Friday, September 16, 2011

England!

I arrived to London last Wednesday after a hectic flight that almost didn't happen because of terrible rain. The Air Canada terminal was a mess with holes in the roof everywhere so that it was practically raining inside. Pretty funny.
Got into London and it was pretty much freezing cold. The hostel I stayed at was super cheap but not super fun. I was supposed to meet my friend Pat to give him my suitcase, but he was stuck at work til 10pm! So my first night in London was pretty lame.
The next day I took the train to Gatwick airport and met up with the girl I met on Couchsurfer who I was going to camp with at the music festival Bestival. Turns out, she's not crazy, she's actually super super cool and we became really close friends!
The festival was intense. To get there took about 15 hours. I left my hostel in London at like 8am and didn't actually finish setting up the tent until about 11 or 12. So crazy and frustrating.
The festival was pretty insane- there must have been 50,000 people (considered "small" by European festival standards), over 100+ acts, and shows, games, and rides. It was incredible. Everyone was also super nice. I made a ton of friends and luckily its super easy to get a phone here so I was able to keep in touch with people and have already met up with a few of them.
At the festival we asked a ton of people where is the place we should visit in England, and pretty much unanimously everyone said Bristol is a really cool place. So Emily & I went off to Bristol. A guy I met recommended a hostel called the lanes which was located above a bowling alley. It was pretty cool. It was quiet there at the beginning of the week which was good for recovery from the festival, but by Thursday the hostel was pretty full and the students were starting to move into the city for school. The city of Bristol is really cool. There's an amazing music scene and it's known as the origin of dubstep- a type of electronic music I really like. It also has a lot of history. It used to be a major port for exporting slaves to the US. There is a park with a castle in it and a tower that over looks the whole city. There's also one of the 1st suspension bridges in this city, though I didn't see it.
Emily, the girl I went to the festival with, and I spent a day in Bath. It's an ancient city that has a natural hot spring. We got to go to the Roman baths museum, which was actually really cool. It's really well preserved still and at the end of the museum you get to try the "healing" water that comes from it. Supposedly Queen Elizabeth or someone was barren til she drank some water from Bath and then had a baby 10 months later. Hopefully that doesn't happen to me? haha
After, we had tea in the Pump Room. It used to be a ball room for the rich and famous in the 18th century. It was super swanky- my mom would have loved it. There's a charming river that cuts through the town that you can walk along and some old apartments from the aristocracy that used to live there that we scoped out. Then we went to Thermae Bath Spa and got to spend an hour or so in the naturally heated pool. It was just the 2 of us and it was pretty cool. The water was quite warm and it was outside.
So now I'm in Manchester visiting my old suite-mate Gemma from sophomore year. I'm relaxing after a crazy week, watching tv with her sister Ellie and eating tv dinners (Gemma had work today from 2-9, which is good b/c I'm too wiped to do anything anyway). In Manchester til Mon night, and then London until Friday morning. Then off to Paris, though I don't really want to leave :(