London has been wonderful so far. I've walked around a lot of different areas, including Notting Hill and Kensington Gardens, which is a beautiful park only a couple blocks away. I also went to Piccadilly Circus, which is London's equivalent to Time's Square in NYC. Its probably really fun at night, but isn't too great during the day, unless you like being crowded by tourists and want to spend a ton of money in expensive shops. Brittany and I also headed to Harrods, a famous and gigantic high-end department store. We almost hyperventilated looking at all the designer clothes and millions of dollars worth of shoes. I doubt I'll ever be able to afford something from there, but it is still amazing to walk around and look at everything.
On friday night, the school hosted a "Welcome to London" boat party... or what most would call a booze cruise. It started off really well because we were able to see the famous sights along the banks of the Thames. But after about twenty minutes, there was nothing interesting to look at. Most of the students bought drinks and joined the dance party upstairs, but a some of us sat downstairs at tables and talked. It was pretty fun and good for getting to know people, but it felt like the boat was barely moving. The entire trip took three hours and by the end, everyone was eager to get off the boat.
The view from the boat
I also had the pleasure of going up in the London Eye, which is reminiscent of a ferris wheel and provides the best view of London. The London Eye moves very slowly and takes a half hour for one full rotation. The view was absolutely stunning and a really fun way to see the city.
The view from the London Eye
Yesterday was the first day of classes at Richmond. This semester, I'm taking:
Mass Communication and SocietyHistory of LondonMuseums and Galleries of LondonComparative World ReligionsSociology of Culture and Subculture
I'm really excited to start taking classes, especially History of London and Museums and Galleries of London, because these two classes include field trips every week to different places around London! I've already had homework and I expect to have a lot of reading, but London has tons of parks and adorable cafes that I can do it in.
Last night, I ran into Arthur Moreau on the street. For those of you who don't know Arthur, we were in second grade together and went to Miramar Ranch Elementary, Marshall Middle School, and Scripps Ranch High School together. It turns out Arthur is studying abroad here this semester too and just happens to be living a few blocks away from me! It truly is a small world...
On tuesdays, I have a six hour break between my two classes. So today, I ventured to the Victoria and Albert museum, which is only a few blocks away. The museum is HUGE and free, which is always wonderful :) It would take me days to look through the entire museum but, even though I was only there for about an hour, I managed to look at their fashion exhibit and to stroll through some of their hallways filled with sculptures. I also looked through their photography gallery (the first thing I look for in any art museum). I learned that in 1858, the Victoria and Albert museum became the first museum in the world to hold a photography exhibit. As you can imagine, I was delighted and will most likely return to spend some more time in their current photography exhibit.
One of the many sculptures