14 September, 2015

How to Survive the Bath Trip - by Stephanie Gibbs

How to Survive the Bath Trip

Ah, the Bath trip.  A staple in every Ithaca College student’s London experience.  However, this trip is not for the faint of heart.  Let it be known before you dedicate yourself, and £85, that this trip will test you.  It will test what you thought you knew about history, what you thought you knew about your new roommates, and what you thought you knew about yourself.  …But mostly it will test how long you can sit on a bus without going crazy.  If any of you are wondering, “Should I go”, I hope this post adds some clarity to your decision (I’ll let you decide in what way).

Step 1: Signing Up

One of the hardest things for college students to do apparently, is to sign up for things on time.  It doesn’t matter that there is a dirty great big obvious sign stuck on a post in the middle of the London Center lobby, nor does it matter than this sign does not move for an entire week.  More likely than not, you will forget to sign up and you will have to suffer through the influx of Snapchats of people snoring on the bus.  Not only that, but you will have to dutifully like all the poorly filtered images of the Wells Cathedral on Instagram as you eat cereal in your PJs.  And to top it off, you will try your hardest, but you will fail to ignore the ever so punny Facebook posts saying “This rocks” as all your friends stand in front of Stonehenge.  SIGN UP FOR THE TRIP ON TIME.

Step 2: The Bus

You will be expected to be on the bus in front of the London Center by 7 am.  Not bad, except for the fact that for most of us that means waking up around 6:30 am and that was no fun.  It was around that time that I started to envy my roommate still sleeping in our flat.  Bring snacks for this essentially giant road trip and please, for the love of god, DO NOT bring a salami sandwich that makes the whole bus smell like a deli.  I’m looking at you Seat 27.  Other than that, try to sleep as much as possible, pee at every pit stop, and remember, you paid to sit on this bus.

Pro Tip: Bring a backpack instead of carry-on luggage.  Your bus driver will thank you.





Step 3: Avebury, Glastonbury Abbey, Wells Cathedral

Now the fun stuff.  I’m going to graze over this part of the trip partly because its beyond words, partly because I want you to experience it yourself, and partly because it’s all blurred together.  I will tell you this: Avebury is where you’ll get the best pictures of your friends standing dramatically on a hill.  Glastonbury Abbey is where you will get to write fun comments in the visitors’ book like “Jesus would have loved this place” and where a man wearing old clothing will take you through an old church to realize that England is old.  Wells Cathedral, in my case at least, is where you’ll realize that the rule for photographs (aka: you have to pay to take them) is a lie and you should take as many photos as you can.  Trust me, you don’t want to spend £2 to find out everyone’s taking pictures for free.






Step 4: BATH! OMG WE FINALLY GOT TO BATH!!!!!!!

Did I say this was a Bath trip?  Oh silly me, by Bath I meant that you will be in Bath for about 18 hours and 12 of those hours will be spent passed out in a hostel trying to recover from waking up at 6:30 am, spending half the day on a bus, and the other half looking at things too old to comprehend.  If you’re still up passed 9 pm, you’re made of stronger stuff.  When you arrive you will be given free time during which many student try to do a pub crawl.  To put that into perspective and to give you a little fun fact, Bath has more pubs per square mile than London (or so I’ve been told).
Get excited everyone, your hostel has free breakfast!  …It consists of cereal, toast, and fruit.  I usually hate cereal, but seeing as it free and I’m cheap I ate about three bowls of Frosted Flakes.  After this, it’s time to pack up once again and head to the Roman Baths! This was probably one of the most amazing “museums” I’ve ever been in and you really just have to go to find out why.  Also, since you’re there and since you just spent three hours walking around, you will have to drink some of the bath water and you will realize why they say it tastes like boiled pigeon feathers.  #WorthIt
After the Roman Baths, you can choose to go out on your own or take a walk around bath.  DON’T GO ON THE WALK, DON’T DO IT!  Your legs will be dead and you’ll have missed out on awesome things like the Jane Austin museum.  To be honest the “museum” (aka: a house they kept looking really old) wasn’t so exciting.  The exciting part came at the end where you could dress up in Regency era clothing, write with a feather and ink, and drink proper tea and biscuits.  But the REALLY fun part comes when you almost miss the bus and have to sprint down the cobble stone streets of Bath.



Step 5: Stonehenge

An hour on the now smelly bus and we’re at Stonehenge.  People will tell you a lot of things about Stonehenge.  They will tell you, you have to stand far away from it.  False. You can’t touch it but I wouldn’t say you’re fair.  They will tell you, you have to walk to get from the gift shop to the stones.  False.  Take the free shuttle that comes with your student pass and wave at all you friends walking on the side of the road as you pass by.  Finally they will tell you that there’s not much to do after about the first 5 minutes.  Bullsh*t.  They obviously weren’t trying hard enough to come up with the best touristy photos ever.  Luckily, I succeeded.





Step 6: Go on this trip no matter how poorly I’ve described it, no matter how long you’re stuck on a bus, and no matter how many times you wish your feet would stop hurting.


I’m so glad I went on this trip.


07 September, 2015

2 WEEKS - by Mike Levine

2 WEEKS





Anxiety overwhelmed me on the ride to JFK airport in NY, as I prepared for my departure. However, the anxiety melted away when I saw some friendly Ithaca College faces sitting at the gate; all of us filled with the same emotions of fear and most importantly, excitement! I got a burger from Shake Shack with my friends Maddie and Taylor, strapped on my travel fanny pack with my passport and papers (thanks mom and dad), and got ready to board the plane. Two movies, two beers, a nap, and a muffin later we finally landed and my adventure began. Not even 4 hours in the UK and I was on my way to look for at a flat, and the rest is history.


It’s been two weeks here in London, and I already feel like I’ve aged 5 years. I pay bills for an incredible flat in Bayswater (with a rooftop deck!!!), I’ve mastered the underground rail system, I’ve planned trips to Bath, Dover, Budapest, Berlin, Dublin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Italy, and have downed 32 cups of proper tea since I landed in London, Heathrow, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I’ve had a week of classes and secured a marketing internship at Love Home Swap on Oxford Street (the equivalent to 5th Ave in NYC), as well as a job here at ICLC, where I was given this blog assignment.
   







It’s only been two weeks, but in addition to becoming a full-fledged adult I’ve had some fun as well. I’ve gone sight seeing around Westminster, saw Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, experienced Notting Hill Carnival, and strolled around Portabello’s Market. I also rode a Santander bike through Kensington Garden, hit up some bars and pubs, threw a flat warming party for our friends at IC, and to top it all off, got stuck in the worlds smallest elevator for an hour with four of my flat mates while two British firemen worked to pry us out of the non-ventilated lift. Needless to say I wouldn’t change any of these experiences for the world! (Except maybe the elevator disaster). 

Two weeks in, and every morning I wake up and have a cup of tea (because it’s better than instant coffee from Tesco), sit out on my deck, and get ready for my commute to school and/or my internship; tasks I normally wouldn’t be able to do in Ithaca. In New York I would sleep until the last possible second, literally roll out of bed, put on my layers and head out into the tundra with my head down, making sure not to slip on sheets of ice. Here, even when it’s raining (and it rains, A LOT) I walk to the tube station with my head up, eyes wide, and I’m excited. Thank you I SEE ELSIE.