Next was the last grand trip of the summer: LONDON. I think after each place I visit, I declare it to be my new favorite city. And once again, London is my favorite city that I’ve visited. I think I liked it largely in part because for the first time in two months, I was somewhere where the first language is English. I had booked a flight for 7 am and in order to not be late, I had to arrive at the airport at midnight and just wait there for 7 straight hours. The off and on sleep that I had between midnight and 5 am wasn’t the best, but at least I wasn’t worried about being on time.
Once we arrived, I took a train from the small airport into the city. Since it was a Friday, I had the chance to see all the school kids in their uniforms and the businessmen going in to work. At the station in the city, I tried my hardest to blend in and look like a local but immediately felt like Arthur Weasley when he’s at the train station with Harry because I didn’t know how to exit the platform with my ticket. As is typical for London, it was cloudy and raining. I left the station and my first goal was to go to the Thames River to see the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge is the one that most people think is the London Bridge because it’s the prettiest one. I actually walked along the river passing the London Bridge, Millennium Bridge (from Harry Potter 6), and the Globe Theater museum.
I decided to continue my power walk towards Buckingham Palace in order to make it in time for the changing of the guards. My whole walk there was just famous place after famous place. Once I arrived, I knew I had the time right because there was a massive crowd of tourists. A whole group of the guards marched in together from somewhere down the road. They were followed by two groups of other guards/bands and eventually made their way inside the gates. Once they crossed through the gates, no one could see what was happening as the whole ceremony took place. There was an official band playing what I thought sounded like the Indiana Jones theme. Then, they played a song that I was sure was the Star Wars theme and the Olympic Ceremony theme. It was a really weird experience and definitely not what I was expecting.
I still had about half my day ahead of me, so I walked back to the river and went into Westminster Abbey. What really impressed me was the thought of how many famous British people are buried there from monarchs like Mary Queen of Scots, to scientists like Newton and Darwin, to authors like Dickens and Lewis Carroll. I also got to see the official coronation chair that has been used for most ceremonies since the 1200’s. In that same area is Big Ben which I found to be a lot smaller than I was expecting. Also, the House of Parliament is right down the road, so it gave me a lot of sites to see in such a short distance. After that, I was pretty pooped from my sleepless night and lots of walking, so I headed over to my hostel where I ended up falling asleep around 5 pm and sleeping until the next morning.