Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tourist Time

I have been trying my best to look the least like a tourist while I have been here but on Saturday that was impossible. Through my program we were required to tour the Houses of Parliament (not that I would not want to do that since I am a political science major). Ever since I touched down in London I have never truly felt like I had been in this iconic city. Yes, I had seen double decker buses (even ridden on one), I have been on the tube and in a black taxi but I still felt like I wasn't IN London. Until...

As soon as we walked outside the tube station we were immediately greeted by Big Ben himself! As well as the London Eye and a great view of the Thames. It was so surreal to be in this part of London and I finally found that 'london feeling' I was looking for. 

The rest of the day was spent sight seeing. I was in full tourist mode and was excited to see everything! Touring the Houses of Parliament was beyond amazing! So full of history and the rooms are absolutely gorgeous! Our tour guide urged many of the students to come back and watch debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords, which are open to the public and of course I plan on doing just that before December 15th. Sadly photography is not allowed inside the Houses of Parliament so here is my friends and I right before my tour. 

For lunch we went to a pub nearby and I finally had traditional English food. Fish and chips was pretty good! It was a big piece of fish which I was not expecting but still yummy. 

As soon as we stepped out of the pub and onto our next stop we saw a lot of police officers shutting down the street we were on the a few minutes later a large and I really mean LARGE, crowd of people came walking down protesting about Syria. The House of Commons recently voted not to send military troops into Syria and this heated argument is very much a big deal! I was even harassed by a a protester who was trying to urge me to join the march. Needless to say I did not join and continued to watch the protest peacefully. I will say it was strange hearing people bashing on America not that I haven't heard it before but not at this grand a scale. 

After the protest, we finally arrived at the Winston Churchill War Rooms! First of all, everyone should go see them! They were mostly preserved with all the original furniture and equipment after WWII. Churchill himself was really fascinating. My dad would have loved this and probably spent at least a day reading all of the material and looking at everything. 

Just had to throw up the gamma. 

In the middle of the tour there was an exhibition of Churchill's life. From home life, the cold war, metals of honor and all kinds of interactive material about the former prime ministers life. It was a great day and classes start Monday. So far my abroad experience is off to a great start! 

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