A Near-Disaster in London

Karsten and friends ran into some issues on their trip to London in October! Check out his latest blog for the full story.

Sunday, October 20, 2019 | Written by Karsten

After our HTS field trip to Electricite de France (EDF) Cattenom, Julia and I headed to London to meet up with DJ. We booked our train tickets and our Airbnb nearly two weeks prior, and we were all so excited to be able to understand everything that was said to us. However, upon arrival and messaging our hosts that we were on our way, we received a response that took us by surprise: they could no longer host us, as their pipe from the toilet had exploded. There we were, outside of the London train station at 10:00 P.M. with no place to stay. We headed to the nearest hostel with decent ratings and asked if they had three places for two nights, and luckily for us, they did. We put our stuff in the room, planned out what we wanted to see for Saturday, and went to sleep.

We got up on Saturday and headed towards the London Bridge. It was extremely cool to see the iconic bridge near sunrise. We walked across the bridge and then found a bagel place for breakfast. After breakfast, DJ split from us to head to the Imperial War Museum, and Julia and I headed towards the Buckingham Palace. From there, we sat in Green Park for a little and then went across town to the shopping district for lunch.

Getting there there was more difficult than expected, though. The street we had to cross had a one million-person protest against Brexit. I guess that’s what we get for going to London the weekend before Great Britain was supposed to leave the EU.

We decided to continue on, so we just walked alongside the protest, took a couple of pictures, and walked across and out the other side. After seeing a couple of high-end car dealerships and a couple of stores, we found a fish and chips place for lunch. It was extremely good and a ton of food for the price.

Next, we went to Harrods to check out what was outside, as I knew the place is famous for what supercars are parked out front. On the way, we were able to walk through Hyde Park and, in typical London fashion, we got rained on. DJ met back up with us on the way to Harrods. After seeing what was parked outside, we decided to walk in for a little only to see that everything was out of our price range. Another group of GTL students was in London for the weekend, so we met up with them at Nando’s for dinner and then headed back to the hostel for the night.

On Sunday, we went to the British Museum. The highlights from the museum included seeing the Rosetta Stone and an Easter Island head—you know, similar to the talking one in Night at the Museum. After a couple of hours there, we headed for lunch, and I had Bangers and Mash. The only food that I felt was missing from this weekend was a traditional English breakfast, but oh well. From lunch, we went back to the main station to catch our train back to Metz. Besides being able to understand all of the words around us, one big highlight from the weekend was definitely being able to try a lot of traditional – stereotypical even – English foods and trying tea for the first time. Despite the price, London is easily one of my favorite cities that I’ve been to during this semester, and I hope to come back one day.