Rather than a Thanksgiving break, students in France get a longer break closer to the middle of the semester. For me, this break was ten days long and I spent it with the best people in some of the best places that I’ve been. This is my trip in a nutshell:
Most of our time in London was spent running around the city from sight to sight. We all wanted to see and do so many things in so little time and we really did see a lot in the short time we were there!
The first day we came across things like Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace (we also saw the changing of the guards), Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and the Eye. We also spent probably an hour just laying on the floor of Tate Modern watching some kind of art display… Honestly, we were all in a food coma from eating the first Mexican food we had eaten since being back in the States. Those burritos were exactly what we needed.
The second day we went to more specific spots like 221B Baker Street (I may have requested that we visit the home of Sherlock…), Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, and Abbey Road. Abbey Road is quite funny because it’s a fully functioning road with lots of cars and then about 30 tourists trying to walk across in order to get the perfect Beatles inspired photo. We came out with a pretty good picture and also a few out takes. Later, we made it to Trafalgar Square where we spent a couple of hours in a quiet pub and then eventually found our way to Bounce, the bar where ping pong was invented. After a night of ping pong with some other Kedge students that we met up with, we called it a day and headed back to my friend’s cousin’s house to get some rest. Big shoutout to Marvin for housing us and showing us all the ins and outs of the city!
Before heading to Dublin, my friends and I made sure to have English tea near the square. I had the most amazing chicken and avocado sandwich with earl grey tea and chocolate cake for dessert.
After the tea in London, I had to jet off to the airport because I was going to Dublin several hours before everyone else. Once I got there it was already dark, but I was able to find some pizza and my brief love affair with Apache Pizza began.
Everyone else arrived either late into the night or early the next morning so we were able to spend our whole first day together. A large chunk of our day was at Guinness Storehouse. We probably spent 3+ hours in that place. I learned that I actually do really enjoy Guinness and I also learned how to pour the “perfect pint.” I’m a pro. After lots of walking around the city, we decided to go on a pub crawl with the hostel. We didn’t expect it to be the best thing ever, but it may have been the best thing ever! There was live music at most of the pubs and one in particular played mainly Irish music and had traditional dancers there as well. This pub was my favorite along with another that had a singer playing more popular music like “Fast Car,” which may or may not have been my request. After the crawl, we went back to the hostel and ate Apache Pizza.
Day two was more relaxed. We visited the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College and saw their old library which was gorgeous. The girls had to catch a flight to Edinburgh, but I had one more night left with the guys. This night included seeing one of my favorite bands, The Lumineers. The show was incredible and was followed by more Apache Pizza. Unfortunately for us, the show ended very late and we had to catch a shuttle at 3:30 am to get to the airport for our flights. Fortunately for us, Dublin was awesome.
I arrived in Edinburgh at the break of dawn. The girls had already been in our Airbnb for a night so I had to find the place on my own. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy either. Once everyone was up and at ’em, we went straight to Edinburgh Castle. Some of us (me and Marjorie) are obsessed with the show Reign and therefore were geeking out about being in the same place that Mary Queen of Scots once lived. We even saw the room where she had her only son! Anyway, it’s up on top of a large cliff so you can basically see all of Edinburgh. After the castle, we went down the Royal Mile and found the most adorable little restaurant where we ate the most wholesome meal that we had eaten in a while considering in Dublin we filled up on beer and I ate Apache Pizza every night. We continued exploring and having photoshoots in the falling leaves and eventually climbed Calton Hill which gave us more spectacular views. There was even a guy playing bagpipes at the top! By then we were exhausted so we went home to watch ridiculous British television.
On the following day we decided to take on the daunting task of climbing to Arthur’s Seat. It took a good while to find where the trail actually started and we definitely got separated on the way up, but we made it in one piece. Now THAT place had a view. I would have stayed for hours if we would’ve had the time and energy. Getting down took only a fraction of the time that it took to get up, so we had time to grab afternoon tea on the Royal Mile at a tea room very close to Holyrood Palace. I had my favorite tea, earl grey, and a slice of apple pie that had small berries in it. By the end of tea we were ready to hit the hay and prepare for our next adventure.
For the last leg of the journey the girls went to Paris while I met up with the boys (who had spent some time in Liverpool) in Amsterdam. While we really didn’t do much in Amsterdam due to our tight schedules and being extremely tired, I have to say that I loved this city. The people, the architecture, the canals… Everything was magical. The entirety of our time was spent wandering around the city. We would stop and eat and have coffee and relax, but mostly we just walked and embraced the atmosphere. Of all the places I’ve visited, this is top on my list of where I should return. I want to spend more time here and maybe do some of the more touristy things that I didn’t have the chance to do before. I’ll always remember my trip to Amsterdam because I may have gotten a permanent souvenir at a local tattoo shop. It was my third tattoo and I must say that I love it a lot!
After this long ten day adventure I felt like I could’ve slept for a million years, but it was so incredibly worth it.