Friday, May 21, 2010

Holiday: London

The final leg of my capital's of Europe tour began with transportation trouble. While mom and dad had no trouble with their flight home (thank goodness!), I was not quite so fortunate. Thanks to some problems in the tunnel under the English channel, I arrived at 1:30pm instead of 9:30am. Now this may not sound like much of a difference to you but for someone who flies out the next evening, four hours of sightseeing time is big. Needless to say, I got going quick as I could. Having traveled through so many non-english speaking countries, navigating the complicated, confusing London transportation network was a breeze.

Apparently bikes aren't the only alternative to walking here

After dropping off my stuff, I headed for the Tower of London. Being the history buff that I am, this place held more fascination for me than the other tourist attractions. Thanks to my bad luck in the tunnel, I only had an hour there but I made the most of it. The Tower had an imposingly impressive and indomitable feel about it. Definitely worth a return visit.

The "Tower of London" is actually a misnomer since the area is and has been for 700 years a castle fortress (although when originally constructed it began with a single white tower)

After the tower closed at 5:30 I proceeded to wander around London for several hours. I didn't get a map or a guide but I still found my way to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace with little trouble. All of these were cool to see and the best part was that I finished my walk with a relaxing stroll through Hyde Park. It was a beautiful day and after the annoying morning, an evening walk in the park was just what the doctor ordered.

Buckingham Palace

Hyde Park

More Hyde Park

Deck chairs by the lake that I took a short nap in (brilliant!)

Kensington Park

The next morning found me heading towards my most anticipated stop in London. Can you guess what it is? Being a fairly skilled tennis player, I could think of no better way to spend my final hours in England than with a visit to Wimbledon. This was definitely the highlight of London for me. Seeing the courts where I've watched countless matches played on tv. Hearing the history of this prestigious club and the tournament it hosts. Seeing those pristine grass courts. It REALLY made me want to go play! :)

Court 1

Press conference table (you'll see it on tv if you see interview from Wimbledon)

During my tour here, I actually met a group of Brits about my age who were very friendly and invited me to lunch with them afterward. I gladly accepted and enjoyed a very good (and very large) roast beef lunch.

I then headed for Gatwick airport, praying all the time that it was still open. You see, the Iceland volcano was causing new problems. It had already closed every airport north of London and was threatening my flight. I prayed quiet seriously most of the day and all the way there. When I arrived I learned that my flight was not leaving on time but no reason was given. This of course concerned me even more but thankfully my plane did manage to leave before the airport closed.

I breathed a long sigh of relief as the plane took off and I thought back over the trip. It had been an exciting ride. As Dad said, I could tell the story of this trip with perfect accuracy and make it sound horrible or wonderful, just by changing my attitude. It definitely had its ups and downs and I was definitely ready to spend a quiet weekend or two at home. But for all that it had been wonderful. Once again, I can't wait for my next big adventure :)

1 comment:

  1. Luke~ I am enjoying reading your blog. I am sitting out back at 8 am, looking at your London pictures and can't believe in just a few weeks we will be there too!!
    Thanks for sharing and we will see you soon!