A Travellerspoint blog

England

Manchester and Liverpool

Truthfully, I didn't do all that much in Manchester. The one thing that I did worth mentioning was the John Rylands Library. It is a really old library and the type of architecture is Victorian neo-Gothic, if that means anything to anyone. It was a really beautiful building and I really liked just walking around. It's been compared to the library from Harry Potter so I thought that was pretty cool. Below are a few pictures from google of the library because it was pretty dark inside and all the ones I took turned out pretty bad.
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The highlight of my time in Manchester was when I ended up in Liverpool. I met some people at my hostel who convinced me to go to Liverpool with them for the European Cup. Liverpool was playing Tottenham (a London team) in Madrid but every Liverpool fan was gathering to watch the game there. So I got a train ticket and an hour later I left for Liverpool. The train ride is only about 35 minutes from Manchester but the train was so packed I didn't have a seat so it felt much longer. It was an amazing game. We ended up watching the game in a pub and it was a ton of fun. Liverpool scored twice, once in the first 5 minutes, and one in the last 5. I learned some of the Liverpool cheers and got to be a pretty big Liverpool fan. Even hours before the game there were tons of people gathered in the streets all cheering and drinking beer. Everyone in the city dressed in red to show their support. It was crazy. I found that I really like watching football (yes, I mean soccer, but I'm in Europe now so it's football) and it's even more fun when you have a team to support. The only game I'd watched before was last year's World Cup while I was in Malaysia. I learned about the history of the Liverpool team and understood how much it meant to them to win. In 1989, Liverpool fans went to watch their team play in the semi-final in Sheffield. Because they were the visiting team they were crammed into 4 pens which became extremely overcrowded. 96 Liverpool fans ended up dead as a result but the blame has never been formally placed on the stadium. It's a complicated situation and I'm sure I'm not explaining it right but the families of the people who died are still very much affected so winning this game was a really big deal for them. I didn't make it back to my hostel until 2am and slept in the next morning. It was a really fun last way to experience England.

Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 03:51 Archived in England Comments (0)

London Again!

Yup, I headed back to London after visiting Morgan in Bath. But this time around, I was staying with a friend. His name was Tom and I met him in Malaysia. I actually met him in the first 2 weeks of my Asia trip so we had a lot to catch up on after not seeing each other for almost a year. He picked me up at the train station in London and we went back to his house to drop my bags off. He was actually just back from University so we stayed with his mom, and younger brother and sister. It was a lot of fun and felt a bit like home! We headed back into London for the afternoon. We first visited the Tate Modern, a modern art museum, which was interesting. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. Almost all the exhibits seemed to be extremely political but it did give me a bit more of an appreciation for modern art as I think it conveyed the political messages really well. On the top floor of the Tate Modern, there is a 360-degree deck where you can see all of London so we got some great views. After that, we walked just down the river to the Globe Theater. I considered buying tickets to a play but decided not to because I didn't know the play well and I felt like it would have been difficult to understand if I didn't know the story ahead of time. After the Globe Theater, we walked to the Borough Market which was like a very fancy farmers market. The bread there smelled so good! I ended up getting a samosa though. Then we headed back to his house for dinner with his family and their old Au Pair who was living in London.

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The next day we got an early start to go to the British Museum. I loved it! We saw tons of galleries including Africa, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Europe. I saw the Rosetta Stone, but only from a distance because there were so many people crowding around it. I think my favorite galleries were in the Europe section. We saw one about 17th or 18th-century clockwork and watches. The clocks were made so intricately and lots of them included positions of the earth, sun, and moon. The other exhibit that I loved was seeing 18th-century jewelry which included several tiaras from English nobles. After the British Museum, we headed to the Camden Market, kind of like a permanent street fair, to grab some lunch. It took us forever to decide but we finally settled on some sort of pasta. We walked around the market for a while because it was so big. After that, we went to Coal Drop Yard which used to be where they would ship coal from but had been recently converted into a really nice shopping center. We sat there for a while because we were pretty exhausted. Then we walked pass Kings Cross Station where we stopped inside to see platform 9 and 3/4. It was definitely cooler in the movie. Then we headed to Hyde Park but we got off the train a few stops too early and ended up on Oxford/Regent Street, where Tom's old Au Pair worked so we stopped in to say hi. After that, we continued on our way to Hyde Park and sat and watched the tourists, locals, swans, ducks, geese, pigeons, and other unidentifiable birds. Then we headed back to his house again for dinner with his mom, brother, and sister. Overall, two very busy but very fun days in London.

