Study Abroad: My First Visit to London

Last Saturday and Sunday, I got to visit London for the first time in my life. Overall impression? London is amazing. It’s not comparable to the mass chaos of New York, but actually I think prefer London’s more laid back vibe.

Luckily, my parents planned out everything because London is huge and, we only had two days to see all the traditional tourist sites. We did so much in two days so, I am just going to go through the highlights.

telephoneboxbigben bigben2

For one, Big Ben is extremely impressive. Honestly, if I didn’t see the Eiffel Tower the next day, I would say it’s the most impressive monument that I have seen in my entire life. I was surprised at how many gold accents there were and how big the overall structure is.

Sometimes when you see something in pictures your whole life, you imagine it being bigger and better than it actually is – in the case of Big Ben, not true.

buckinghampalacewallbuckinghampalace

My reaction to Buckingham Palace:

A. I can’t believe they let tourists get so close to the front of the building (compared to the White House).

B. How in the world is there only a stone barbwire fence as a line of protection between the Queen’s backyard and the general public?

C. I think I was expecting something more castle-like.

changingofguardsnoglightsstpaulscathedral

Our hotel was right next to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We didn’t go inside the cathedral but the exterior – wow – it’s crazy cool. For one, it’s huge. Second, the architecture is beautiful. The dome on top is ginormous, and you can see it from pretty far away depending where you are standing in the city.

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We crossed Tower Bridge. From afar, you would think that the bridge takes a while to cross, but it was a lot shorter than I expected. At first, I thought it was going to be maybe half the length of the Brooklyn Bridge (1 mile), but it only took three or four minutes to walk across.

undergroundstation

Four words: London transport is awesome. Honestly, I wish the US would invest more money into expanding public transportation in and around cities (even small ones). London transportation is confusing to navigate at first, but once you get a hang of it – it’s awesome. Buses and the Tube are clean. Transport comes on time. It’s a pretty awe-inspiring system.

westminsterabbey

All in all, I fell in love with London. It is a beautiful city and, there is so much to see. It’s hard not to compare London with New York, but I enjoyed London even more than NYC.

One morning, I woke up early to run by the Thames and, it was the most surreal moment to be running along and see Big Ben emerging slowly as I got closer. Then, watching the sun rise over Tower Bridge. It was definitely one of those moments that reminds you how much there is to see in the world and how small we as individuals are in comparison. 

Check back tomorrow for a Paris recap.

35 days until I return to the US.

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2 thoughts on “Study Abroad: My First Visit to London

  1. Carina November 8, 2013 / 4:36 pm

    That’s so strange, I was so-so about the Big Ben, though I was impressed by the Houses of Parliament that it’s next to. Haha. We were looking at the Big Ben in a drizzle, though, so I didn’t really get to observe it as much as I’d like.

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