the square itself is lit up like New York or Las Vegas but better. The lights on m&m world change between blues,purples, and greens, reds and oranges, and the colorful interior, which can be seen from the outside contains a life size model of a London bus, and other m&m plastered objects. Next to it is a store, also a few stories tall, which blasted music from today’s R&B and hip hop, that sold London attire and souvenirs. The fountain we saw was closed off and dark but it made all the other shops and stores and pubs that much more bright. There was also a stall where people were buying tickets to a performances to a theater, play, or some type of musical. I really appreciated that aspect of the space. It almost made it feel smaller and ‘old school’, and not so city-like.
This was my first time seeing a Broadway/West End show, and I am very glad to have chosen this one. The Lion King was by far my favourite show as a child (which probably applies to a few of us), so it was really exciting to see the movie I grew up with on the live stage. There were obviously changes from the movie, but there were a couple of moments when I could pick out things I believe were changed specifically for the UK show. Instead of doing the “luau” near the end of the show, Timon does the “riverdance”. Obviously the actors (for the most part) had English accents, so we got to hear it pronounced “zeh-bra” instead of “zee-bra”. A very fun evening.
Our first day waking up in London could not have started off better. The breakfast was excellent. The bacon here is unbelievable.
As you can see from this picture the bacon is not like the thin crunchy stuff we are used to in the United States. This bacon is thick. It is almost like eating ham, but a lot more unhealthy. It is delicious and I am looking forward to eating more, as the trip continues.
Another difference I noticed shortly after we arrived in England is restrooms. They are not restrooms here. They are toilets. Do not ask “Where is the restroom?” The Brits just look at you funny and think you are looking for a place to rest! Instead I have learned you need to ask for the toilets. I also noticed the toilets flush differently here. Instead of the water spiraling down the bottom, the water just pours in from the back. It was a little freaky the first time!