Just three weeks to go until I leave this amazing city and am finished with my all too exciting exchange in England. This week I finally decided to do a little tour in this beautiful historical city and capture the “magic” it clearly has. So on Wednesday as it is my day off, I took my phone and my crappy little digital camera (which wasn’t much of a use) and went for a hunt for some nice pictures. Times like these I really miss my SLR camera (damn you, thieves!). Nevertheless, I will let the best pictures I managed to capture with my little Samsung Gio to say it all. So here it is- my own little Game of Thrones!
This week we’ve had a reading week which means no classes. I was a good student enough last week and did all my assignments to not feel guilty of going to London for a couple of days. I left York on Tuesday morning and got back on Thursday. One whole day was perfectly enough to see all the main sightseeings in London and meet up my friends. Luckily my childhood friend/neighbor from Finland studies there, so I had a place to crash for these two nights.
On Tuesday night, my friend and I just strolled in the Westfield shopping mall and ate some Chinese food. We also passed the bridge that played an important role in last years London Olympics. I didn’t know much about it, but my friend had worked there last summer and enlightened me on that.
We woke up really early on Wednesday. I had written down a whole list of places to go and see, so we were determined to finish off the list by dinner. We took the tube (that’s how they call metros here lol) to Waterloo Station and started off from the London Eye. The Eye was way bigger than I had expected. It was also more expensive than I could afford, so I settled only with the pictures for this time. Passing the London Eye, we walked along the South Bank and had a gorgeous view on the the Parliament House and Big Ben. The sun was shining warmly and the day seemed to be favoring us.
We crossed the River of Thames and got to the other side where Westminister Abbey was welcoming us with a garden full of poppies for the Remembrance Day.
By noon, the weather was extremely nice and warm, so we decided to walk to the Buckingham Palace through St James Park, which was quite close to the Westminister. I was looking forward to see the changing of the guards at the Buckingham Palace. Once we got there, though, for my disappointment the change in autumn is only every other day. I took some pictures and figured I could just come back tomorrow before my train leaves.
I couldn’t have left London without going to Notting Hill, so our next stop was to go and find the famous blue door from the movie “Notting Hill”. It used to be my favorite movie of all times, so needless to say how excited I was was we arrived there. Looking for the door took us quite a while, on our way we actually found the bookstore (also from the movie) first. They had closed the bookstore and now had a shoe store there instead. We passed the market, also noticed well in the movie, and decided to turn back as we realized we had probably missed the door somehow. It wasn’t until we got to the very corner of the street (our starting point) when I suddenly saw the nr 280 (according to Google that’s the one). It was exactly as I had remembered it from the movie. It definitely made my day 🙂
Our last stops for the day were Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery, Picadilly Circus, Harrods and Oxford Street. I didn’t know much about Trafalgar Square apart the lion statues. Because of the gorgeous sunny day, there were a lot of tourists and British youth sitting on the stairs leading to the gallery. We peeked into the gallery for 15min and saw an exhibition about saints. It would have taken us until the night to see all the floors, so I was happy enough to just take a quick look of the paintings on the first floor. It reminded me the Art Gallery in DC, but I guess most of the art galleries look the same.
I have been to Picadilly Circus before, so we didn’t stop there for long. Instead, we headed to Harrods. I had never been there before and wanted to go in and see the fancy place I have heard so much about. I was determined to buy something and found the cheapest thing in the sweets store. After paying for my strawberry cream fudge, I was ready to leave the store, happily holding on to my green bag saying Harrods on it.
Before meeting my friend for dinner, we also stopped by Oxford Street which was totally decorated for Christmas already. It was full of people running their Christmas errands and for just a second it really felt like Christmas 🙂
On Thursday I was determined to go back to the Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. I was happy I did, because it turned out to be Prince Charles’ 65th birthday and the guards were on fire lol. They fired cannons in the Hyde Park and played different ABBA songs for his honor. So ironic, feels like Sweden is haunting me wherever I go. It was definitely the coolest things of this trip and a great end for these three days in London.
I am back in York now and school starts in 2 days. I only have 4 weeks left until I leave, so unbelievable how fast time has gone. It makes me rather sad to think about leaving, but then again, it would be nice to be home for Christmas before I need to go back to Sweden for my last semester.
I am planning to go and explore more of York next week, haven’t even been on the wall yet. Until then, cheers!
For the past 2 weeks, I have worked at the York Maze for this Halloween event called Hallowscream. It basically means that each week from Thursday to Saturday, the maze changes into a Halloween spooktacular where people come and get their scared off of their pants lol. I am part of the team of freaky clowns, scary zombies and other freaks. It has been such a fun time working with all these amazing people. The doors are opened at 6 pm, so we need to get there around 5 to get our make-up done and costumes on. I have probably one of the best characters to play- the three breasted lady lol. There are different houses with different themes and I am obviously at the freak show. Next to my cage I have a fellow freak the Elephant Man. There is also the fortune teller, werewolves our lovely ring-master and a couple of zombie, soldiers and victims are scattered in the maze behind our tent. The people (audience) who come each night is so diverse at this is really the best part of the day to see their reactions. Most of them want to take a picture with me and even though they are not allowed to touch me, 80% of them do. A couple of nasty comments from guys, some naughty little boys, a lot of mentioning of “Total Recall” and some offended oldies is a every day thing. It’s definitely a too fun experience to call it a job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it, ey! Today is our big Halloween night, looking forward to what it has to offer 🙂
Besides my job at the maze, school has been great as well. I’m still enjoying my courses and have managed to find enough free time to enjoy the societies. Basketball society had a fresher’s party last week which was a lot of fun. We were dressed as farm animals and the second and third years were are farmers. Long story short, it all ended in York’s biggest and newest nightclub called Kuda.
