London was a fine city, but it was really the English countryside and the rest of the UK that won my heart. Let me count the ways…
Among Oxford Scholars – A few hours north of the London metropolitan hub is the Oxford University, full of would-be intellectuals. I loved the laid-back university town, completely hidden away from the sprawl of a big English city. I spent hours in the park, on Oxford campus, and by the canal. I wondered what my university would’ve been like if I were a student there. The possibilities.
24 Hours in Liverpool – My time in Liverpool was limited but just enough time to soak in enough Beatles for the rest of my time in the UK. Liverpool was more quiet – and smaller – than I had realized. I couldn’t really understand the English accent that came from this part of England but I found it endearing nonetheless.
Edinburgh In A Day – I felt like I struck gold in Scotland. Edinburgh felt particularly medieval to me. In the rain, the golden mile felt authentically Scottish to me. My hostel was attached to a popular bar and served great whisky. I searched for the Loche Nesse monster up north – but no luck. Although I was there alone, I became friends with another girl staying in my dorm room. It was a great start to my adventures through the rest of the UK.
Discovering Belfast – The good times kept rolling after Edinburgh. I flew directly to Belfast to get a taste of Northern Ireland. I brushed up on the history of the titanic, learned all about the Catholic and Protestant conflicts, and shut down a few Irish pubs in town. The best part was getting a private tour of the coast from the owner of the hostel, and witnessing a lovely sunset.
Giant’s Causeway – Seeing the Giant’s Causeway is a must if you’re ever in Northern Ireland. I encountered crazy weather that day but somehow, by the time my tour bus pulled up to the Causeway stop, the sun had come out and given me gorgeous light to photograph in. The coastal trip was lined with gorgeous scenery and quaint fishing towns, and of course, standing at the historic footsteps of a supposed Giant was pretty amazing too.
Driving Across Wales – I’m pretty convinced that a road trip makes everything better, and so off I went to Wales. I don’t think there was anything particularly special that I saw Wales that I couldn’t find in the rest of the UK, but driving 3 days across the UK made me feel close to the piece of land. I had now scene the United Kingdom from coast to coast, and I felt closer to this continent.
7 Miles in Wales Snowdonia National Park – The road trip filled me with an inexplicable urge – I wanted to become a part of the land. The only way I knew how to do that was to spend a lot of time in it. So began a 6 hour hike through Snowdonia National Park. Led by 2 local guides and armed with a small day pack, my camera gear and a basic survival kit, I took off not knowing what to expect. Across miles with no sign of human life, through backyards and private farmlands which was also part of the national park, I came to a poignant moment in my life – the first time I realized how much I liked the country.