Postcards. There is never enough space on those tacky little cards, and I can never think of anything worthwhile to write. Who knew a few sentences could be so difficult to write? Nevertheless, it is nice to send exclamations of wanderlust, love and affection, and homesickness, to friends and family back home – a small private snippet of my adventures separate from the constant stream of messages and photos I broadcast to the world (wide web).
I hardly know where to start on how much I have enjoyed my very first trip to Europe; though I am glad to be home in my own bed. I’ve seen and done so much, and been completely charmed by every city I’ve visited. Starting in London, I basically spent the first few days muttering to myself about how pretty everything was while wandering the expansive city…
I loved every part of London I walked through; all the cobblestone streets, all the museums and art galleries, the markets and parks; I loved it all despite occasionally finding myself thoroughly overwhelmed by the sea of people who pour through the streets throughout the day. Unsurprisingly, London was even more stunning at night, especially along the river, or at Trafalgar Square. Everywhere was lit up spectacularly and there fewer people to trample over me; all that was missing were the stars, which couldn’t quite make it through the cloud of light pollution blanketing the city. Then there were the maps! It seems trivial, but I liked them so much compared to every other city. Firstly, there were everywhere; you could hardly walk 10 meters without walking into one. Then, they were even orientated to the direction you were standing – rather helpful when one is slightly intoxicated.
I walked more in the three weeks of summer school than I probably do in a whole semester at Melbourne Uni – though it probably helped that the underground was prohibitively expensive. In fact, one of my few complaints is that everything was so expensive compared to back home – especially food! Though it might also have been the case that I wasn’t eating at the right places. The markets were fabulous though. Camden and Borough markets were two of my best meals in London: delicious empanadas, jerk chicken, and freshly squeezed juices. I couldn’t stand all the chain restaurants and cafes with refrigerated meals and bad coffee though. I think Melbourne has totally spoilt me when it comes to the quality and range of food; I am yet to find a city I love to eat in more.
On summer school at London School of Economics, I have only good things to say about the experience. I met so many interesting and intelligent people from all over the world, was reminded of why I was interested in development in the first place, and got to geek out on economics for three intense weeks. Can’t wait to get back to studying next year!
As you can tell, London charmed the pants off me. I will definitely be visiting again when I get the chance – hopefully for longer next time, and with just as much sunshine.
On top of spending three weeks in London, I also did a two-week trip around Central Europe, which was every bit as fascinating, awe-inspiring, and wonderful as London was. Frankfurt, Berlin, Warsaw, Auschwitz, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Munich, the Romantic Road; cakes and pastries, kebabs, currywurst, pierogi, goulash, basically all manners of pork and potato; war, peace, reunification, genocide, culture, art, music – unfortunately these are all things for another post.
I’ll be travelling to San Francisco and Seattle on Friday for about 10 days, but I will try to write while away. At the very least expect a post on on Central Europe, as well as the anxiety-inducing prospect/reality of interning in Bangkok from September to just before graduation in December. As always, thanks for reading! 🙂