Academics: A Semester Abroad in England
A Weekend in London
by Kali McCullough '10
The second weekend took us to London, and since we went by coach, it took us several hours to get there. Being the academically-conscious students we are, we all took our British Studies books with us for the long coach ride — nothing like 32 chapters of Roy Strong's "The Story of Britain" to induce a three-hour nap!
After a long trip punctuated by the occasional rolling hill (Lincolnshire is decidedly flat), we arrived at the Royal National Hotel. Our kind coach driver took us on a brief bus tour of London, which ended up being incredibly informative. Little did we know that, for Vanessa and I, that bus tour would be our only glimpse of the world-renowned London that we would see.
After grabbing our luggage and settling into our rooms, we set about getting our bearings in London. Since the College had no set activities for us for the entire weekend, we were free to do what we wanted ... which, of course, involved a Broadway show on West End.
Cabaret was everything we had hoped for, including big voices, great choreography, and a fantastic spectacle. Afterwards, we took the tube to Hammersmith to hang out with some friends from Evansville who had traveled independently to London to experience it on their own.
On Saturday, Vanessa and I took the road less traveled by. Instead of visiting Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square or St. Paul's, we set out on foot towards Leicester Square. After a short tube ride we were there, right in the middle of the theatre district again, only this time in broad daylight. We roamed the streets, searching for good deals on souvenirs and lunch, but we finally decided to splurge on a pair of tickets to see Wicked that night at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. The show was, again, incredible.
After it, we trooped back to our hotel and spent a night out wandering the streets around the Royal National Hotel with some friends. London changes into a completely different city after slipping out of the sharp glare of daylight, and we found a lot of delightful details that we were sure to have missed during the day.
We spent our weekend as citizens instead of tourists, and I would even venture to say that, though we missed the famous sights that London has to offer, we explored more of the city than anyone else on the trip. Plus, we reminded ourselves, there's always next weekend.
A native of Columbia, Tenn., Kali enjoys traveling, writing poetry, playing guitar and singing, snowboarding, reading, and making things out of paper. She is a French major with a double minor in Spanish and English. After she graduates, she hopes to teach French or work as a translator for an overseas branch of an American company.