London Calling

SPOILER: This post will be picture heavy.

I went full tourist this past weekend. I took the 5 hour bus ride to London early Saturday and spent the entire weekend taking photos, reading everything each museum had to offer, and asking all sorts of questions.

This past school week was pretty typical, so I decided to go to London to do some adventuring. My bus left at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, so I got into London by 8:30. I got some breakfast right away and then took off to central London to see all of the sights. My first stop was Westminster Abbey for a tour. Westminster Abbey is where all the Kings and Queens of England have been coronated since 1066. It’s also where the royal weddings and funerals take place. The Abbeys also serves as the burial location of the likes of Issac Newton, Laurence Olivier, and multiple past Kings and Queens of England.

The Abbey may have been the most gorgeous building I have ever stepped foot in. I stayed in there for about two hours, listening to the audio guide provided as well as reading as many tombs as possible. Unfortunately, there is a strict no picture policy so all I was able to get was a picture of the gorgeous exterior of the abbey.

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Westminster Abbey
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Entrance to Westminster Abbey

After touring the abbey, I walked around central London and took some photos of the bigger landmarks.

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Big Ben
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The Eye of London

After walking around central London, I started to walk towards Buckingham Palace to get a view of the Queen’s house. On my walk to the palace, I saw a group gathering at a fence along Downing Street. So after working my way towards the front I noticed armed guards guarding the gate, and a huge collection of the media a ways behind the gate. After asking around, I learned the the UK Prime Minister David Cameron was going to make a big announcement. After waiting about 45 minutes, Cameron came out and announced that on June 23, the UK will vote on if they want to remain part of the European Union. This was  a huge announcement, and the campaigning for both sides of the argument will dominate the UK media and politics for the next 5 months. This was a really cool thing to witness, and the reaction of the crowd was mixed. It wasn’t the most clear sighting, but clear enough to count for a major celebrity sighting while abroad.

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You can see David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, Directly above the inner fence on the right

After my celebrity sighting, I made my way down the National Mall and Park towards Buckingham palace. I could not believe how big it truly was. It was the biggest singular house I have ever seen. Of course I also got a photo of one of the famed palace guards as well as the fountain directly in front of the palace.

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Buckingham Palace
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Palace Guard

I then hopped into a cab and went off towards the Tower of London. I had an extremely friendly cab driver who really likes Americans and wanted to know all about where I was from. Once I arrived I began a tour of the Tower of London. The Tower of London is a medieval era castle and fortress used by the monarchy of England for centuries. It has now been transformed into a museum that houses knights armor worn by the kings of old, ancient swords and torture devices, as well as the Crown Jewels. The Crown Jewels are presented to each monarch upon their coronation and consist of a magnificent crown, scepter, and orb all containing some of the largest and rarest gemstones known to mankind. Unfortunately, photography of the Crown Jewels was also restricted.

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Outside of the Tower of London
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White Tower within the Tower of London

I was also able to get a wonderful view of the famed tower bridge stretching over the Thames River.

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Tower Bridge of London

I spent most of my afternoon at the Tower, until it closed around six. I then made my way back to Central London to take a ride on the Eye of London. After seeing the price for a ride and the line that ensued, I decided to take a pass and just some fish and chips for dinner instead.

After dinner I walked a couple miles to my hotel. By the time I got checked in and situated, I was exhausted. I called it a night and crashed almost immediately. I got up the next day for a day filled with museums.

First I decided I wanted to go to the world famous British museum. It was about an hour walk away, so after another great breakfast, I took off at about 10 for the long trek. On my way, while approaching Trafalgar Square, I was redirected by some security because they were filming a movie. After working my way around and finding a decent vantage point, I was able to get a photo of the production, which happened to be of the upcoming blockbuster Wonder Woman!

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Wonder Woman production

After finally making it to the British Museum, I was treated to thousands of incredible historical artifacts. I spent hours at the museum reading all about mummies, the ancient greeks and romans,  and the tribes of Africa. The highlight of the museum was definitely the Rosetta Stone, which is famous for helping scholars decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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The Rosetta Stone
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Bust of Ramses from his tomb (It weighs 7 tons)
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Statue from Easter Island

After spending most of my day at this magnificent museum, I walked back to Trafalgar Square to take a walk through The National Gallery, which is Britain’s premier art museum. I was treated to masterpieces spanning from the 1100’s to modern day. Some of the highlights included pieces by Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Van Gogh. I spent another hour or two here before making the trek back to the bus station to catch my 6:30 bus back to Swansea.

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“The Water Lily Pond” – Claude Monet
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“Bathers at Asnières” – Georges Seurat
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“Wheat Field With Cypresses” – Vincent Van Gogh

After the long bus ride home, I was able to settle in and get a good nights sleep.

Now this is where the story should end, however I woke up to a surprise. Every night, I leave my window cracked to keep my room cool. I am on the ground floor. So while waking up, when I felt something heavier on my legs, I was a little concerned. I shifted my legs to try and get more comfortable, and A CAT jumps off my bed onto my chair, where he immediately falls back asleep.

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Sisha, my sleeping buddy.

I went into the kitchen to ask my roommates if they knew anything about this cat. One of my roommates, who has lived here all year, told me the cats name is Sisha and is notorious for jumping into windows. She was quite the tame cat, and wore a collar around her neck. So after getting ready for my day, I woke up back up and put her outside. After quite the surprising wake up, we will see if Sisha comes back to visit.

I’ve got another full week ahead of me, and who knows what it will bring! I’m having a great time and I am only looking forward to what’s ahead! Make sure to check back in next Monday to here some more Stories from Swansea!

Cheers!

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