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Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 08:27 Archived in England Comments (1)

2 Days in Bath

After London, I took a train to another city in England, Bath. I ended up being on the train with 3 girls from my hostel that I'd met the day before so we met up for an early breakfast and headed to the train station together. It was really nice traveling with other people because we ended up having delays on our train and having to transfer in Salsbury to another train. When we arrived in Bath I met up with my friend Morgan, who I'd met in Sri Lanka. We grabbed some street food and then went to put my bags in her apartment. Then we headed back to the city center and she showed me around. Bath is beautiful! It was so much greener than London which I loved and there is a river that snakes around most of the city. We went inside the Abbey and learned about the history of the building. We had tea and Victoria Sponge cake in a really nice cafe. The cafe was built on a bridge with lots of little shops over the river. We also went into a bookshop and an antique map store. Bath is very much a college (or uni) town so there were tons of students everywhere. Here are some pictures of the city center.

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The next day we went to the Roman Baths and the Dyrham House. The Romans had conquered the city and found a natural hot spring so they built a temple and a bathhouse to honor the goddess Sulis Minerva. The ruins are really well kept and the main bath is still full from the hot spring. They built a museum around it and we walked through with an audio guide which was really helpful.

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After the Roman Baths, we drove out to the Dyrham House which was a giant estate built in the 1600s. Even though it was rainy, we walked around the gardens and they were so beautiful! The house even had their own church which we went into. We toured around the house and sampled a 17th-century coffee with mustard and cardamom. I can't say I was a fan but for 17th-century coffee, it was pretty good. I got to try playing the harpsichord which was actually more difficult than I had anticipated. It was different than a piano in that the strings are plucked, like a guitar, not hammered. My favorite room in the house was the ballroom which was filled with paintings of the family members who lived there and had a slightly bouncy floor. Below are pictures of the house, garden, and church.

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Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 12:48 Archived in England Comments (0)

So... I'm in London!

Hi Everyone!

It's been ages since my last post but I decided to squeeze in another trip before starting college (or uni as it's called here in London). I was in London for about a day and half. I arrived pretty early in the morning so I spent the day walking around the area I was staying in. I stayed in Soho which has lots of nice shops and beautiful buildings. It was also pretty close to the main tourist destinations which was nice. My first night I was planning to go to bed early when one of my roommates came back. We ended up talking for a while and she suggested we go shopping. As soon as we left we found that all the stores closed early, as it was Sunday night, and a holiday weekend. We ended up walking around for 2 hours! We saw Picadilly Square and Chinatown. As we were walking around Chinatown we saw a man exit a shop with a strange looking dessert. He told us it was the bubblewrap waffle cone and that we "had to get it whilst in London". I'll do my best to accurately describe it. The waffle cone was like bubble wrap but made with waffe, and it was filled with two types of ice cream, fruit, and white chocolate. There was a long line at this place and usually I'm not one to wait in line to get the "internet famous" foods but the girl I walked around with convinced me since apparently it was the thing to do in London! My roommate was really cool and I enjoyed walking around with her. It was nice to have company but she also pushed me to go outside my comfort zone and try new things. Since she was older, she talked to me a lot about what clothes I should try especially when heading into my early twenties (I can't believe I'm saying that). Heres some photos from my first day, and please enjoy the fact that I am posting pictures OF MYSELF! Something I have not typically done and am not usually comfortable doing.

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Day 2
I got up early because our hostel offered free walking tours at 9:30. I got to the lobby early to find out that the tour had already left! Me and another roommate tried to catch up but we couldn't find them. We met several other girls from our hostel who were also looking for the walking tour and together the five of us formed our own tour group. We went around to the major tourist sites via google maps and it was a blast. I got a lot of negative reactions when I decided to stay in a hostel in London but this was exactly the reason I wanted to stay in a hostel. It gave me the opportunity to see the city with other people, rather than alone, and to make friends, even if we had only spent a day together. We saw: Trafalgar Square, The London Eye, Big Ben (who was under construction), Westminster Bridge, Palace, and Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. Here's some pictures from these places but they don't do it justice.

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In the afternoon I met up with a friend, Charlie. I met him when I stayed in Thailand and he lives here in London. We hung out for a few hours and I got to meet his girlfriend and her sister. I also got to experience traditional English pub culture as we pretty much sat in a pub along the river for much of the afternoon. I opted for an early night as I had a train to catch the next morning.

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Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 10:52 Archived in England Comments (1)

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