A little over a week ago we took our first adventure out of the Emerald Isle and took a nice leap over to London, England. It was one of the most humbling, extraordinary places filled with wonderful people to share it with. We arrived late Thursday evening, checked into the hotel, ate some pizza, and settled down for a little rest before our first day in the city on Friday. On Friday we woke up, fueled up on a lovely breakfast, and made our way to the "Tube" (The Subway of London). We got off and immediately greeted by Big Ben who was quite old and tall, but he was a gentleman and made time for all of our pictures.
This is Big Ben. I hope you now see what I mean.
Then we went to Westminster Abbey. Let me tell you, this place is the most amazing building I have ever been in. The history literally bleeds out of the cracks in the walls. Royal weddings, and coronations were a given, but who knew that there were so many significant people honored there. There were not only tombs of many kings, queens, and their children, but the Abbey also honors significant people like Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Galileo. The entire place showed how much pride London takes in its history and I have never been so honored to be in the presence of such a place. We then proceeded to lovely lunch and some of us went to Davenport's Magic Shop whereas others went for a little adventurous walk and the rest of us went to the Florence Nightingale Museum. After this we all coincidentally met up at Buckingham Palace where we met the Queen... well we wish we did her house is close second though. We then went back to the hotel, which took a very long time and by the time we got there we had all walked about 30,000 steps in a day. We then all cleaned up for a nice dinner at Maggie O'Shea's. It was very late and then we all proceeded to bed for our own personal adventure days to follow.
On Saturday, some of my friends and I wanted to go see "The Dungeons" of London. So we got on the Tube, and proceeded to London Tower. Come to find out it was 25 euro to get in so the sight of this place was enough. After walking around aimlessly for a little while, we went to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. When we arrived to Trafalgar Square my mind was absolutely blown left and right. The first was a man playing a guitar on his lap which I have certainly never seen before, but then I noticed a man drawing with some chalk. At first I thought he was a bored homeless man passing time, but then I really looked at what he was drawing and saw this:
They call it Homeless People Art and seeing it was so refreshing and thought provoking. I thought this was the most amazing thing I was going to see that day and then I saw a man sitting on the ground by a mat covered in rings. With a sign that read:
My heart exploded. After this, we took some pictures with the statues around the square and proceeded into the National Gallery. I saw Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and so many other unique pieces. After the National Gallery we went to the Tate Modern Art Museum and proceeded back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We went to dinner and retreated to the hotel to prepare for a day of travel back to Dingle on Sunday.
London was the most thought provoking trip I have ever been on. I was lucky enough to have some great friends to take it all in with and I was allowed to reflect on how truly fortunate I am to be able to have days like these. Studying abroad is hands down the best and most rewarding decision I have ever made for myself. Of course, there are days that I miss my family, and friends at home, but its those people that push me to adventure and expand who I am in places like London. So far, the greatest thing that studying abroad has taught me is to embrace it all. Embrace every single moment you have with the people around you and it will teach you so much about yourself. Of course you can do this at home, but the world is so much larger than one place so why not push those limits? The lessons that can be learned from an opportunity like studying abroad are numerous, but the memories of it all are endless. If anyone was to ever ask me if I recommended it that is what I would say.