The thing I was most excited about when I decided to study abroad was the traveling. As much as I really am enjoying some of my courses here, nothing compares to the thrill of being able to casually book a weekend trip to Prague and Budapest. My exciting travel adventures kicked off this last week with the first stop being London. Originally, London was not on my bucket list of places to go while in England, because I went a couple years back when I was in high school. However, I told myself if the opportunity presented itself, I would do it. Well, as you may have guess, the opportunity came! One of the very first days here, I met an amazing girl named Melissa. We happened to both be trying out the same church, and it was both of our first weeks in Manchester. She is from Canada and is in Manchester looking for a 6 month job opportunity. She happened to intern last year in London for a fashion designer, and presented me with the opportunity to go to London Fashion Week with her. We set off Saturday morning and caught the bus that left at 7 AM. So, this meant I had to catch the bus from my dorm to Piccadilly Gardens at 6 AM, which meant that I had to wake up at 5:00 AM to pack and get ready. Needless to say, it was the start to a long weekend! We caught the bus (which is half the price of a train ticket, but double the time) and arrived in London at 11:30 AM.
Our first stop was food… what else? We hopped over to Camden area and we went to this outdoor market where there were food stands from all over the world. After many taste samples, I decided on Peruvian. After lunch we went to our hostel to check in and drop off our stuff. It was the first time I had stayed in a hostel. In my services marketing class, we are learning about different ways that consumers judge the quality of a service, such as a hostel room. One way is through the value-based method, where you measure how good the service quality was compared to the price. So, for 10 quid a night, I can say the hostel was lovely.
Up next: becoming tourists! I think back to when I was in 10th grade and went to London. Trying to be the cool high school kid I was, I wanted to do everything in my power to not look like a tourist. Since graduating high school, I have given up hope on being cool, so the selfie stick came out, and with no shame! We walked what seemed like 4 miles to the tower bridge. Then, we hit up Big Ben, the London eye, Westminster abbey and finished the last bit of sunlight with Trafalgar square and the National Gallery. For dinner, we split an apple and pulled pork pizza and then enjoyed some cold (very very cold) night air at Piccadilly Circus, which seems like the London version of New York City’s Times Square, but I wouldn’t know.
The next day, we woke up early and made our way to the Ethologie Fashion Show by Japser Garvida. Afterwards, we walked about the venue a little bit and grabbed some Starbucks. We spent the rest of our free time just enjoying London.
Before heading back home, we went to the church that Melissa used to go to when she lived in London. It was such a great end to such a great weekend. Last thing left to do was take the long journey back to Manchester. I got back to my dorm room at 2 AM Monday. My springy mattress has never been so sweet. What do you do when you’re at London’s Fashion Week and you just don’t fit in? Shake It Off! (Click on the “Shake It Off” to see our Shake It Off- London edition)