11. The London Chronicles: Part I

I know, I know. I’m many multiple days behind on writing a blog. Since there is so much going on while here in London, the next couple of blog posts are simply going to be adventure journals of our time in London.

Saturday, July 1st
Ricardo and I left NYC about 6am for a plane that departed around 10:30am. We finally arrived at Heathrow Airport in London around 10:00pm. After passing through customs and getting our passports stamped, we spend a solid two hours wandering London on various tube systems trying to reach our destination of Whitechapel. We would have gotten to Whitechapel much sooner except for the temporary – it was the weekend and late at night – suspensions of tube service between multiple stations.

We finally made it to Whitechapel and made it into our flat after a long search for the keys. Our flat is tiny and cozy and absolutely lovely: it’s all wood and shades of red and white. There’s a large painted canvas of a Boston terrier on a red background on one wall and a black and white poster with a red double decker bus on the other wall. We discovered we are on a noisy intersection that night, but alas. The noise is more than a fair price for getting to live in London for a month!

Sunday, July 2nd
Sunday consisted of our program orientation at the Swan House right at the end of Chancery Lane. We got our official King’s College London IDs and are now officially King’s College students (at least for the summer). After the orientation ended, we wandered down Chancery Lane and accidentally wandered upon the magnificently beautiful King’s College library. We then proceeded to get our first British pub beers and avocado toasts at The George, a lovely and old pub that we took to very quickly. We then proceeded to try to see Tralfagar Square, but as there had been a festival in the Square over the weekend, we couldn’t see the lions or fountains amidst all the tents being taken down.

Monday, July 3rd
Our classes started! We have Human Rights & Human Trafficking from 9-11am every morning and then Corporations from 1:30-3:30pm Monday-Friday. The times are slightly inconvenient as we have little enough time during our break to go sightseeing and get out too late to really get to spend several hours at museums while they’re still open. The classes were fantastic.

After class, we wandered down to the Thames and walked to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. We saw the London Eye from a distance and had a lunch of fish and chips, bangers and mash, and cider at a pub called the Badger right across from Westminster Abbey. After that, we wandered around some really nice neighborhoods and decided we would love to live here, if we ever decided to proactively pursue that end. We also walked to Buckingham Palace and sat in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial for some time before finding our way home.

Tuesday, July 4th
Since it was the 4th of July, several of our classmates decided to go to an American pub in Covent Gardens. We all got burgers (mine was absolutely delicious) and the waiter delighted in the fact that we were “genuine Americans”.

Since that took some time, Ricardo and I stopped briefly by King’s Cross before heading home. At King’s Cross, of course, there is Platform 9 ¾ and the Harry Potter store, where we bought an Alohomora doormat for Casa Scrumptious.

Wednesday, July 5th
After class, we – and by we, I mean most of the Summer program students – went on a tour of legal London. Swan House, where our Corporations class meets, is right at the end of Chancery Lane and as such is in the heartland of what they call “Legal London”. We visited all four Inns of Court, which are essentially the lawyers’ versions of Hogwarts. The four Inns are respectively named Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, Gray’s Inn and Inner Temple.

After the tour, Ricardo and I spent a few hours studying at Starbucks and then returned to the George until dark. Since it’s summer, the sun doesn’t set until 9pm every night. Have I mentioned that you have to spend several hours every night on homework and readings when you have four hours of classes every day?

Thursday, July 6th
Since the British Library is open until 8pm every night, Ricardo and I decided to go visit after class. On the way, we discovered this little hole-in-the-wall Italian/American diner where we got very cheap and very delicious breakfast platters. On the way, we also found and stopped in the Church of Saint Pancras.

At the British Library, we applied for and got official British Library reading cards which allow us to go to the reading rooms and do all the research we could possibly desire. I don’t think we will actually do so, but nonetheless, we have the power! We also saw their vaults with old manuscripts and books ranging from doodlings by the Beatles to illuminated Bibles to writings by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Friday, July 7th
Our second class of the day, Corporations, was switched with the Negotiations course, so we got out of class at 1:15. As such, we had a whole day. So, naturally, we went to the Tower of London. Real castles are hard to come by in the United States; we might as well take every opportunity to see them while we’re here.

The Tower of London was amazing. We got to see the crown jewels, the ravens, the barracks, and a dragon made out of shields and weaponry from the armory. After the Tower of London, we were starving and had the most disappointing Subway experience ever. But that’s another story.


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