Okay.. so I already wrote this post once and Blogger was mean to me, so I’m going to do it again. If I leave anything out, forgive me, because this is the second time through.
Yesterday was probably the most stressful and tiring day I’ll spend in London this semester, but it was completely worth it. The way the Ithaca College London Program works is they give you 3 days when you first arrive to find a flat. They give you contact numbers, some listed properties, and a few maps… oh, and a good luck wish. It turns out that this is the best possible thing they could do – there is no way I could have acclimated to this country to the point I am now. We rode on the Tube, got lost, fixed it, and moved on. We called estate agents and arranged tours of flats and figured out how to get there (that was very impressive – I asked for directions twice and didn’t feel too embarrassed).
We checked out a total of 6 flats (I think – 30 hours of being awake plus jet lag does not equal a good memory). The first one was in Hammersmith, within walking distance of the Ithaca College London Center (ICLC). It was 2 stories, with a kitchen, bathroom, and common room on the first floor and a bedroom on the 3rd floor. I did take a few pictures of the really nice area it was in – here are my roommates:
Keighl and Andrew
So with the four of us, one bedroom was really not going to work. We got back on the Tube and made our way through this strange loop the Tube makes to get to Bayswater. Bayswater is a really diverse, sort of touristy area north of Hyde Park, near a lot of colleges. It’s in Zone 1, which is still Central London, a very safe area with tons of pubs, nightlife, and shopping. We went to an estate agency first – the college recommended several. They showed us 2 flats next door to each other that each had one bedroom. However, each bedroom had only one bed - not exactly the situation we were looking for! It was also very out of our price range (400 pounds a week total). We called several more agencies and went to see another flat. This one had 2 bedrooms, but the rent was 475, so we would have had to find a 5th person. The flat was not in the best shape, but it still remained a prospect.
By this point, we’re (I should elaborate – Andrew, Keighl, Greg, and me) all really tired, but I find the listing of an agent that’s on our way back to the Tube. We decided to stop by and continue the search the next day. The agent told us he has 2 flats available and sends us to go see them with his assistant. She took us into a building on the main road in town (Queensway) that has marble flooring and an actual working lift! The first flat had 2 double bedrooms, an enormous living room, and a nice kitchen. Then she took us to the second flat, and that’s when fate stepped in. It was next door to London’s only bowling alley, which, if you know me, is a sign of destiny. It’s on the 5th floor (but has a lift) and has a kitchen with actual wood cabinets, single bedroom (for me!) and a huge 2nd bedroom that will easily fit all 3 boys and has an amazing view. The common room is absolutely huge – it has a dining table and leather seating and 2 TVs. I can get Internet set up for an extra fee, but that’s totally worth it so I can keep you all informed! We decided to take the flat for exactly what we had laid out in our budget and we sign the lease tomorrow!
Last night we went to a pub to celebrate. I got fish and chips (I know! Me eating fish!) and a Newcastle (which was absolutely huge). After that, I pretty much came back and fell asleep immediately. This morning we had a big English breakfast, complete with really good bacon, tasty cereal, and oranges soaked in the most sour fizzy... syrup… on earth. They had eggs, too, but after Colin cooked for me all semester, they didn’t seem that good.
Today, Andrew, Greg and I went to the Museum of Natural History right down the street from our hotel. It was really big:
And I got into a fight with a bear:
So, overall, it was a very productive few days!