London flew by extremely fast! It was another country that was very similar to our own so getting around was easy. It’s the last country that we are visiting with English as their primary language so traveling will be very interesting from here on out!
I spent the first day in Southampton. I went out to dinner with a group of people in the city. There isn’t too much to do in Southampton but it is well known for where the Titanic set sail. We have officially completed the exact track that the Titanic went on backwards.
The second morning Paige and I were up bright and early for our trip to London. We signed up through Semester at Sea for a London on your own trip where they provide transportation and accommodations for the trip. The apartment they put us in was a little sketchy and two of our roommates even went and reserved a hotel instead because they didn’t want to stay there. The water was turned off so our toilet, sink, and showers didn’t work. It’s all part of the experience! We set off right away with a friend of ours to go sightseeing. We spent 3 hours in St. Paul’s Cathedral. We got in free because we went to the end of the service and then spent a lot of time walking around. We climbed all the way to the top, which took an hour in itself. It had amazing views of the city but was pretty scary being that high up. After we wandered around the city and saw a lot of sites such as: The Monument, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Globe Theatre, Westminster Abbey, the House of Parliament, and a little amusement park. We watched the sunset when walking towards Big Ben and heard the clock bells go off on the hour. Surreal moment. Paige’s Grandma bought us tickets to use the bus system and the tube for the days we were there. Taking the tube we met a runner for team USA on the Paralympics team! We saw a lot of athletes throughout town, which was sweet! We spent most of the night out of the apartment because we were terrified. The cab driver who dropped us off at the end of the night told us he was going to watch us go inside because we were in an unsafe part of town. We went and met up with a big group of SAS students at a place in SOHO. Getting there was an adventure and we met some amazing local people who helped us learn the bus system.
In the morning we set out early to get breakfast and visit Kings Cross Station. At the station they had Platform 9 ¾ from Harry Potter so we had to take pictures in front of it. We then took the Tube out to Abbey Road. We met a couple from Indiana on the tube and they ended up going around with us for awhile. We took pictures crossing the road like the Beatles and only got honked at a few times. We decided we had to go to Paul McCartney’s house after since we were already so close. We tried ringing the doorbell, which made the Indiana couple run from us, but no one answered. We then took the tube across town to the London Eye and went on the fast track to get on right away. It took 30 minutes and had amazing views of the city! We rushed to Buckingham Palace after to see it but ended up not having enough time to go on the tour. We caught the bus back to Southampton.
The last day I had my field lab, which essentially is a field trip that is worth 20% of our grade. We went to the University of Southampton and learned about teen pregnancy in the UK and compared it to US culture. We then later went to the mall to “observe” teen moms. There’s no easy way to not look like a creeper while trying to do this. After we went back to the ship and caught up with friends about their trips.
Ship life has been great! It’s hard to get back in the groove of school after trips like these. I had one class today and then I’m gone for six days traveling Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. We have a huge project for Global Studies, which we are making a documentary in a small group. My group is focusing on people with disabilities and the accessibility to healthcare and services for them. This is going to start taking up a lot of time in port with visiting hospitals and med schools. A lifelong learner Milton is helping us a lot with getting in contact with doctors and forming a good project. Tonight I had dinner with my “extended family” which they pair you with a teacher and a few other students who can get together and do stuff together. The teacher can be a friend or a mentor or someone you can just go to when you have any questions. Doug is our “father” and he is the drama teacher here. He seems pretty awesome and I think the program will be a lot of fun. We all ate dinner together tonight and are hoping to do it once a week. Right now my roommate and I are packing for our week of travels we have ahead of us. In 7 hours we’ll officially be in Belgium!