My last days in London were a whirl wind of cleaning, handing in papers, packing, and trying to fit in last minute cultural experiences. I went to see Henry V with Jude Law (thanks Grandmom!). It was absolutely incredible. All the London papers gave it 5 stars and I couldn’t agree more. The next day I turned in my final research paper for my History Programme and headed off to Belgium (on which you will hear more but that trip was so important that I need more than a week to draft my thoughts). It was both a huge relief to be done and kind of like losing a part of me that I had been working on for 4 months (wow I’ve been here for 4 months! That FLEW by). That last week I went to see Richard II starring David Tennant. I though it was fitting that I begin and end my semester abroad in London with William Shakespeare. The show was incredible but better yet was stage dooring afterwards when I met David Tennant!!! I was easily one of the greatest nights of my life. After that, London for BU started to wrap up. My core group of friends (minus a few that were busy) went to the Blackfriar Pub for one last night of pub food before we all left our new and beloved home. Blackfriars is the most beautiful pub I’ve ever seen. The inside is gorgeous art deco images with friars everywhere because it was the site of a monastery from the 1200s to the 1500s Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire supposedly held court there and it is suspected to be the location from which Henry VIII’s court dissolved his marriage to Cathrin of Aragon. After that it was a sea of packing and teary goodbyes to London and my new found friends then off to Italy for the adventure of a lifetime.
Claire and I made our way to Dublin on Saturday morning the following weekend. We had a fun day at the Guineas Factory with Jess. The three of us learned all the history of Guinness and hour to pour a perfect pint, which we then got to drink! We then wanted around Dublin, making our way to Trinity College and the Molly Malone statue. We grabbed bangers and mash and traditional Irish stew for dinner, then Claire and I met up with Allison who was studying abroad with Jess in Dublin. The Three of us made our way to O’Neils and then to Doyle’s to catch up. The next morning at the crack of dawn Claire and I wandered through the quiet streets of Dublin to get to our tour bus. We took the bus to Carrick-a-rede bridge which was 100 feet above thrashing water and jagged cliffs. After that mini adventure we hiked for hours along Giant’s Causeway which was exhausting and breathtakingly beautiful. Finally we got a look at the ruins of Dunluce Castle before we drove back to Belfast to hang around the Christmas market for an hour. The market was adorable and even had an entire stand dedicated to all of the different coffees and hot chocolates you could make with Baileys. The biggest down side to this whole trip was forgetting my passport at the hostel in Dublin when we left for our day trip. Although I got it back at the end of the day the whole bus ride that wasn’t spent enjoying the view was spent panicking that I was going to be arrested or thrown out of the country. By far that was the stupidest most terrifying thing I’ve done on study abroad but luckily I made it back to Dublin without a hitch and then back on to London.
The weekend of November 8th Alison, Amanda, and I boarded a plane to Copenhagen. If only that was the whole story. This just happened to be the day that the Tube caught on fire. So all the stations by Courtfield were closed. We walked for an hour to try to find a cab on a Friday at 5 in the pouring rain which was NOT in our favor. Eventually we made it to Victoria station but not before missing our bus. We begged an pleaded and finally managed to pay a change fee to get on the next bus to Gatwick to barely make our plane which was delayed, then magically NOT delayed without warning! Eventually we landed in Copenhagen. We were excited to go to Tivoli Gardens but just our luck it was closed to decorate for Christmas THAT weekend! Not letting this get us down we went on half a walking tour then shopped. The next day we went to the National Museum of Denmark which was super fun. We saw the changing of the guards at Amalienborg Palace, the Hans Christian Anderson Little Mermaid statue, and the famous Nyhavn harbor. We even stopped by Chritiania for a short time. Alison and I went out to a cafe the first night and listened to a band play a really strange but enjoyable mix between jazz and rap while we made up rules to round checkers and tried to translate and play Danish monopoly. The next day we met up with Liz and went to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum. Then we went to the oldest Jazz bar in Copenhagen which was absolutely amazing. We had the BEST time listening to several different bands come together using members of other bands forming impromptu groups and playing impromptu music in a bar so crowded with people you could barely find a place to stand. We said out goodbyes to Liz and attempted to make out way back to London the next morning at 4 am. What we didn’t realize was that the gates to the main train station didn’t open until 5am which was still in time for us to make out flight but not quite soon enough to stop us from freaking out because we couldn’t get into the station for a good 15 minutes. But in the end all was well.
The first weekend in November a few friends and I went on a day trip to the White Cliffs of Dover and the town of Canterbury – home of Canterbury Cathedral, the bishop of Canterbury and the destination for Chaucer’s pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales. Our first stop was Dover Castle. We walked through the secret tunnels carved into the cliffs hundreds of years ago that were re-purposed during World War II by Winston Churchill. They made me a little claustrophobic but were a really interesting way to learn about the defense of Britain during the War. We then climbed up to the old Roman light house and to the very top of Dover Castle for a beautiful view of Calais, the Cliffs, and the city of Dover. Later we drove to Canterbury. We got a great view of the outside of the Cathedral but didn’t have the time to go inside. Instead we went to one of the oldest pubs in the city for a pint and a bite to eat. After an hour in Canterbury we drove 6 hours back to London (as opposed to the 3 it should have taken us) right into London traffic which was by far the worst part of my day.