When studying abroad in London, there is a fine balance between travelling to Europe and spending enough time in London to get acquainted with the city and make the most of the study abroad experience. With Europe so close, it is so tempting to jet off every weekend to a new location. I have done that quite a bit recently and it seems like each week I'm crossing at least a couple things off my bucket list. Recently, I've completed quite a few items. To name a few: I've seen the Northern Lights in Iceland, went on a gondola ride in Venice, celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Ireland, and went to The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford.
As much as I enjoy all of these amazing experiences in their own right, one of the greatest parts of travelling is meeting other travellers from all over the world. Often I spend anywhere between an evening and a few days with the people I meet, but it seems like when travelling alone (or in a small group) we become friends much quicker. In the past month, I've bonded with travellers from Japan (figure skating really is super popular there!) quite easily. All I have to do is ask, "Do you know who Mao Asada is?" So far, everyone has said yes and then conversations about our favourite skaters flourish. I'm always impressed at how much non-skaters know about skating. All I need to do is say that I once met Mao Asada (well, actually I interrupted her buying tights to get a photo, but it counts!), that I used to train with Rachael Flatt and Patrick Chan, that Jason Brown let me hold his Olympic medal, and that I used to live with Josh Farris and then they're impressed with me. It's quite fun! I also met an American with a mutual friend in Venice, randomly bumped into the Queen Mary Physics and Astronomy Society in Iceland, toured the Vatican with a girl from Ukraine, made friends with an American in Rome and went to dinner for his 21st birthday, roamed around the streets of Dublin with another American study abroad student three nights in a row, and became inseparable with a girl from Australia during our tour in Iceland. Even though we know each other for such a short amount of time, it is always hard to leave and I'm so thankful that Facebook exists!
I get so distracted talking about my other adventures, that I forget how truly amazing London is! It is definitely my favourite city (note: city is different than town, village, etc.) due to all it has to offer. Each week it seems like I discover a new area. I recently re-discovered the more touristy areas like Covent Garden and Tower Hill. The area is expensive, but wandering around aimlessly and taking photos is free!
I recently went to Abbey Road and because I don't know much about it, I mistakenly thought it would be at the Abbey Road DLR station. It's not. It's at St. James Wood, on the complete other side of the city. So after an additional forty-two minutes on the tube, we arrived. At first, all we did was watch in amusement as the tourists tried to take silly photos, greatly annoying the British drivers. Then, of course, we had to be the annoying tourists!
I also love hanging around the markets. My favourites are Camden Town and Borough Market. For the first time, I finally visited Portobello Road, which was just as amazing as I was told it was!
My new favourite pastime is going to cat yoga! Yes, it is at my beloved Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium and is exactly what it sounds: yoga with cats! Last week a reporter came and I got quoted in the Hackney Post. Hello, London, another cat lady is in town!
Iceland Part Two and Italy is coming very soon, I promise! I'm also going to try to update every few days about London. Thanks for following my journey!
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. 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 24 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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