Last weekend, a few of my friends and I decided to venture out of London. Our destination of choice was Paris, but unfortunately Eurostar and Megabus do not cater to broke students at the last minute. Instead, we chose to explore Liverpool and Manchester.
For the last two weeks, London has been experiencing hot weather. The moment we arrived in Liverpool, it was eerie and gloomy, which made me feel like I was really in the U.K.
In America, people aren’t always kind when someone asks for directions. In the U.K, you can stop almost anyone and they will try to help you find your way. Thanks to helpful locals, and Google Maps, we were able to find our way to a hostel.
When we realized that we couldn’t check in for another three hours, we decided to explore Liverpool. Everyone was starving, so we went to a local pub to get food. The food service system is different in the U.K. A server will not come to you and ask for your order if you simply sit and wait. You must place the order yourself and pay before someone will bring it to you. We realized this after sitting aimlessly for 15 minutes.
After dinner, a few of us went on a trek for ice cream and I experienced my first trip to the store Primark, a mixture of Forever 21, H&M, Wal-Mart and Target. Almost anything you want can be found there, so it’s really not the best place to go if you’re trying to be mindful of spending abroad. Everything you see will suck you in and say, “Buy me. You need me.”
Primark delivered when it came to lighthearted fun, as the available wardrobe palate was delightfully strange. I didn’t imagine I’d be trying on onesies with three of my friends during the trip, but it’s hard to predict a scene in an unfamiliar place. Now there are Instagram pictures of my friends and me in animal onesies to forever cherish.
After food, ice cream and shopping, it was time to check out Liverpool’s nightlife. It was going well until some local men expressed a desire to burn my friend’s Manchester United sweatshirt.
I thought people in America were serious about their sports teams, but the U.K. has us beat. Not sure if the budding pyromaniac would have really set her sweatshirt on fire, but he pulled out the lighter in a clear demonstration of his disgust for the football team.
Once that fiasco was over, we found a few fun venues, including The Cavern, where the Beatles used to play, and a ‘90s bar. What would a night be without xtina and Britney Spears?
We also visited the Titanic museum and went sightseeing at some of the Beatles’ stompinggrounds. Since I’m not a huge Beatles fan, I didn’t go on the tour, but I did get a postcard to prove I was in the area. The third day we got on a bus to Manchester, where my friend was in the clear to wear her aforementioned sweatshirt. We found a 10-inch pizza for $2.50.
With the unforgettable trip now behind us, I feel just slightly worldlier. I never did buy that animal onesie, but it will always hold a special place in my heart – or at least be remembered in the glow of a flattering Instagram filter.
Chistasia Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.