A 4:30 AM Run for a Sight Seeing Saturday
One fantastic thing about studying with IFSA-Butler is that they plan day excursions throughout the semester so that we can see and explore various historical sites in the UK. Naturally, who am I to turn down a planned excursion!?! Since the departure is out of London, I had to get my own transportation to the departure site and back. By train, Cardiff is about 3 hours away, which meant catching the 4:55 ride so that I could make it in time for the 8:30 departure.
I was feeling really good about it all. Sure I had gone to bed later than desired (what else is new!), but I had a lunch waiting in the fridge, clothes laid out ready to go, all electronic devices charging and multiple alarms set! Although I had woken up a little later than planned, I was still feeling confident that I could make it to the station in time since it was only a 30-minute walk from my residence.
I finished getting ready being sure to pack my rain gear and even made a coffee to-go. Leaving at 4:15, I put on my fast-pace and got to walking. About ten minutes out my stomach dropped to my toes as I realized “Oh no! I didn’t write down the address of the office!!!!” Normally this slip up wouldn’t be a problem, but when Wi-Fi is your sole source of internet, that feat isn’t as easily achieved! Thankfully I noticed my slip-up while I was still by campus and was able to pick up a signal. Unfortunately, if I walked too far the signal was lost which meant having to stand stagnant by the school to ensure I could pull up the address and information. This took about an extra five or ten minutes and the thing is…THE TRAIN WAITS FOR NO ONE!!!
Finally, after resurrecting my email from the depths of my inbox and retrieving the information I needed, I knew there was only one thing left to do- I had to run! Yes, imagine it now: as others were stumbling home from a night out in the city there I was running toward them. Now mind you the station is right next to the gym that I go to; so I knew I had, at the least, a mile left to trek. On I went passing drunkards, fellow morning runners and a few cops—I can only imagine what was running through their minds as I passed.
Thankfully, I made my train with about ten minutes to spare, and did so with coffee in hand! The rest of the day was much more relaxing and did not involve any more running – thank god!
Arriving at Paddington with address in hand I caught a cab to the offices where we were meeting. We took a coach bus to Warwick Castle and Stratford-Upon-Avon (the birth place of Shakespeare). Sitting at the front of the bus proved interesting as we had mini-heart attacks with how large the bus was and how skinny the streets were. Our eyes widened various times throughout the drive with anticipation of something happening, but we had little to be concerned about. The driver navigated like a gazelle through the streets and roundabouts. I think he found a little pleasure in our uncertainty and the gasps that came out of some peoples mouths at times. In my defense, I’m still trying to grasp driving on the opposite side of the road.
Upon arriving, we had two hours to explore Warwick Castle. We went quickly through the buildings and rooms and made sure to walk up to the castle on the hill as well. Wax figurines were placed throughout to add some realism to the space – I even made some new (figurine) friends as we pondered over…well I don’t really know, but we looked deep in thought! I didn’t get to see any simulations of jousting unfortunately, but I did see some folks dressed in costumes and even got to be put in the barracks for being a drunkard.
Next we went on to Shakespeare’s birthplace where our immediate thought was FOOD!!! We went into a small restaurant that served Chinese and then continued to explore all of the little shops that lined the cobblestone streets. Although there were different tours and buildings that we could go in to truly explore Shakespeare’s home, we were too stingy to spend the money. But hey, at least I can say I was there, right? After walking, and having a sweet tooth in mind, we went to this little café that had some of the most insane desserts I have ever seen. The glass case was lined with cheesecakes, pies, bars and pastries of literally a million different flavors. This was obviously a difficult thing for an indecisive person like myself, but in the end I settled on a raspberry-rhubarb crunch slice and OH MY GOD! Literally just thinking about how good it was makes me want to hop on a train to head back now. After our time there we then headed back to London and I made my departure back to Cardiff. You can probably imagine my relief to make it to my bed, that night. Needless to say, I slept like a baby.
Although the day was long and adventurous, it was definitely worth it! Plus, I can officially cross attending one of the planned day trips off of my abroad bucket list!