The UK, So Far

by Britta on 4 December 2009

in European Adventure,The Freelancing Life

Millenium Bridge & St. Paul's Cathedral

Millennium Bridge & St. Paul's Cathedral

I’ve been from south to North and back again, basing my travels on the suggestions of friends and acquaintances and people I meet along the way, looking for a good place to base myself for my three months in the UK. It’s a difficult task. While I have liked all the towns I’ve visited, I’m not sure I’ve found the perfect place. I’m in Oxford now, and I’ll be in Bath tomorrow – several different people have suggested Bath to me, so I’m hoping there’s something to it.

I’m also considering the option of continuing to travel the way I have been – a few days here, a few days there. It’s definitely fun, and already I’ve seen a lot of the UK and met some really interesting people. I will admit, it’s not the most conducive method for getting a lot of work done, however, though I have managed a little. I’m a little tired of carrying all of my gear around, but I partially solved that problem in Edinburgh when I sent a few things home that I wasn’t using – things I was sure I couldn’t live without when I first packed. I’ve been staying mostly in hostels, so my lodging costs aren’t too bad, though I am spending more on food. I’d spend less if I had my own kitchen, however small it might be. More than that, though, it’s the people I’m meeting that are making me want to continue bouncing around instead of finding a home base. I’ve been from London to York to Edinburgh and now Oxford, and I’m anxious to see who I’ll meet in Bath.

My impressions so far:

St. William's College in York (It's haunted)

St. William's College in York (It's haunted)

I love London. It’s dynamic, teeming, and alive. There are so many things to do, so much history to explore, so many ways to entertain my literary side. But, it’s too big. Paris overwhelmed me pretty quickly, and I’m certain London would too. So, while I’m not finished with London, I know it’s not the place for me long-term.

York is haunted. “You can’t move for all the ghosts in York,” said my walking tour guide, a bookish historian-type who lamented in so many words the lack of respect for history shown by pretty much everyone. It was a picturesque city, and one in which many layers of history are fully intact, from Romans to Vikings to Medieval to present-day, a lesson in British and northern European history everywhere I turned.

Bagpipers outside Edinburgh Castle

Bagpipers outside Edinburgh Castle

It was cold in Edinburgh, and I found it totally exciting to have to pull out all my layers. One day, the day I visited the castle on the top of the hill, the wind howled and the temperature hovered near freezing. Alas, it didn’t snow, I just had a good afternoon of horizontal rain. The hostel I stayed in was the perfect complement to the blustery weather: A fireplace in the front room kept the place warm and cozy, and the long-term guests, some who had been there for several months already, matched that warmth with their welcome. I extended my stay for 3 days and was sorry to leave when I did.

Oxford's Christ Church College

Oxford's Christ Church College

Oxford has made me remember both how much fun I had in college and how glad I am that I’m finished. Sitting in cafes, I listen to students laugh over the party they went to last night, or stress over the paper that’s due tomorrow, or engage in deep philosophical discussions that hold the fate of the world on their outcome. There are some things about my student days that I look back on with fondness, yet when I hear all the different student conversations and think back on my own, I’m exceedingly glad they’ve over. Ahh, to be free.

I’m headed to Bath tomorrow, site of ancient Roman baths and apparently still a bustling spa town. I could use a good soak about now. I’m anxious to see what this town brings, and who I’ll meet when I get there.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: