Posts Tagged With: boat trip

Visiting the heart of London – A royal day

I’m in a bit of a hurry this time, since I only have an hour break before my next class starts (Which you will not care about since you’ll read this in the evening anyways). But I still wanted to tell you about my weekend, which was awesome!

Saturday, I had this “Welcome to London” Day Trip, as I told you before. It started with a boat trip on the Thames (yet again). The highlight was the lunch we had on there: Lovely chicken with potatoes and vegetables and delicious chocolate-truffle cake for dessert. Mhhhm!

After about two hours, we came back to the pier and headed for our very own private double-decker bus. We were only 15 people, so we had the top deck for ourselves. The weather was pretty good, no rain, and we enjoyed the two hour ride around London with our lovely tour guide.

At St. Paul’s Cathedral, we stopped and headed up to a shopping mall. They have a roof terrace from where you have a gorgeous view of St. Paul’s and its surroundings. I absolutely recommend that to anybody who visits London. It is completely free!

The bus tour ended in front of Buckingham Palace, our last attraction for the day. YES, we had tickets for the inside tour. It was like a dream come true. Buckingham Palace is the most beautiful palace I’ve been to (and I’ve seen a few!) – all the chandeliers, intricate ceilings, tapestries and furniture are just gourgeous. They have some famous and expensive paintings as well. The current exhibition is about Royal childhood, so they had lots of toys and clothes on display and showed a few videos of Her Majesty the Queen as a child (and other royals). Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed, so I cannot show you any pictures of that. You’ll have to go and see it for yourselves. We finished the palace tour with a glass of champagne on the terrace. I felt quite privileged standing there in the dim evening light, sipping my champagne.

I still cannot believe that I won tickets for a day that otherwise would have cost me well over £100! And it gets even better: I have a free pass for one year, so I can come back to Buckingham Palace next year and see it again (it is only open in August and September)! There will be a different exhibition on then, I’m looking forward to that.

So, that was my amazing and exciting Saturday. Sunday was pretty uneventful compared to that, but I didn’t mind. I just had a relaxing day off (and I apologize for not blogging earlier, I just didn’t get in the mood).

On Monday, my real classes finally started and I will tell you all about that in my next blog post. Until then, folks, and enjoy these pictures:

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Let’s do some orientation!

What’s up, people? Goodness, I’ve been busy these past few days. Orientation week has started and I am actually a little overwhelmed.

But let’s do this chronologically.

So basically, the first weekend in London was relatively quiet. I went up to High Street and found that nothing has changed much since I went away. Boots, Poundland, Tiger, all still there. Yay! Saturday evening, I went out with the au pair from next door and two of her friends – to one of the two pubs on High Street. We had a great time there (and later at the McDonalds because we got hungry for some reason) and I am glad to have joined them. I’m sure we’ll be doing it again!

Monday, I went to uni and got enrolled. Or rather, I had to practice queueing first. Approx. 2 hours of standing in line, but it was worth it for now I have my ID and can start signing up for student discounts and all those things. I also got a British SIM so that I can access mobile internet everywhere.

SO HAPPY, MUST TELL EVERYONE!!

While queueing, I met the first few international students, from Norway, China and Belgium. All very lovely people with interesting stories. We met again the next day for the continuous introduction speeches at one of the big lecture theatres. Tuesday afternoon we had a short guided tour around the area, which was a good opportunity to get to know the immediate surrounding (I never got to explore the area last year, what a shame! I missed out on so much!). We ended at ISH – short for International Student House, an institution where students from all over the world can come and join in many events and trips. On Tuesdays, there is always a pub quiz, and of course we all participated. I was in a group with seven girls and two boys and that evening was the starting point of what will hopefully become a great friendship. I named our group “snow white and the six blondes (+the guys)”, since we were all blonde except for one girl. By now, we have a whatsapp group and a facebook group by that name as well.

Our group by some miracle won the pub quiz (we are just that awesome!) – the prize was a voucher for a Welcome-to-London-Trip next Saturday for each of us. Which is pretty awesome cause now I get to do some touristy stuff like seeing Buckingham Palace without paying extra! Would you have known how many cubicles are on the London Eye? Or where in London the Queen isn’t allowed to go? (I did :D) 

Wednesday wasn’t overly interesting regarding the presentations we had. We went to Regents Park for lunch, with a group of probably a dozen people, which was really nice. After we got off in the afternoon, I went with the Norwegian girl to the ISH to collect our tickets and sign up for the Travel Club Membership. With that, we can go on some trips for less money than is normally charged. If I have time, I’ll definitely do that!

The highlight of the International Student Orientation week was the boat trip on the Thames in the evening. Some of you might remember that I had that last year as well. But this year was infinitely better! The general atmosphere was awesome, everybody was friendly and ready to party and taking selfies with whoever was next to them. The music was pretty good as well and most of us were dancing at least half the time. By then, our pub quiz group had grown and we know have probably about twenty people in our loosely formed clique – from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, the US, France and god knows where else they are coming from. Most of them were getting pretty drunk on the boat, but it was all still ok and fun. Compared to that evening, the boat tour from last year seems incredibly dull. We have some plans to do culture cooking, so that we get together and taste the food from whichever countries we are from. And of course go to the pub quiz or karaoke or just clubbing and whatever else there is to do in London.

Today – Thursday – was the first day of postgrad orientation. So I finally met the people from my course (since nobody from the international orientation was on the same course as me). There are about ten or so of us, but there might be coming more next week. Mostly girls – actually just one guy so far, from Italy. We have three America girls, three Germans (counting me), a girl from Ecuador and another from India and some I didn’t get to talk to. We already have a facebook group as well and I think we’ll get along very well.

I was hugely surprised to find that a girl I did an internship with two years ago is with me on the same course. It was like “Hey, I know you from somewhere….right?” The world is just so small!  (I couldn’t resist the Disney…)

However, meeting all these people and getting loads of information is a lot to take in. This time around, I apparently have to register with a local PD, get a national insurance number to work part-time and god knows what else. My student oyster will be in the mail next week so hopefully the immense amount of money I’m throwing into public transport will go down a bit. There are also a few things to do concerning module registration and all that. I won’t have that many lectures during the week, but I can see a huge amount of essays piling up around New Year and then again in May. We’ll see how that goes.

Anyways, that’s the update for now. I don’t have any plans for Saturday yet, but on Sunday we’re going to Brighton with the Internationals, so that will be fantastic! Stay tuned!

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