I will be addressing the housing provided for me in this program and the many places I was able to explore in my first week here.
The housing that I was placed in for this program is located in the borough of Camden Town. Camden Town is a vibrant, diverse borough that is known for its nightlife and market. The Camden Market is comprised of many small stores that sell things you didn’t know you wanted until you arrive at the store. The experience in Camden is quite different from what I was expecting in London. I expected the majority of London to be like Downtown Abbey: posh, old school, and expensive. In my week in London, I have found only my third assumption to be correct and that London rivals the diversity and progressiveness in New York City.
I live in a flat with two other students from Pitt and another two students from the University of Dayton. Our housing is very similar to what can be found in many large cities in America with a few stylistic and cultural differences. The most important thing missing from our flat is a dryer. In the United Kingdom, they do not use dryers which makes doing laundry a bit different.
One great part about Camden is its relative proximity to the entire city of London. During my first week here, I was able to experience many different parts of London. After the first day of orientation, my roommates and I were able to explore Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park is one of the several parks that comprise the green space that takes up a third of London. Located directly next to Hyde Park is Kensington Palace. The Kensington Palace is home to Prince William and Kate and has a beautiful sunken garden that was made in memory of the late Princess Diana.
As students trying to complete all the basic tourist sites in a weekend, my roommates and I went on a bus tour on Saturday and a walking tour of the South Bank on Sunday which were both provided by CAPA. My favorite sights from these trips were St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. All of these sites brought different historical perspectives with them. St. Paul’s Cathedral has been in London since before Shakespearean times but was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London to fit in with the Gothic architecture of the time. Similarly, Buckingham Palace looks quite different from its original form to be able to fit the power of the chief monarch of the United Kingdom. Sadly, Big Ben is currently under renovation to be able to preserve the most iconic building in London. The scaffolding ruins the pictures taken of it, but shows the forever adapting nature of the city of London.
I can’t wait to continue exploring London and update you all along the way!