Wednesday, July 11, 2007


OK, this is going to be a whirlwind recap.

1st Day, Thursday: Jet lagged out of my mind, I wandered around the Waterloo area trying to get my bearings. Unpacked my suitcase. Wandered to the train station to get a pasty (yea!). Went to the local Sainsbury's with fellow hallmate, Megan. Fell asleep ridiculously early.

Day 2, Friday: Woke up. Wandered to the train station to get my Oyster Card (best transportation card thing ever). For those of you who don't know, Oyster Cards are cards that you swipe everytime you use the Tube or a bus. When you use them, your fare is slightly reduced than if you had bought a single ticket each time. It also means that you don't have to have correct change or even worry about change at all. I just put a set amount on the card but you can by weekly or monthly passes. Then I wandered a little more into the city. I walked by the London Eye, Parliament, the clock tower (i.e. Big Ben, which is actually the name of the bell not the tower), Buckingham Palace, the Horse Guards Palace, St. James Park. I hung around St. James Park for a while just because it was so pretty.

All of these chairs were set up for the Tour de France entertainment stuff. I can't remember what else I did with the rest of the day but I'm sure it involved a lot of walking :)

Day 3, Saturday: Saturday started out a lot of the same. During lunchtime, I went over to St. James Park (can you tell I liked it there?) to eat the lunch I had bought. After being in the park for a while, I wandered over to the end of the Tour de France Prologue race course. The Prologue is an individual timed event where each rider is trying to make the best time possible.

I watched that until I had to leave for the 5 pm group meet-up back at Kings College. The rest of my program had arrived and this was my first chance to meet them.

We took a short walking tour of the South Bank. I would have liked to get a little more information on where to find stuff like pots and pans. Oh, well. After the tour, a group of us when to a pub, Doggets Coat and Badge which was right on the Thames. Stayed up this night until 11pm. W00t!

Day 4, Sunday: I got up relatively early to go watch the official start of the Tour de France on Blackfriars Bridge. Another British Studies student was also going to watch the race so we walked there together. He knew a lot about cycling so that was interesting. All of the riders flashed by in short succession.

Then I walked down to the Tower Bridge. (Sidenote: This bridge looked a lot closer to Blackfriars Bridge on the map. It isn't.) I saw some pretty sights along the way.

The socks had a good time, too.

Then I went back to the college for the 3 o'clock orientation meeting. The one professor who did most of the speaking has to be hilarious in the classroom. He reminded me a lot of one of my professors in undergrad, lots of energy.

After the orientation, a group of us went on a walking tour. It was a very similar route to the one I had taken the last couple of days. We walked past the London Eye, across Westminster Bridge, over to St. James Park, to Buckingham Palace and back. We saw the biggest ham of a pelican in the park. He was just standing in the middle of the pathway grooming himself and posing for pictures.

And that was the end of that day.

Monday, July 9th: This day was the first day of class. We met in the courtyard of our building and walked across to the King's College building which houses everything like classrooms, the student union, a restuarant, library, computer labs, etc. Our class was going to a computer training room in the library. There, we met one of the people who has been helping organize things on the England end. He ran through our itinerary and talked a little bit about each place. Then our professors talked a little bit about the requirements of the class, papers, and such. We all set up a blog to be our reflective journal. We broke up around noon and wandered off to get lunch before the afternoon London Alive! sessions.

Erica and I were going on the A River Runs Through It tour. This tour went by boat from the Westminster pier to Greenwich of Prime Meridian fame. The professor leading the tour, Dr. Davies, is another one who would be a lot of fun in class. There were a LOT of people on this tour. Unfortunately, we missed the boat leaving the one pier by minutes and had to wait a half hour for the next one.

Once we got on the boat, Erica and I decided to sit in the enclosed area rather than the top of the boat so we wouldn't get sunburnt. (I'm so glad someone else felt the same way!) The commentary during the boat ride was informative and witty with just a twist of sarcasm. It was great.

We sailed under the Tower Bridge and were off to Greenwich. Unfortunately, that evening back at the college, we had a formal welcome from King's College to attend which started at 5.30. We arrived at Greenwich at 4. That meant we couldn't spend anytime there and we needed to grab the Tube back. Luckily, my class is going back there so we have another chance to see things.

OK, that is the end of this post even though I didn't cover my class' trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon yesterday. Another London Alive! session is starting at 1 and I still have to eat! I'll try to post about yesterday later today.

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