Waterloo, Promise to Love You Forevermore

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Top from Ivory Ella.

For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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London was probably one of my favorite places to visit.

It was expensive, yes, but place was just so cool.

AND it was the first time in months that everything was in English. #BLESS

The three of us stayed in, what was probably the coolest hostel I’ve been to, The Birds Hostel. It’s placed right above a bar and constantly holds fun events. Like themed trivia games (i.e. Harry Potter, Disney Villains, etc.), movie nights (in our case, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1), and had an overall cool setup. Not to mention that the people there are genuinely nice and hilarious to be around.

Oh, and the food is to die for. I most particularly loved their chicken popcorn.

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We spent our first morning in Covent Garden, particularly in a tea store called Whittard of Chelsea. While I am not a big fan of tea, the shop was filled with gorgeous items and delicious smelling teas. There was also tons of Alice in Womderland themed products, one of which was chocolate that I gladly ate and shared at school later on. If not for the chocolate itself, then for the beautiful packaging.

We then scurried off to see Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

One of us is an art major and I, for those of you who don’t know, considered being one myself. That was, of course, before I realized I didn’t like being stressed out by deadlines when it came to art. Now you can imagine how excited we were to visit the National Gallery, where some of the world’s greatest artworks are. Although our time was limited, the one piece of art that I absolutely HAD to see was the famous Sunflower by Vincent van Gogh (the one with the vase to be precise).

My good friend and I took turns geeking out over our favorite artists and taking pictures with their pieces.

Van Gogh is my guy, Monet is hers.

We also made sure to visit Abbey Road (although we could’ve been run over) and Platform 9 3/4 (despite the long line).

We even made reservations to have tea at a place called Candella. It’s a quaint but beautiful place, perfect for living out one’s tea time dreams.

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We ended the day with a live show of Les Misérables.

Earlier that day our group met a very nice woman staying at the same hostel we were in. She had discounts on tickets to musicals being shown during our stay, and graciously offered us to any of our choosing. Since two of the three in our group had never actually seen the production, the third a fervent fan of it, we decided to watch Les Misérables.

Despite its tragedy and dark tone (don’t worry, no spoilers here), the story was beautiful and filled with talented actors.

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On our last night in London, all three of us went on the London Eye.

The initial idea was to be in it while the sun was setting. But London, however, is all fog and rain. So that plan went down the drain. But the overall experience was so much fun. The line, while long, was exceedingly fast and the views were amazing.

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My two favorite things about London are 1) their Metro system and 2) Primark.

For the first point, it’s so incredibly easy to understand. And no, not just because it’s in English. But the lines make more sense and aren’t incredibly complicated like freaking spiderwebs (ahem, Paris). The Overground, which we particularly used, was never a stressful thing. We never once got lost.

Primark, which I know can be found in other countries, was first discovered by moi in London. It’s basically a cool place to find clothes and other items that will not break the bank. Unless you go overboard of course, but that’s not the point.

Overall, London was the best. With it’s red buses and telephone booths and cool accents. I definitely recommend going there and encourage study abroad students to seek out The Birds Hostel.

And remember to mind the gap!

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