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Exchange-programme daily blog – Week 1 / Days 6-7 Thursday 21st January
Lucy in Florida – Days 6 & 7
M I A M I here we come…
The whole drive down to Miami I had one predictable song in my head by Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff which the geek inside of me was dying to sing it at the top of my lungs however, being in the company of Austin from Victory I thought it was best that I keep it too myself! Although the drive from Fort Myers to Miami was 2.5 hours long, it is still a trip that he regularly takes throughout the year; it was lovely to get to know Austin and to hear about all the Miami hot spots from his experience.
For our first stop we visited a friend of Austin’s who is a resident at the Viceroy Hotel / Residency which hands down has one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen overlooking the ocean. The view combined with the 300 ft outdoor pool makes this place an absolute dream! We sat and chatted for a while and then it was on to why we really came to the beautiful city and that was to visit the Art Dec festival.
The famous Ocean Drive welcomes over 150,000 visitors to the annual Art Deco weekend which is set up in order to celebrate the Art Deco architecture, history, preservation and holds educational workshops. The street is lined with different food, vintage fashion and craft vendors and the street is lined with different entertainers and street performers. The festival was action packed and it was great to be a part of such an electric atmosphere.
In the evening we went to dinner in the cool Wynwood Miami area and then headed over to a few bars in Midtown. I met with Austin’s friends who were really welcoming to me and looked after me the whole evening; such a great night!
After the long drive back from Miami and with the crazy week I just had at the Victory residence, I used Sunday as a chill day and gave myself time to relax in the hotel; well deserved I say!
My first week has been incredible and I can’t wait to see what week two has in store for me…
Frankie in London – Days 6 & 7
My first full weekend here was a blast. Friday night, a few of us did a short pub crawl around some of the pubs in Putney. I got to experience my first pie, followed by bangers and mash. I wanted to order a few more plates but more reasonable minds prevailed and we went on to the other various pubs and restaurants down Putney High Street. Saturday was unbelievable as Nastasya and I got to take an audiobook tour of the Houses of Parliament. Upon arrival, they handed us a small walkie-talkie looking audiobook. When you pressed play, it had short historic blurbs of each House section as you moved through the tour. The tour lasted about two hours and was full of information. For example, in England, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is responsible for maintaining the buildings, services, and security of the Palace of Westminster and is a direct representative of the Queen.
After the tour of Parliament, we went to BubbleDogs which is an interesting lunch spot that pairs champagne and hotdogs. Another brilliant idea that I’d love to take to the States… Following that, we journeyed over to The Lumiere lights show, which was absolutely PACKED. After about an hour over there, all of us went over to East London for a bit of a mini tour and dinner at Nastasya and Jacek’s. I was able to get a little more familiar with the different tube lines, having to head back from the eastern part of town.
Sunday was also a full day of tourist events. Around noon, I met SJ and Simon at the Putney Bridge Station where we ventured off to the Natural History Museum for about an hour or two. Everyone was more so intrigued with the architecture of the building itself which I had learned served a different purpose a couple hundred years before. After the museum, I got to experience my first English Sunday Roast. This included chicken and vegetables complete with bread sauce and sticky toffee pudding for dessert which I could have easily ate my weight in. Following the roast, we took a cab over to Buckingham Palace. I took a ridiculous amount of pictures of the Palace as well as the statue of Queen Victoria in the middle of the plaza. Needless to say, the weekend was a memorable one filled with firsts and I cannot wait to see what this week has in store.