Well, I went to London! I can now check that off my bucket list.
I arrived late Thursday evening, when I met a family friend. I was in for the night, and didn’t explore London until the next day.
When I woke Friday morning, I was ready to go and see the city. Although, Oxford Circus was perhaps the worst place to begin my day off. I have never felt so uncomfortable or bombarded by a city in my life. Walking out from the underground and into the open circle of shoving people, honking taxis and a total loss of direction, I was in shock. But thankfully, two girls from the program happened to be in London for the weekend as well and called me at the moment in which I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.
I ended up finding my way to a tube station near where they were. I hadn’t quite gotten my bearings just yet, so when I couldn’t find Westminster, I stopped at Green Park station in the hopes that I would be semi-near the original point of meeting. As I walked through Green Park, headed for the street in what I could only guess was the way to Westminster, I stumbled into a rather exciting surprise. I had made my way to Buckingham Palace.
I knew as soon as I saw the tall black gates enameled with gold and the colossal building behind its bars that I had made it. It’s funny to see it in movies and see it in real life. I was taken by surprise, and as soon as I was, I was left to marvel. I could only gape at the monument standing in the roundabout out in front of the palace.
Of course, I had to stop and take a moment to take a few pictures before I felt prepared to find my way forward toward Westminster.
When I did finally arrive at Westminster Abbey, and saw Dalton and Heather, I couldn’t help but hug them. Familiar faces were exactly what I needed at that moment in time.
We took a tour of Westminster Abbey, and although I was hesitant at first, I am so thankful we did. In fact, that may have been my favorite thing we did the entire weekend.
The abbey was absolutely beautiful. It was even more grand and awe-inspiring than St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, which I had previously thought to be impossible. But with the history and the sheer size of the abbey, it won by a landslide.
Along with the fact that William and Kate were married in Westminster, the abbey’s history is incomparable. With the names of Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens carved into its walls and floors, Westminster is the burial place of many of history’s most well-known people.
My favorite portion of the entire abbey was the Lady Chapel, toward the back. It’s architecture is incomprehensibly stunning.
After about an hour and a half in the abbey, we wandered the streets of London, passing Big Ben, the London Eye and the Thames River. When it was dark, we grabbed a much-needed dinner in the warmth of a high-end pub.
Evening settled into night and I had to make my way back to Highbury and Islington before it was too late.
Saturday began better than Friday. I was able to navigate the tube a bit better and I felt more comfortable with the city. We spent our day seeing the remainder of major touristy sights.
We took a water cruise down the Thames to the Tower of London. The Tower itself was not my favorite, but I got some worthy photos of London as we cruised down the river.
That night I had dinner with Anna, the family friend I stayed with, which was really nice. Afterwards, I went back out into the city for my last night in town. Me and the girls enjoyed a drink or two and went off along our own ways to get some rest for the journey home the next day.
Overall, I’d say London was a successful weekend trip. I’d like to see more of England, but for now, I’d say I at least got the taste I was looking for.