a traveller's diary

A very English experience!

Hi there, guys! The moment of my first post this year has arrived and I’m happy to start right up with today’s topic, which I’m not used to talk about, as this is a really unique experience that I truly enjoyed!

First and foremost, what am I talking about? Well, today’s topic is my travel to London at the end of last summer, in particular from 7th September to 13th October. It has been such an amazing journey that I still remember most of the details of it!

Apart from the poorly interesting bureaucratic bits and forms for the subscription, this very English experience begins with an exam that assesses one’s language abilities in order to compile the rankings of the applying students. Then a short meeting takes place at school to know some specifics about the travel, what to bring and not to bring but also to shake hands with the rest of the group with which you’re going to live for an entire month.

But let’s get to the intriguing part. The travel itself! Right after the slightly dull plane flight, you are immediately thrown into a totally new environment where everything seems extremely different, yet it easily becomes very familiar in just a week. This ease is related to the optimal organization of roads, public services and the really efficient underground network. Nevertheless, it is probably as easy to run out of money if you go there with a small budget. Actually, as the travel took place thanks to an Italian public funding, we, students, had some economical subsidies such as free flights, board and lodging in English families rather than a college, as well as a free English course and some luncheon vouchers that we could use in most of the food shops. Isn’t this enough? Well, we also had a weekly Travel Card which let us go almost everywhere thanks to the 24/7 transport services.

Moreover, talking about going out and about in this astoundingly massive city of London, we indeed got to see most of its important places. Here’s a partial list of what we’ve seen: the really well-painted crossing lines of Abbey Road, Covent Garden (whose name might be misleading), Piccadilly Circus, the “fine” market of Camden Town, the Tower of London and its pleasant Beefeaters, the quite loud Big Ben, the Tate Modern (whose cameras may have recorded our philosophical comments of its masterpieces), the Globe Theatre with the necessary Uncle Willy’s play, and why not, a ride on the London Eye! Of course that’s not all, but, I’d rather I didn’t bore you with just a list.

A collage of three interesting and famous places we visited

The usual weekday began with the useless alarm clock at 7:00, then the annoying 7:05 alarm clock which I was forced to shut down. At 7:15, I finally woke up. After having a very “light” breakfast and a cup of tea, we (my roommate and I) went (ran) to the nearest DLR station (that was about half a mile away from home). If you are wondering what the DLR is, well, it is a special high-speed train service that easily connects the relatively new zone of London (Lewisham) where we lived to the central part of the city. Moreover, it conveniently has the Greenwich station right near our school while on the other side there is a supermarket called Sainsbury’s that daily fills our bags with junk food. Not to mention  McDonald, Burger King, Greggs, Starbucks and fish and chips shops everywhere (we periodically went crazy and entered one of them). Also, if you are into music, there are music shops around every corner with used CDs and vinyls at extremely affordable prices; it was a paradise for me and my luggage, during the return trip, weighing way too much.

How beautiful this is!

Alright folks, I think that’s enough for the first episode of this travel! The second part is probably coming up next week, so stay tuned! 😉

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