As we settled in, we finally had the chance to see some highlight locations in London. Our first few stops were art galleries where we were required to visit for our choreography class, to help us view creating in a new way and receive a bit of creative insight. On our way to these galleries, located near the London Bridge National Rail station, we stopped at London’s Famous Borough Market. The number of vendors, the variety of food choices, and the large crowd was overwhelming to all of the senses, but I found a Pad Thai stand and knew that is what I wanted.
One of my friends decided on fish and chips, and another said she had the best brownie of her life. After wandering through the rest of the market, and seeing the alley used for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, I tried a salted honeycomb doughnut from London’s best doughnut shop, Breads Ahead. I might have to say that this doughnut was better than any Federal Donut that I have ever had! (Sorry FedNuts…)
When we went to sleep that night, the sky opened and it really rained for the first time since we landed. When we tried to get on the tube for our daily commute on Wednesday morning, the driver announced that “a mysterious clear liquid was falling from the sky,” and there would be major delays. We ended up being almost 40 minutes late for our morning class, however when our teacher finally arrived, she said that it had taken her over 2 hours to take a 30 minute driving route. She joked that we brought the rain with us because London never experiences storms to this degree. The storm in the sky just so happened to foreshadow the political storm that was to come.
On our commute home, all of the trains were down due to the flooding and signal failures from the storm, so we had to find a bus route that would take us home. We made yet another travel mistake by getting off too soon, which resulted in waiting 30 minutes for another bus line that never came, just to go back and wait for the same bus to come 15 minutes later after standing in the pouring rain. There was a silver lining to taking a different route home, however, because I finally got to see Big Ben!
After taking 3 hours to travel home, a few of us decided we deserved some good food that we didn’t have to cook for ourselves, so we went to a pub near our flat, The Zetland Arms, where I enjoyed delectable, classic bangers and mash, and my friend tried the veggie fish and chips (which were made with cheese.) I made her at least try them with some malt vinegar (my favorite way to eat fish and chips.) This meal made the 3 hour commute very much worth it, and redeemed the day.
We were also able to hear the views of the people when history was made as England left the EU on Friday (known in the U.S. as “Brexit.”) Our teachers in class that day explained that everyone outside would probably be very melancholy, but emphasized the significance to history. After class we planned to explore the London Bridge area. After walking across the actual London Bridge and making a music video to the song “London Bridge” by Fergie, we walked along the River Thames to get to Tower Bridge which was absolutely and unbelievably beautiful.
We walked across Tower Bridge with our Flat Jmo. Flat Jmo is our version of Flat Stanley, created for one of our dance professors from home. (Stay tuned for more Flat Jmo adventures.)
Then we went to the viewing deck in the Shard, which is the tallest building in all of the European Union…or so it was. We were able to watch the beginning of the sunset and watch the city start to sparkle from 1,020 feet up. This was a stunning sight to share with three of my fellow dancers.
When we returned to ground level, there were rioters at the London Bridge tube station protesting the departure from the EU, and the streets were lined with police officers.. I felt very privileged to be in the middle of history.
On Saturday, after an exhausting week of creativity and commutes, we took a bus tour of London where we were able to discover even more places we needed to visit during our quite short time here.