This week is a little special for York as a city as well. There is this gorgeous event called Illuminating York that takes place form the 30th until the 2nd. As I will be working all these days, I went to see some of it yesterday. It was exactly the same like we had in Sydney in May. Basically, the whole city is in lights and the most famous buildings have different light shows on them. It really is gorgeous!
That’s all for now, but it’s never boring in York so until next week 🙂
Another great week has passed by with a lot going on. It’s definitely been a busy week as school has officially started and there is no limit on readings. Nevertheless, I have managed to find a steady balance between studying and having fun, and so far it has worked out fine 🙂
Last weekend(well actually 2 weekends ago now), the International student group organized another trip for the exchange students- the Lake District. I had heard so much about it and was really eager to go. Before I could be fast enough and make up my mind, the tickets were sold out. I was quite bummed, but figured I can still do it by myself some time in the future. As it happened, one of my friends had bought a ticket in advance only to find out that she had to go back home to Spain for that weekend. Lovely as she is, she was more than happy to give me her ticket and with only half a day notice I was getting ready to go to the Lake District
The ride there was quite long, almost 3 hours. On our way, we stopped at this little village where the poet William Wordsworth had lived, and written most of his poems. It was lovely little place with hills on horizon and sheep in every corner. We took some pictures of Dove’s Cottage- Wordsworth’s home and circled the houses nearby.
When we finally arrived to Bowness next to Windermere(the largest natural lake in England), the 3 hour ride was all worth it. The lake was gorgeous as well as the the bright green hill tops caressed by sunlight that you could see from every direction. It really felt like a magical place, no wonder Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth had been fond of it so dearly.
As a poor student, there wasn’t that much to do to be honest. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money taking ferry rides, nor did we pay for the extremely expensive entrance to the Peter Rabbit world. Instead, we settled with a picture with Ms. Potter and decided to visit all the Peter Rabbit stores we could find. I don’t know about the other girls, but I loved it!
To finish up our day more adventurously, Asma, Alina and I decide to rent a rowing boat for an hour. We were so nervous in the beginning and I personally wasn’t sure if it was the right decision. Happy to say, it was the best decision of the day! We had so much fun and saw the whole lake with a way better view than from the shore. The hills were just marvellous as the sun was about to set and the water was opalescing in our direction. We took some great pictures and truly enjoyed our time on water. I also found out that I am a hell of a good rower 🙂
Visiting the Lake District was definitely something I would recommend. Probably nicer in the summer time, but hey, if you have the chance, don’t hesitate and go in any season, you won’t regret.
A whole week and 2 days have past since Lake District. Mostly school and reading, but also getting a new awesome job at the York Maze. I have been playing a freak/zombie for the past 3 days now and scaring people out of their socks lol. It has been so much fun and definitely the coolest job I have had so far, but I post more about it in next week’s blog.
It’s been almost 4 weeks since I arrived to England, can’t believe how fast time has gone! Needless to say that it has been busy and I have had too much fun, as I haven’t managed to post a single blog post since then. (Well I also don’t have my laptop anymore which makes it harder). Anyways, there has been a lot going on within these 4 weeks. I guess the best idea would be to start from the beginning, but I will try to keep it short 🙂
The first week (Sept 15th-22nd) York St John University had a Welcome Week or Orientation Week as some call it. During that week I familiarized myself with the gorgeous campus, learned to know the beautiful historical city and joined for all the fun events that were organized for us. I met a lot of people and got many new friends, mostly fellow Erasmus exchange students from Germany, Spain and Sweden, but also a good amount of young British lads lol.
York as a city is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities I have ever lived in (and I have lived in quite many countries). It has the sense of history most definitely- you can’t really escape from that having walls surrounding most of the city center and towering churches echoing Britishness from every corner. It does have a younger vibe to it as well as not all the people you see on the street are tourists. I think York St John University has a role to play in it by inviting younger people from around the world to come and be part of this well known and established university as well as of this historic city.
Ok, that sounded a bit like an article for a newspaper haha. Anyways, it is great here and I am not ashamed to acknowledge it 🙂
The International Office here also organizes trips across the country. The first trip we had was a day in Whitby. Whitby turned out to be very typical British like seaside town. Unbelievably beautiful and definitely more than I had expected. Bram Stoker even wrote his book “Dracula” there because he simply got inspired by the beauty around him, no lie. We had an amazing day strolling along the haven eating fish and chips. Even “Prince Harry” showed up 😉
I can’t remember much more, but there have definitely been a handful of concerts, comedy nights, parties, pub nights, sightseeings and readings (especially within the past two weeks). I have joined the drama society and basketball society that have also kept me busy.I also managed to go to Leeds last weekend to check out the famous Primark. Man, was that worth going or what! It is literally as cheap as WallMart in the States- I’m in heaven now 🙂
I will try to get myself on a schedule now and post weekly, so until next week.