bienvenue à London!

1 February 2009 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

What a whirlwind my life has been since I last wrote! It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four days since I was at home writing from my bedroom in Bethel. Now, here I am writing from my new (and super cozy!) bedroom in Cannes! Our windows overlook the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s breathtaking. I am living in a triple with the two other girls that took my flight from JFK, Bre and Tahvia. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So much has happened between then and now!

Although the weather was rough on Wednesday, we made it to the airport, and my flight was only delayed about an hour. After only getting about three hours of sleep on the plane, and experiencing my first legal drink over the Atlantic (it wasn’t great wine, but it was free!) we arrived at Heathrow Airport in London, groggy-headed but wide-eyed. Our hotel was in South Kensington, and someone picked us up from the Airport to drive us there. I was so thrown off by driving on the left side of the road! I kept wanting to take the wrong escalator or walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk! The hotel was overbooked, so we had a lot of time to explore the area before we got our rooms. After meeting some of the AIFS St. Petersburg students (who were also staying at our hotel), some of us ventured out and found a Cafe Deco to grab some breakfast.

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

Since the hotel had accidentally overbooked, we had a lot of time to explore before we could settle into our rooms. We walked around Gloucester Road, and ended up at the Natural History museum, which was great for two reasons in particular: it was FREE! and it had dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs. The architecture was also amazing, not only there, but pretty much everywhere you look. After finally checking in to our rooms, most of my new friends decided to nap, but I was adamant not to – it makes jetlag worse! So I spent the next few hours exploring the area on my own, ending up in the beautiful Kensington gardens and watching a surplus of birds fluttering around a quiet pond. It was so relaxing, and I think then, it really hit me that I am going to see so much beauty in the next four months.

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In Kensington Gardens

Bre and I also checked out the Victoria & Albert Museum, which vaguely reminded me of the MFA, and was also free. We couldn’t stay long though, because we had a welcome drink to attend at the hotel at 6. It was a little awkward, as people were standing in circles with the friends they had already made, and few ventured out to mingle. I tried my best, but I still have a lot of people to meet. Afterwards, many of us headed towards Notting Hill to meet up with some of my friends’ friends that are taking the AIFS Prague trip at their hotel (they were also in London at the time.) Marissa didn’t know we were coming, and I had no way of contacting her, so I asked the concierge for her room number, and went and knocked! I was so upset when she wasn’t there, but I slipped a note under her door anyway. We all got dinner at this cute pub called “The Swan,” and then continued on to a pub closer to our hotel where 5 of my new friends and I got to know each other a bit better.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

The following morning, we took a bus tour around London, and saw so many wonderful things! The sights included Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London bridge and much more. My words won’t do justice to these sights, so at this point I will direct you to my photo album to check them out – just click on the “photos” tab and there is a London album there. After the tour and lunch, I met up with Charly in Trafalgar Square. With Charly and her friend Jess, and my two new friends Margot and Michael, I went to the National Gallery… which may have been one of my favorite outings. There were so many beautiful paintings, and we didn’t even have time for them all. I was especially excited to see some Monets, Renoirs, Gaugins, and Van Goghs that I hadn’t seen before (Impressionism is my favorite.)

Afterwards, (yes, the day kept going! I can’t believe all of this happened over two days!) my friends and I went to see Avenue Q! I thought it was hilarious. We were able to get half price tickets for 20 pounds, and I was so glad we did. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get 7 seats together, so I was sitting by myself. It was a little uncomfortable at times, since there was a young (maybe around 10 years old?) boy sitting next to me, and I wasn’t sure the humor was quite appropriate for him. He seemed to find it hilarious, though! Anyway, I too loved the blatant and crude (yet true!) humor, though some of my friends found it a bit silly.

Picadilly Circus
Picadilly Circus

We went to a nice restaurant for dinner (though I cannot remember the name) where I got a delicious crab and avocado salad, and we felt very European, dining at 8 pm, and not leaving until 10:15 pm. It was a lot of fun! We then headed towards Picadilly Circus, which was a really fun area (like a miniature Times Square!) and found a club recommended by Charly called Tiger Tiger. Aside from the two drinks that got spilled on me that evening, and my worsening cold, it was a lot of fun! Unfortunately, the night ended up being longer than we (or maybe just I?) intended, and we didn’t return to the hotel until around 2. Normally, that would be fine, but since we had to leave for the airport by 7 am the next morning… it was a bit painful. How we managed to find our way back without knowing the bus system at all was a miracle for sure. It took a lot of asking strangers and hoping for good will!

So all in all, London was not quite as much of a blur as I’d expected! I managed to not nap, see loads of great sights, and make a bunch of new friends. Perhaps the more blurred part of my trip was traveling to Nice the following morning. My body didn’t take so well to the sleep deprivation, but I managed. But when we arrived in Nice, as the plane touched down, it was so breathtaking that I couldn’t help but grinning like a fool. The French Riviera really is like paradise.

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Entry filed under: London.

au revoir, etats-unis! bienvenue à Cannes!

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Sarah in Cannes

Welcome to my blog! I am studying in Cannes, France for Spring of '09 and will be telling my stories here.

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