My final flight back to the United States flew out of Heathrow Airport in London. Despite having spent a semester studying here, there were still a few things I knew I absolutely had to see. I gave myself a final four days in London before I had to fly home, and in this time I had the most lovely sights and experiences, topping everything from my semester. If you’re interested in picture-perfect sights and instagram-worthy settings, here are my must do’s.
1. Notting Hill
This neighborhood of London, home to Portobello Market, is worthy of being famous for much more than the movie. Behind the tube station “Notting Hill Gate,” as well as further into the neighborhood towards Portobello Market, the houses are painted in gorgeous pastel hues, with vibrant doors as centerpieces. This is my absolute favorite neighborhood in London for simply walking around.
I’ve been in the UK for almost two weeks now, and while culture shock is minimal, there are definitely some minor differences that no one probably thinks to mention, that I think are worth noting. Comparing the US to the UK is like one of those picture puzzles in a Highlights magazine from my childhood, where the pictures are mostly the same, but you have to pick out the minor detail differences.
When I first arrived in London, I met this awesome lady Rebecca who helps run the Fordham in London program, and she told me that my favorite part of orientation would be “Monopoly,” which she elaborated further to say was really more of a scavenger hunt, but then wouldn’t give me any more details. I was definitely intrigued, but also skeptical, because in my experience orientation is code for a few days of excessively long and dull talks filled with common sense information. While there was one day chock full of the usual mind-numbing boring information, I was pleasantly surprised that the next two days actually were not the usual orientation horror. I enjoyed a pizza party (complete with gluten-free pizza option, potato pizza, and a new tasting crust because in the UK, you can’t put sugar in bread), an entertaining talk from the local police (complete with a slideshow set to Greenday’s “Time of Your Life” and British speak such as “tea leaves” and “chopstick fingers” meaning thieves), and yesterday, finally, the monopoly scavenger hunt.
No one seemed to know what to expect from this Monopoly orientation, and all we received was an email telling us to meet at Walkabout, an Australian pub, and requesting that everyone dress up to the theme “British.” I’m not a big fan of looking ridiculous in public, and their costume suggestions included Queen of England and the Union Jack:
(I am not kidding, these are the exact images attached to the email invite and labeled “costume suggestions”)