The first two weeks of have passed, and I am excited to report that life in London is far more exciting than I ever imagined. There are so many opportunities to meet people and visit new places. In the first few weeks of my stay, I visited Kensington Palace, jogged through Hyde Park, watched a performance of 39 Steps and even took a trip to the Derby for a bit of horse-racing fun.
Although I am still settling into this new big city, I’ve discovered a few of London’s most charming spots. On the second day, my friends and I hopped on a double decker bus to see some sites of the city. We got off near Piccadilly Circus and roamed the streets until we stumbled into Chinatown. It was as if someone took a small piece of China and dropped it in the middle of London. Massive lanterns nearly 15 feet tall hung over our heads. Street vendors lined the sidewalks shouting out prices for little Chinese trinkets. Others handed out delicious free food samples. It was so fun to see a part of a different country in the middle of a city.
Our university dorms are settled right in the middle of Kensington, surrounded by all kinds of attractions. On our first free rainy day, we took a trip to the Natural History Museum which is just a short walk from our street. From dinosaur fossils to ancient foot-long mosquitos, this place had everything. We spent a few hours there and still didn’t see all of the exhibits. Fortunately, the museum is free and almost always open, so I plan to take a second trip and discover the rest the museum has to offer.
Though the city is charming and beautiful, it can be quite expensive. A friend of mine spent the spring semester here and learned a couple of fun places to visit that don’t include a devastating withdraw from your bank account. She recommended a trip to Camden Market, which is just a few stops away from Kensington on the tube. A few days ago, I ventured out to the market and found something that I had never seen before. The market wasn’t just a few streets long, but blocks and blocks full of street vendors selling jewelry, clothing, shoes and handbags. There was a food section that offered meals from any nationality you could imagine. The market quickly became one of my favorite spots in the city not just because of the inexpensive items but because of the type of crowd it draws. There was a variety of cultural backgrounds and I heard many languages. It’s exciting to live in a city filled with all different types of people.
I’m so glad to call this place my home for the next few months!