The Final Study Abroad Adventure: Showing my "Mum" around London and Northern Ireland
Most of you probably know that I've been back in the United States for about a month now. I never updated my blog about my final study abroad adventures and I have a lot more to say about my travels, so I am going to make this blog active again.
My mom decided to come see London and help me pack up to move for two weeks before I left. I think she also wanted to collect me, knowing that I would much rather keep travelling than return to my boring Pennsylvania hometown for the summer.
As soon as I picked her up at the airport she remarked how "Briticized" I looked. I had gotten so used to living in London that I forgot how crowded the tube seems at first and what it is like to not know the difference between British coins.
Besides packing, some of the highlights of the London bit of our adventure included:
-Afternoon tea at Soho Secret Tea Room twice. (Vegetarian alert: Soho Secret Tea Room and Coach and Horses pub beneath it are both vegetarian!)
-Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, one of London's greatest places
-Crystal Palace, which no longer is a palace, but rather a park
-Columbia Flower Market, as well as London's many other markets
-Ragged School Museum, which is a Victorian area school house right by Queen Mary University. I had been wanting to visit it so we finally made it there. We even got to take a Victorian era lesson!
-Kew Gardens, which are definitely worth seeing and take an entire day. They're massive! They even include the world's oldest potted plant.
-A day trip to Brighton
Mid-way through her stay, we went up to Portrush, Northern Ireland. This marked my first visit to Northern Ireland so now I can say I've been to every country within the UK! Portrush was a tiny town on the coast. Geographically, it looks surprisingly close to Iceland. For future reference, you can take a three-day ferry to Iceland!
One of the first sights we saw was Giant's Causeway, somewhere that has been on my bucket list for ages! It was amazing!
While in the area, we also hiked around the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I crossed
the bridge, while my mom took photos.
We "hired" a taxi to go and see the Dark Hedges. My mom was not able to understand Irish accents very well so when the taxi driver asked if we wanted to "go and take a few photos," she thought he asked, "do you want to go and have a footrest?"
We also toured Bushmills Distillery, which had an Of Monsters and Men brew, which was exciting because a few days later, we saw them in concert.
But first, we had to find our way back to London (we flew to Belfast and took a train to Portrush). Flights were expensive and I thought it would be a good experience for my mom to take a night bus. I found us inexpensive rail and sail tickets from Belfast. We took a train from Portrush and hung out in Belfast long enough to visit St. George's Market, which was named the top UK market in 2014 and was even visited by the queen! I was surprised by how amazing the market was handy having an additional charge card...
We then took a bus to the ferry dock and boarded a ferry for Cairnryan, Scotland. The ferry was massive! It was more like a cruise ship. I saw later that that fare alone was about triple of what we paid for our entire tickets...I'm not sure how we got so lucky. After that it was time for a fifteen hour coach ride to London!
I didn't think it was that bad of a ride, after all I'm experience night bus traveller now. I spent most of the night going back and forth between reading Lord of the Rings and a non-fiction book about ancient Babylon. I don't think my mom is keen to repeat the night bus experience though.
Our last two nights in London, we had two nights out in store. First was the Of Monsters and Men concert that I bought tickets to ages ago, hoping that I could find a friend and go. My mom kindly agreed to tag along, but ended up loving it so much that she's considering becoming a groupie! This was the second time seeing them in concert, the first was at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado and they were just an amazing.
The last night in London was spent visiting Cahoots, which is a speakeasy-esque place in an old air raid shelter and underground station. It is decorated authentically and was just like stepping back into the late 1940s.
I was also determined to finish the secret crossword puzzle, which I did!
The next day, it was back to the United States of America.
Well, this has been a really long post! Thanks for hanging in there! I still have a lot of share about my experience studying and travelling abroad and plan to update this blog about twice a week, so stay in touch!
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Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: email@example.comHappy Travels, Crystal
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