Yesterday I took the Eurostar with another girl on my program to go to London! We arrived three hours early to the station, which was more than enough time to go through Gare du Nord. This was my first time on one of these trains, and I discovered it looks just like an airplane inside, but it glides smoothly on land instead of air. We spent the two hours looking out the window at the green French countryside – patches of different shades of green forever, along with wind turbines.
When we arrived yesterday, we went straight to the little apartment we are staying at. We rented a room through Airbnb in an older couple’s apartment in Camden with their dog. At first we got off at the wrong bus stop and then we went to the next stop; though we didn’t have a map, we knew it was in the area. Lugging our suitcases behind, we tried to look at maps and find the street since we had the address. We even went into an office building that helped us Google map the place since we don’t have wifi, but it was still hard to find. We didn’t really think this through.
Camden was a very happening neighborhood, with people in the streets, in the market, and walking around. It’s not at all like Paris, so we were kind of shocked – definitely more shocked going from Paris to London than from the US to Paris. Instead of quiet, classy and clean areas, this was super metropolitan with dirty streets and loud people lounging on the sidewalk.
When we finally found the courtyard area and got inside, we were pretty nervous to be in a new city. I really can’t stress how different Paris is from London, when we thought they’d be pretty similar. Paris (or at least the neighborhoods we’ve seen) is just very relaxed and serene, but here it is crazy with excitement and hurriedness.
Then we tried to get dinner at about 7 or 8 p.m. We didn’t want to go too far since we didn’t know the area, so we attempted to buy food at a coffeehouse called Costa which I think is a common chain here. However, they didn’t accept any of our credit cards or debit cards, so we left, worried we’d be money-less. Then we tried another restaurant place and I devoured a “mini” pizza with pineapple and ham.
We were very exhausted, a little scared and kind of overwhelmed by the city, but began to settle down a little at night. Another girl from our program joined us to stay for the night, too, and we went to sleep.