My European tour this summer was not actually my first trip across the pond. My aunt took me to London for a week the summer before I turned 13, saying that it was the perfect age because I was old enough to bathe myself but young enough that I wouldn’t climb out the hotel window due to boredom. My second time in London was shorter and different, given that I’m not 12 anymore, and it was really cool to go back and see certain sites again, 9 years later.
We were only in London for a couple of days, but I tried to make the most of it between our guided tour and free time. Part of the fun was getting to know the other people in my group while running around a foreign city, but that applies to the whole trip really.
One aspect of my 2015 trip that was definitely different from my 2006 trip was the lack of structure. From what I remember from 2006, my aunt and I spent the week touring castles and going on bus trips, while this year I spent my free time wandering around, just seeing what I could see in the little time that I had.
One of my favorite parts was riding the London Eye. The girls I was with and I spent much of the afternoon wandering down the bank of the Thames, visiting the Globe Theater and Tate Gallery before eventually making it to the Eye by the time the weather had somewhat cleared from the morning’s rain. It was really cool getting up to the top and looking out over the city, remembering what it was like to be there with my aunt 9 years before.
I love the juxtaposition between old and new in London. There aren’t any limits on building up like there are in cities like DC or Paris to preserve aesthetic, and it’s so cool to see towering glass skyscrapers right next to stone fortresses that have been there for hundreds of years. Out of all of the places that I visited on my trip, London was one of my favorites, to look at and wander around in and just enjoy the whole sensation of being somewhere that isn’t home (but maybe could be, if I tried hard enough!).
I’ve had a thing for English history since I was about 9 years old, and England is definitely going to remain on my list of places to visit and revisit for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to go back!