Hi again, USWIB!
It’s been a month and a half since I last talked to you all, and it’s crazy to think that I only have a month left in London! As the weather starts to turn warmer, I’ve been trying to spend more time outside, despite my spring allergies. The last month and a half has been jam packed with assignments and midterms, but spring break definitely revitalized me so that I can take on finals with energy!
I’ve been spending a lot of time in coffee shops lately, and I personally think they’re probably the best thing about London. My absolute favorite is Yumchaa, on Tottenham Street, about a 10-minute walk away from campus. They have a great iced latte and a huge selection of loose-leaf teas. Gail’s, which is also in Bedford Square, has really good pastries and coffee, and I always go during class breaks and in between classes. I also study a lot at Curzon Bloomsbury, which also functions as a movie theater, and it’s close to Byron and Guilford. But I have yet to watch a movie there!
As part of UCL’s water polo team, I got to partake in an annual tradition called the London Varsity Series. The rugby teams of UCL and Kings College London have a longstanding rivalry, and in the last ten years or so, it has extended to a lot of the other sport teams at the school. For two weeks, all of the sports go head to head, and the school with the most victories wins the trophy and bragging rights. Since NYU isn’t really known for its sports, it was really exciting to experience all the excitement that comes with school rivalries.
NYU London’s spring break was almost a month later than pretty much everyone else’s, so this week off was very necessary, especially since we haven’t had a day off yet. Since this is my last trip of the year, I decided to really take advantage of my time and visit as many cities and countries as possible.
First, I spent a day in Geneva, Switzerland. The country definitely lived up to its stereotype for being expensive, but thankfully, we were able to find things that were budget friendly. The city was pretty small and didn’t have a ton of attractions, so we were able to relax. I visited the St. Pierre Cathedral, which had a tower with the most amazing view of Geneva and the lake. For food, we had some amazing raclette at Les Armures and tiramisu at Coop. Coop is relatively inexpensive and is a department store, which also has a restaurant on the top floor.
Next, we went to Nice, France, and I was finally able to brush up on my rusty French skills. I’ve wanted to go to the French Riviera for the longest time, and I’m so happy that I was able to cross that off my bucket list. I got some much-needed sunshine, given the lack of it in London. We went to Parc de la Colline du Château, which had a panoramic view of the coast and the old town of Nice. We took a bus to Monaco, which only cost €1.50 each way. The bus drove along the sea, so we got to see some stunning views of the Mediterranean. I got to see the Monte Carlo Casino (as well as all the fancy cars parked out front) and the Saint Nicholas Cathedral.
After that, I went to Vienna, where it was snowing. Going from 70° Nice to 40° weather was definitely a shock to my system. I only spent a day and a half in Vienna, but I definitely wish I had more time in the city. There’s so much to do, and the architecture is so beautiful. Some of the highlights were Naschmarket, an outdoor market that dates back to the 1500s, and Karlskirche. Karlskirche had scaffolding that went up the ceiling, and we were able to see the dome paintings up close, which was unreal.
Then, we took a one-hour train to Bratislava, Slovakia. The city is very underrated, in my opinion, and the old-style architecture in the city center is really amazing. The food is incredibly cheap. For €0.50, you can get a pirôžky, which is a classic Slovakian pastry that’s kind of like a donut, from a place called Pirôžky (original, I know). We also ate at Divný Janko, where we had traditional Slovakian food.
Spring break definitely gave me the rest I needed to feel refreshed before the last three weeks before finals. Even though I’m excited for summer, I’m dreading having to leave London. This last year has been incredible, and I’m so lucky to have been able to go to all the places that I have. If you have any questions or need advice about classes, travel, coffee shops, or anything else, shoot me an email at email@example.com or message me on Facebook! Have a great rest of the school year, and good luck on finals!