Here Comes the Sun

Spring has definitely arrived in London, and I for one could not be happier about this.  Every single day this past week has been picture-perfect and surprisingly warm.  However, I should probably rewind a couple of weeks seeing as I haven’t posted in awhile.  The week after I got back from Paris was predominantly filled with coursework.  The transition from traveling around Europe to sitting in the library is always a little difficult.  Though it usually doesn’t take too long to remind myself that the books are top priority.  One night I got the opportunity to go to the cinema for the first time over here.  While it wasn’t remarkably different, there were a couple things that set it apart from home.  When you buy your ticket the cashier actually shows you a seating chart and you have to pick your seats.  It reminded me a lot of a baseball game when we had to look for our seats, and seeing others sitting in other people’s seats.  Also there was literally about 25 minutes of commercials before the previews even came on.  Next time I’ll remember to show up about 40 minutes late and I’ll be right on time.

Dispatch at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

Now that it was the middle of March it meant that St. Patrick’s Day was right around the corner.  Before I left America I had made it one of my goals to visit Ireland during St. Patrick’s Day.  Unfortunately the plans never came together and it wasn’t meant to be.  Nonetheless, being on the island right beside the Emerald Isle isn’t a bad substitute at all.  My Irish friend from halls took care of all the responsibilities for our festivities.  The weekend was full of Irish flags, shamrocks, and some of Dublin’s best export.  It was a great way to celebrate the holiday and a grand time was had by all.  All of this has made my desire to visit Ireland ever greater, and hopefully I’ll be able to do that sometime in May (knock on wood).  Earlier in the month I had discovered that Dispatch, one of my favorite bands, was going to be playing in London.  I had planned on seeing them last summer in Chicago, but I had to pass it up because of summer class and work.  This made even more excited to see them, so a couple of friends and I grabbed up some tickets.  The concert was in West London at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.  It was a really cool venue with a floor level and three balcony levels, which made the experience even better.  Dispatch is always amazing live and our concert was no exception.  I wish they could’ve played for three more hours, but sadly it had to end at some point.

Looking over London from Parliament Hill

As I mentioned before the weather has been progressively been improving day by day.  While it was amazing to see a snow-covered London, the capital city in spring is at the best I’ve ever seen it.  Throughout March I’ve made a real effort to take advantage of all my afternoons off and explore more of London’s outdoor areas.  I’ve always thought that I’d like to live in a big city when I’m older, but I still love the ambiance of open fields and forests.  In this respect London has to be one of best in the world.  The city is surprisingly full of parks and wooded areas where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Exploring all the parks and hiking paths has easily become my new favorite hobby in London.  It would be nice if I were a great connoisseur of words so I could fully describe the natural beauty of London.  Sadly I am not, and it’s just something you have to experience for yourself.  Anyways, one of my favorite places is atop Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath.  It’s an amazing spot to the north that overlooks the entire city.  I’ve spent quite a few afternoons wandering around the Heath and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

My current view in Kensington Gardens

The parks closer to the center of London are just as great too, with immaculate gardens and fountains.  During my four-hour break on Monday I had the pleasure of taking a nap under the sun in the English Gardens at Regents Park.  I don’t think there’s a single better way to relax than lying down in a park and watching the clouds lazily float by.  As a matter of fact I’m actually resting against a nice tree in Kensington Gardens as I write this post.  It’s really just been another perfect afternoon in the London sunshine.  However it’s almost about time to head back and clean the dust creatures in my room before my friend arrives tonight.  After the weekend here we’ll be on quite the trip next week to Scotland and Holland.  Therefore I should have plenty of good stuff to write about when I get back.  As for now I think I’ll enjoy a bit more of the sunshine and tranquility in Kensington Gardens.  Until next time…