On one of our free weekends I decided to go visit some family in London. Now as a student who has never been out of the country prior to this study abroad experience, I was extremely fearful of traveling by myself but decided to take a chance. I decided to take the bus to my destination in London, and was surprisingly pleased by the beautiful landscape of England. The sudden change of landscape to busy streets and what seemed like a million people woke me up to the fact that I was not in the quiet city of Leeds anymore. Arriving at the bus station it was my job to make it to the “tube” (train) station by myself. From my first encounter with someone who actually did not speak English, I learned quickly to read signs until I found my way. When I finally found my cousin in the mist of the herds of people, our adventures in London began!
Camera ready, jacket handy, umbrella secured in my backpack, and sunglasses on, we embarked on our journey. ” Make sure you follow close,” my cousin said to me as we entered into the underground tube station. I had no idea how seriously he meant this statement until i was jammed between strangers on the train. The quick movement of people and the fast pace of London reaffirmed my notion that I was not in Leeds anymore!
Both cities differed so much in their cultural dynamics. While Leeds is more of a working class post-industrial town, London had a upper class feel about it. Most of the areas we entered, from the beautiful homes to the expensive cars lining the streets, showed the class differences between the two cities.
I really enjoyed my time in London! The “New York City” of England, as one the London natives said, I grew to like the fast pace of the city. Soon I grew from a lost tourist to an expert tourist. From our adventures at Buckingham palace to photo shoots around Big Ben, I had a hard time saying goodbye to the fun city!