Yesterday, I was able to visit the famous city of London for the day. The University of Sussex set up a field trip to the city, and many of the people in my program came along with me. For 45 pounds (about 60 USD), I was provided with a train ride to and from London (about an hour-long journey each way). Also included in this price was a boat ride on the River Thames (pronounced “temz”) as well as unlimited rides on the Tube, or as we call in the States, Subway.
Our first stop in London was at Buckingham Palace, where Queen Elizabeth resides. Our group made it just in time to witness the changing of the guards, which happens once a day. In this process, the guards walk in a formation, holding flags and replacing the other guards who have just completed their shift. Simultaneously, a large group of officers on horses comes up along the main road and circles around the front palace, finally exiting the way they came. The process was very extravagant, including many guards, horses, and other police officers. Imagine Times Square being completely blocked off for about thirty minutes. I was so ecstatic to be able to see this, and I even felt royal myself just being able to be a bystander it. (Buckingham Palace pictured below)
I was most excited to see Big Ben, which is actually just the name of the Bell inside the tower. The Elizabeth Tower is the proper name of the building. I actually thought it was red, and was a bit surprised to see it was a gold building. However, it looked even more historic and classy than I imagined. (“Big Ben” pictured below)
I was also able to see many other sites in London, as well experience the typical English weather. The beginning of the day was beautiful, sunny, and warm. Midday consisted of a chilly and cloudy overcast with intermittent drizzling, and we ended our journey in London with sunny and cool weather. It was interesting to me, but from what I’ve heard it is pretty typical for a forecast here.
Overall, it was an honor to be able to see all the sites in person that I heard about and saw in movies and on television. As compared to a city like New York City, London had so many more historic sites and buildings, and the layout of the city just seemed so much more old-fashioned. It is more of “homey” city, and I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance.