Travel day has come and gone and I’m not really sad that it was our last. There’s something reassuring about knowing you won’t have to lug your luggage across a city up hills and cobblestone streets, and that the next time you have to carry all your luggage will be to Heathrow Airport to head home. It’s the final stretch in a race where you can see the finish line – the final line on the page that finishes the masterpiece of art.
After waking up early and eating our last French breakfast at MIJE, we headed off to the carousel by the St. Paul metro to meet up with Howard and Kathy. We took cabs to the train station where, once again, we came face to face with yellow caution tape. Paris really liked keeping us on our toes. For those of you that haven’t read the previous posts from this travel day or the day we headed to Arles, when there is abandoned luggage in a station the security/police scope it out and then blow it up. That was our farewell in Paris. Of course that changed the departure times and there was a mass crowd at the stairs and escalator, controlled by a handful of workers only allowing certain train times to continue. It’s a good thing we got to the station so early, because by the time we got through customs and on the train we didn’t have to wait long before it left for London!
While on the train we had Metropolitan magazines (which I should’ve kept, but I at least to pictures of the interesting pages!). My future teacher self came out at this point and was looking at all the facts about the tunnel and sharing them with my seatmates (which they did not enjoy, sorry!) For those of you who are interested here are some facts:
- The deepest point below sea level that the tunnel reaches is 195 metres
- The length of each tunnel is 50.45 km.
- It takes 20 minutes to travel through them.
- In 2003 the record-breaking top speed of the Eurostar train was 208 mph.
I was kind of disappointed since it was just a tunnel of black, hardly any lights, for that amount of time. The only thing that I thought was interesting was knowing that I was below water at that point. Our train, because of the delay, was running 30 minutes behind – but eventually we arrived in London!
The driving will definitely take some getting used to. The normal MSU student standpoint of “I know how much time I have to get to the other side of the road before the car gets to me” doesn’t apply here, for me anyway. Just by having the cars on opposite sides of the road makes you have a new way of thinking and taking in your surroundings.
I’m the kind of person that loves listening to other languages and accents, and don’t get me wrong, Prague, Arles and Paris had plenty of that… but I’m just so glad to be somewhere that speaks English as one of the main languages. When we first got to Regents University London I think we all expected to hear British accents around us. Instead we are surrounded by our fellow Spartans (also on their study abroads). I’m happy to be somewhere where there are people from back home besides our group of 14, and some of our group have seen their friends here! I don’t know of anyone that’s still in London, but that would be pretty amazing!
Later we went to a fish and chip place that Howard had suggested, but not liking fish I got a hotdog and chips. 5 minutes later the guy starts putting what I swear was fish on top of the chips and I say something along the lines of “That’s not a hot dog.” After some confused back and forth and realizing that even with English as a commonality, there’s still a barrier in dialect. The workers all thought it was a funny mistake, and they made my hotdog and apologized and the group was back on its way. 5 of us headed back to our apartments while the rest of the group went searching for a park to eat in, mind you it was after 9 so I think they ended up just sitting on a street.
After eating and doing some last minute things, I went to sleep and got 8 hours!! Finally! However, the iPhone I’m using hadn’t switched time zones, so I got up an hour earlier than I would’ve had to. 😦 In 30 minutes or so we’re off to a nearby tube station to meet up with Howard and go to a museum and later we’ll be talking with a local museum curator. Here’s to a new day in a new place!!