Friday, November 7, 2014

High Tea and Biscuits: My Trip to London (Part Two)

This is the second post about my trip to London. To read the first post, click here!

I can definitely see why London is one of the most visited cities in the world – I could spent a month there and never run out of attractions to see and museums to visit. My dad and I were only in town for two full days, so I did some major research on London's attractions beforehand so we could pick and choose what we wanted to do. Our first day was spent exploring the area around Westminster, and we ventured down the River Thames toward the Tower of London on our second day. I'm impressed at how much we crammed into one day! And I mean crammed. We must've walked ten miles, which I'd say justified all of the greasy British food we devoured.   

My dad and I started the day at the Tower of London to see the infamous palace and fortress. The Tower used to house the royal family, but it was also home to many violent acts of torture and crime. Anne Boleyn was even beheaded on the Tower grounds. We also braced the crowds to see the beautiful Crown Jewels... now I want Queen Elizabeth's crown for my birthday!

During our visit, almost a million red poppies were placed in the moat of the Tower, each symbolizing a British victim of the World War I. The red roses, which reminded me of blood, looked eerily fitting set against the 1,000-year-old fortress. 

I couldn't come to London without having afternoon tea! After looking through pages of crazy-expensive tea houses on Google, I finally came across the Swan, a cute tea house conventionally located next to some attractions my dad and I planned to visit. Although the tea was somewhat pricy, everything tasted incredible! We devoured English breakfast tea (which we drank with milk, like a true Brit), finger sandwiches, biscuits and jam, and a variety of small desserts. I practically overdosed on sugar!

Since I take way too many pictures, here are some other highlights from our day:

Looking out on the River Thames

A view of the Tower Bridge from the HMS Belfast

The Shard, which is the tallest building in Europe

A replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 

Since I love food, I thought I'd mention my dinner: cottage pie. I assumed cottage pie would come inside a pie crust, but it was more like a beef stew with mashed potatoes melted on top. I never expected English food to taste so good!

My flight home to Berlin, and my dad's flight back to America, was the next day. We spared enough time in the morning to visit the British Museum, which had some really cool exhibits involving human culture and history. The Rosetta Stone and Egyptian statues were my favorite!

Now for my final verdict on London. England's capital seemed like a mix between New York City and Germany. Crowds of people scuffled down busy streets and tourists were everywhere, like in New York. But London also has its own charm in it's amazing history, cobblestone squares, and sense of British pride. The city also felt somehow less chaotic than New York, and people didn't walk 100-miles-per-hour everywhere they went. The history of London is what amazes me most, though; nowhere in America can you find a one-thousand-year-old castle or 500-year-old pub smack in the middle of a city. Culturally, London has a bit of everything; I'm sure I heard at least 20 different languages while walking down the streets, and I saw a gallery or museum on practically every corner.

I'm also extremely happy that red telephone booths, double decker buses, uniformed men on horses, and British flags are in abundance through the city. I actually felt like I was in England during my stay, which never ceased to take me by surprise. I absolutely loved my trip to London. My only regret was not being able to stay longer. I think I'll definitely be back in the future, but I'll be sure to save up lots of money ahead of time!