Week 2: Getting into a Groove + London, England


September 11th is actually the National Day of Catalonia (kind of similar to 4th of July here), so we were off school that day. There were tons of crazy things, like protests, human towers, and rallies, going on in the city because of current political events in this region of Spain, so it was very interesting to experience that and having that go own literally blocks away from our apartment. We spent some of the day at our apartment pool (actually on the roof which is nuts...and yes, I know we are spoiled haha). I spent the rest of this week in Barcelona getting back into "school" mode and into a routine. 

London, England was our first weekend trip and we learned a lot to say the least.....First, I guess I should mention that our expectations were pretty high because it is a pretty iconic place. Second, obviously, we've never really traveled on our own before so we didn't really know how to plan a trip or know what we were getting ourselves into, LOL. SO, with that being said, here's what we did:
















Transportation: We flew Vueling Airlines there and had no problems. This is what I was most worried about because I had never heard of this airline and have heard some horror stories about budget airlines, but we had a great experience there and back. We had to take the train and then the London subway (called the Underground) to our hostel from the airport, which was pretty expensive....we spent about $100 on transportation roundtrip, which we just weren't anticipating. We bought the 2 day Underground pass which was pricier than we thought, but it ended up being worth it because we never had to cab. 

Hostel Experience: I went with my roommate, Jess, and another sweet new friend, Nellie. The three of us had never stayed in a hostel, so again, had absolutely no idea what to expect. We stayed in an inexpensive hostel near Hyde Park/Kensington, which we didn't know, is one of the priciest areas in London LOL. The hostel itself was not sketchy or run down at all and we never felt unsafe there, which was obviously the most important thing. Looking back the whole experience of staying in a bunk bed room with 10 strangers was actually hilarious... Anyways, not really sure we will stay in a hostel again because the price of some Air Bnb's is very similar for way more privacy, but never say never.

Eating Out + Nightlife: First to note here is $$$$$$. Food, drinks, and even just getting into bars and clubs was absolutely outrageous. At one point, the bouncer to a club asked us to pay and we turned around and walked the other direction. We would get breakfast and coffee and think it was cheap in terms of pounds and then when I went to look at my bank account, the amount that cost in US dollars made me want to weep hahaha. In terms of the "going out" atmosphere, we didn't do a ton of research before hand because had high expectations because Barcelona is so amazing, so we were definitely let down a little bit.

What We Did: We paid for a Hop On, Hop Off bus which allowed us to see everything we wanted to see and get off when we wanted. I would highly recommend this if you have a lot of things you want to see in a short amount of time. Friday, we got to shop all around Regent Street and saw Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (which was under construction which was a let down), and Tower Bridge, which we got to see lift up and that was really cool. Saturday, we went to see Abbey Road (if you're a Beatles fan) and explored all around Camden Market which was so cool. There were tons of yummy food trucks and vendors we could check out, so we really loved that.

What We Learned: Because we had high expectations like I said, our trip didn't really measure up to what we thought. Because there were so many "famous" spots, we didn't really feel like we had to plan that much, but we definitely learned how important it is to have at least a rough schedule of what we were going to do on such a short trip. We also definitely should've researched more about restaurants, clubs, and bars more geared towards our age and price range LOL. No regrets though, I'm still really glad that I got to experience the city.

I wrote this post on two different days, so hopefully I didn't leave anything out, but I just wanted to document this trip and share all my photos with my family and friends on my blog. Now that it has officially been three weeks, I have a lot on my mind that I want to share in more serious post, so I'm going to make time to write that this weekend while I'm not traveling. Unfortunately for my wallet, I've eaten SO much good food everywhere so make sure you're following my Instagram accounts for all the pics! If you're reading this and you're someone close to me, just know I'm thinking about you every day and I miss you! 

Sending sooooo much love,
Baigin

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