After the Touch Down: My First Exploration of the City

Jan 11, 2017 1:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Spring2017_Courtney Manning Profile Square.jpgCourtney Manning is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A convergence journalism major at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Courtney shares her adventures from her second day in London!

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 Today is my second full day in London, and I can hardly believe it. Honestly, I still feel like I’m in a dream because this all still feels totally surreal. The 8-hour flight from Atlanta was pretty painless as I slept most of the time. Plus, I got some incredible views of the London Eye and Big Ben from thousands of feet above.

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Our flat is pretty nice, especially the location. Camden is insanely cool with lots of awesome restaurants and pubs, street art, and unique thrift stores.

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The town seems a little bit “rough around the edges” in the best way possible. I mean, Amy Winehouse lived and died here, and I’m pretty sure the punk rock scene used to be huge in this area. You can definitely see the effect of that era on Camden Town to this day, because a lot of people here have kind of “punk” haircuts and wear Doc Martens and ripped jeans - a style I’m working on picking up.

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My flatmates are absolutely wonderful. Their names are Rachel, Erin, Mica and Lauren. Rachel, my roommate, is in my sorority at Mizzou, so we were friends prior to this trip, and Mica and Lauren were in my convergence journalism class last semester. Rachel and I (pictured in this blog at our first high tea, which CAPA treated us to today) are living in very close quarters, but we don’t mind - it feels very British and adds to the fun of it all!

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In these next few weeks, I’m trying to explore Camden as much as possible. Yesterday, we went shopping for food and for the apartment, which made me feel like a real local. Argos is a really cool store around here where you can buy home goods and many other items, most of which are relatively cheap. It’s sort of like Amazon, except in an actual store, because you shop on iPads then check out and pick up your items immediately at the front of the shop. I’d say it’s the closest thing to a Wal-Mart or Target that I’ve discovered here so far. Sainsbury’s is our local grocery store, which I absolutely love because it is so cheap. I got a bunch of great groceries yesterday for around £21! We are really close to the Tube, which is incredibly convenient as well. It’s super nice to be able to walk to a bunch of shops and restaurants and not have to drive at all.

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The food here has been fantastic. So far, I’ve been to two great restaurants in Camden: The Ice Wharf (pub food) and Masala Zone (Indian food). I’d highly recommend both of them to anyone who visits the area! Tomorrow I’m joining a local gym to make sure I stay fit this semester while I’m living here, which I think will also help me feel healthier, both physically and mentally. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan restaurants around here, which really excites me because I am a vegan. A lot of girls on the trip are vegetarian as well, and my friend Amanda who lives in the flat next door to me is also vegan. There are tons of amazing stores that are all less than a 5-minute walk away from us, including Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Gap, and a Doc Marten store. I feel really blessed that we get to live in Camden, because it seems like a very young, fun area.

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There are definitely a lot of characters here, as it’s a very quirky borough of London, but I couldn’t think of a better place for a bunch of young journalism students to be living. I can’t wait to explore more and get better acquainted with this beautiful city as a whole. This weekend I’m hoping to visit the Camden Lock Market, which we walked through briefly the other night. There’s a crazy “rave clothing” store there with giant robots on the outside and blaring music on the inside, as well as a cereal and milk bar!

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Tomorrow the CAPA staff is taking us on a more in-depth tour of the city which I am very excited for. I can’t wait to really make this amazing city my home. Cheers!

Thanks Courtney!

Courtney's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.

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Topics: London, England, Official Bloggers and Vloggers