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UK I’m in Love

Traveling further from Loughborough, we visited York. Different from every cities that I have visited, York was run across by River Ouse and Foss. York had a beautiful scenery, mixed of city lifestyle and heritage. Last time, the city was a river port and the the Ouse was used by barges to carry freight. But nowadays, it’s also used as a tourist attraction for those who wanted to tour the city by river tour.

Taking bus to the city centre, we passed by the Clifford’s Tower. However, we did not stop at any heritage spots that day. We also passed by the bridge and had a glance view of the Ouse. The red boats at the side of the river were meant for chartering purposes.

And this is how the York shopping area looked like. A bit similar like Oxford Street in London, but smaller. The shopping area was crowded with locals too, especially during weekends.

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Early in the morning, we quickly woke up and got ready for our journey to Wiltshire. We took a bus from Bath Spa Train Station which took us directly to the Stonehenge.

There were a lot of tourists too in the bus who wanted to see The Stonehenge. So we went to the station earlier and Q-ed for the seats. The journey itself took more than 1 hour so we just continued our good night sleep there.

Finally we saw The Stonehenge from our bus. We couldn’t wait for the bus to stop. There were not many buildings in surrounded the prehistoric monument, only green field. Maybe to build buildings was banned to preserve the monument. Since we were at the open area, the cold wind blew even stronger. So we queued to go around the large standing stones together with the crowd. Stonehenge was mainly giant stones (obviously)… But according to the legend, Merlin built the monument in honor of the people who fought to defend the country. To carried the stones from Ireland to Wiltshire, he cast a spell to make the rocks as light as pebbles and transported across the water. Well, who knows?

The tour was quite short, because we could only walked around the stones. Barriers were put surrounded the stones and visitors could not enter any closer than 10-15 meters away. After that we warmed ourselves in the souvenir shops while waiting for our bus to fetch us.

The most memorable cities in UK for me was London, Loughborough (since it was where I stay during my study trip) and Bath Spa.

I knew Bath Spa because one of my friends continued his university in UK. He took his college in Bath before entering his present university in London. He promised to bring me around Bath and Stonehenge too. Our schedule was planned that we were going to visit Bath first before heading towards Salisbury to see Stonehenge.

We spent about 2 days 1 night in Bath. To my surprise, Bath was famous for its beautiful sceneries and its famous tourist attractions such as Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and The Circus.

Our train reached Bath Spa in the afternoon. We did not know our way to our hostel as it was very isolated. We stayed at YMCA Hostels. It was clean and nice, good enough for short stays. My friend arrived later than us so we took initiative to tour around the city ourselves. And the sceneries are really breathtaking.

Finally my friend reached the city and we met! He showed us around and brought us to The Circus, a stretch of townhouses in Georgian architecture style, built in circular space.  The name came from the which meant a ring, oval or circle. If viewed from the air it forms the shape of a key.

The Circus

Feeling a bit cold, we went to find a small cafe to sit down before our dinner time. My friend brought us to a nice sushi bar at the town. He was right, it was good! That’s how we had our first and last Japanese food in UK.

That’s how we spent our day in beautiful Bath. Time to get some rest so we went back to the hostel. The Stonehenge is still waiting for us 🙂

Had been visiting Nottingham and Leicester for a few times, I decided to explore other cities nearby.

Travel a little bit further than usual, my friends and I alighted at Derby. According to some reviews that we got from classmates, we still could explore the city in one day without staying overnight.

The town was located less than 30 minutes train rides from Nottingham and Leicester. There were a few things that you can do, to take thrilling rides of Alton Towers (if you have more than a day), visit art museums or shop.

In front of Derby Train Station

To go to the city centre, bus was the perfect transportation. There were bus directions panels so it was easy to find which bus to take. We went to St Peters Quarter and spent our day there before heading back to our dorm.

When we went to Leicester, there was another food fair held at Leicester Market Street. To reach the Market Street, we took about 10-15 minutes from the train station. Finally we reached the gate 🙂

There were local food and unique food that made me drool. They looked delicious! Not only tummy-filling food, but also candies and sweets. They look colorful and tempted the visitor to get some. Not only food and snacks, they also sold unique crafts such as the Russian dolls.

Walking further, I encountered this sign board which stunned me. It really wondered me how it would taste!

Which meat would you like to have?

The Cathedral Church of St Martin was nearby, so we made an effort to walk a little bit further and visit the church. The interior was magnificent with Gothic style architecture.

Since we has to catch the last train back to Loughborough, we went back straight after visiting the church. I gained another experience again 🙂

Since Loughborough was a University Town, there were not much entertainments there. Therefore when we were bored and had the urge to shop, going to Nottingham was a good choice. The town was named ‘Robin Hood’s Land’ where the legend was originated.

Compared to Leicester, Nottingham was closer to Loughborough. Therefore the town became the place for short get-away for the students. We were lucky it is nearby because Nottingham is third good shopping destination behind London and Birmingham.

There where a few places for shoppers like me 😛
Of course don’t expect it would be like Oxford Street in London. There were a few shopping places such as Victoria Centre, Hockley, and The Old Market Square where Primarks, Debenhams, Argos, BHS or Dorothy Perkins located. Not to forget it was the home of Paul Smith flagship fashion store.

We had a great time shopping and went back to Loughborough with the last bus!

During my study trip in Loughborough, we did not only stay at the town. We explored the nearest cities such as Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.

In weekends, when we did not have any classes to attend, we took the East Midlands Trains, the train service from Loughborough to Nottingham. Nottingham, famed of its Robin Hood legend, was my favorite town for a quick get-away in the weekends. Since the town was bigger than Loughborough, we always do shopping and entertainment there.

Our first time in Nottingham was when the town was having a fair, called Goose Fair. It was held every year. So wondering how it would look like, we went for experience.

We took the earliest train from Loughborough train station. Loughborough train station was about 15 minutes bus ride from our college dorm so it was quite convenient. After we reached the train station which was also the last stop for the buses, we purchased our tickets and went in to the waiting room.

Our train tickets

Besides train there was bus service too. But I heard now they have a new bus service between Nottingham and Loughborough University. The Premiere service takes 45 minutes from Nottingham Broadmarsh to the University.

Reached Nottingham, we took the trem and stopped in front of the Goose Fair itself. Although the name is ‘Goose’ Fair, that did not mean that it is about gooses, ducks or swans. There were 500 attractions, such as family rides, waltzers, carousels and Hook-a-Duck.

Carousel

There were carts and caravans selling candy floss and brandy snaps or we could try the traditional Goose Fair food such as mushy peas and mint sauce, Chinese noodles, Indian kebabs, Spanish churros, paella and French crepes. I did try their hotdog and caramel apple candy which is so sweet…

Don’t worry of getting starve there

Most of the rides were for children. We only rode the mini roller-coaster and it was not scary at all. But, because of it was fall season, everyone of us shivered because the cold wind hit our face.

The day was getting darker. So we stopped playing and continue our journey to the town central which I will post next : “Shop at Robin Hood’s Land in the Heart of England

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