First time in Europe!

Sometimes I take a few minutes out of my day to wonder what I ever did without internet as a kid. Over the last couple weeks I had a lot more time to consider this question as I DID NOT HAVE ANY INTERNET ACCESS WHILST IN LONDON. I’m now thinking back to the little ol’ enthusiastic me who eagerly brought her laptop along on the trip in the hopes of keeping up with the blog and uploading pretty pictures and stuff. That me was crushed the moment she stepped into her host’s house and realized that not only did she not have wi-fi, but she didn’t even have a computer. Apparently, there’s a growing number of the population there that don’t own laptops/computers everything with the data on their smartphones. I mean, more power to those people but I prefer having a larger screen and a keyboard over a tiny screen and a really annoying little keyboard that I can never seem to manage with my clumsy thumbs. That and autocorrect. Why would you ever subject yourself to the horrors of phone auto correct.

But I digress, I am not here to complain about lack of internet, but to talk about London and all of the things I experienced because I wasn’t on the computer all day. The first piece of British culture I was introduced to after we just arrived and while the rest of my family succumbed to jet lag was the soap operas. My aunt, with whom we were staying, loves them to death and we watched episode after episode while we waited for everyone to wake up. Even if I didn’t want to I really didn’t have a choice because my bed was the living room couch and the only proper television was located in the living room. The three big soap operas there are Coronation Street (which is my favorite out of the three), Eastenders and Emmerdale. There are toms others but these are the three that most of my London family watched most often. These soaps have been going on for decades and I’m almost sure they’ll never end. I must confess, I cannot stand American soaps. But these British ones were strangely addicting. I don’t know why but once you understand a bit of the back story you get really into it. Or maybe it’s just me. And While I’m on the topic of television, please watch the following commercial. You will not be disappointed. In fact, I would go back to England just to see this advert on the television again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8lLUdyaFO0

But as I did not just go to London to watch tv all day here are some pictures from the various places we visited in our travels:

Tower of London
Tower of London

20140814_115234

London Eye
London Eye
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The Shard
The Shard
Harrod's
Harrod’s
Marble Arch
Marble Arch
Albert Dock, Liverpool
Albert Dock, Liverpool
The scene by Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard
The scene by Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard
Buckingham Palace through the gates. Too many people to get a clear shot
Buckingham Palace through the gates. Too many people to get a clear shot
Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

So these are just a few things we saw along the way. One of the things I love most about London is how diverse it is. New York is diverse as well but just walking down the streets of London I heard so many different languages being spoken – it was beautiful.

Another thing I really love about London is the bus system. New York needs to get on that level. Since we didn’t have a car, we used the buses for our transportation needs and it was so easy to figure the system out. As long as you know which bus to get on (which is easy as long as you have a map, an app, or access to the internet), you’re set. The buses tells you the name of the stop it’s approaching well in advance so you have time to press the stop button and make your way to the doors. I hate taking the buses in NY when I don’t know where I’m going because unless you physically ask the driver to let you know when your stop is coming, it’s all guesswork. Also, most of the London buses are double decker, providing more space for bus patrons and a great view for those up top. I most always got a seat on the buses which is more than I can say for the buses in NY. It’s a little over a pound to ride the buses there (ahem $2.50 and rising mta fare) and the buses have all gone paperless. If you need a ride, you’ll need an oyster card (equivalent to the metrocard except cooler because you get to scan it instead of putting it through a reader that sometimes steals your money if you’re not careful).

There are some things I missed about NY though, like the way we speak. Not the accent – any of the various accents across England are way better than the American ones – but just the way we speak. We use different language for the same idea and it took me a bit to get used to. I mostly thought it was amusing though. London english is just more proper, I’d say. Instead of line they say queue, when your bus goes out of service they say it’s been terminated, they say pram instead of stroller, sublet instead of rent (although I’ve been told they use both), etc. I’ve had quite a few family members make fun of our accent though. We tried to do the same but it’s harder to do it when you’re in their country.

I feel like there’s tons more I need to say and a lot I’ve forgotten at the moment but maybe I’ve already rambled on long enough. Big thank you to all my family across London and in Liverpool that we stayed with, it was amazing to see people I haven’t in years and to meet everyone that I hadn’t yet met. I’m definitely coming back to London someday, just maybe without my parents and brother in tow. I’d love to experience it again with friends by my side.

And finally, a bit of housekeeping: So, I head back to college on Friday. I’m uploading today (Wednesday) rather than my usual Thursday because I want to give myself enough time to pack tomorrow. That being said, as the school year heats up, I already foresee it becoming difficult to post every single week. So be on the watchout – I might change my day of upload and post less frequently but I’ll still be here writing about whatever’s going on at the moment. So, for those who always read my blog, thank you for being supportive and making my summer a great one! Thanks everyone! Catch you later!

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