Myself and two of my best SLU friends, Bailey and Josh, arrived in London late Monday (April 2) night only to discover that our hostel was not very luxurious to say the least; the hostel was currently undergoing construction which meant that besides waking up to workers in our hallway, the bathroom facilities were pretty sparse and grungy (I mean there's no need for a toilet paper holder right??). Oh well it is definitely an experience that we can all laugh about now and luckily, we weren't in the hostel for very long as we busily spent our three full days in London sightseeing. We took advantage of a free walking tour that was offered in each of our travel destinations. This was a great way of seeing the sights, getting a brief history of the city, and learning our way around. In London, we signed up for a traveling card called the London Pass which allowed us to visit multiple attractions at a cheaper rate. With this card we visited the London Bridge, Tower of London (including Britain's crown jewels), Shakespeare's Globe Theater, Westminster Abby, and Kensington Palace.
|Bailey and me in front of London Bridge|
My favorite part of London, however, was seeing Les Miserables on Broadway; I've seen a few Broadway plays before in the USA including Mary Poppins and Wicked, but I've never seen a show where the entire show was singing! We also were able to take a group bus tour to Stonehenge and Bath through a Groupon offer that I had found before our departure. While the three of us were the youngest of the mostly middle-aged tourists, it was great to get outside of the bustling city for the day and see two of England's historic sites.
|Listening to the Audio Guide at Stonehenge|
From London we traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland via a train from King's Cross Station-- yes, don't worry I managed to visit 9 3/4 platform at King's Cross before our departure :) When we arrived in Edinburgh, we were immediately charmed by the quaint town and it's impressive castle. From the Hogwarts-like castle to the graveyard containing several of the characters names (i.e. Professor McGonagall and Tom Riddle) to the nearby stone school originally used for orphans and now educating the wealthy elite, it was erie how Edinburgh related to the fantastical world created by J.K. Rowling.
|JK Rowling's Cafe: The Birthplace of Harry Potter|
While Josh had to return to his study abroad program in Austria, Bailey and I started the second week of travel break by continuing to Dublin. I visited Dublin this past summer for a few days through SLU's summer study abroad program in Ireland, but it was wonderful to return to the city and visit some of the attractions that I wasn't able to visit during my last visit. Dublin's most popular attraction is of course the Guinness Factory with the top floor showcasing a 360 degree view of the city and the opportunity to pour your own pint. And while Bailey and I are now "certified" to pour a Guinness, we both realized that we don't particularly like the beer's bitter taste!
|Pouring the perfect pint at the Guinness Factory|
My parents were also on a traveling break to Ireland during this same week and we were able to stay at the same hotel as them during our time in Dublin. It was great to spend time with them and for Bailey and I to share some of our abroad experiences with them. Together, we were able to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, eat lunch at the famous Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street, and visit Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara.
This spring break was by far one of the best vacations ever! Not only was I able to take in the sights with some of my closest friends, but I made memories that will definitely last a lifetime. At the same time, it's great to be back in Copenhagen and I'm looking forward to my last weeks here in Denmark.
Vi Ses Snart