Editor’s Note: The past few weeks the Echo’s newest Intern Sarah Stockman has been travelling through Scotland and England. Below is her experience in London.
A day exploring historic landmarks and royal splendor
By Sarah Stockman
Goodbye, Scotland and hello, England! Today I switched gears from the beautiful Scottish countryside to the busy streets of London.
The day began by hopping on a vintage, iconic red double-decker bus for a bit of sightseeing from a rooftop view. Growing up in Texas I never really had the city experience, so I was shocked to see floods of people walking everywhere I looked all in a hurry to reach their destination. Taxis were recklessly driving all over the place, it was easy to separate the tourists from the locals and street signs were impossible to spot. Although it was wonderful to see, it was also a little overwhelming.
Thankfully, my nerves subsided as the double-decker stopped in front of Big Ben. The architecture alone was awe-inspiring! After a few cheesy, tourist photos I was off to Westminster Abbey. One of the most historic landmarks in London and the national church of the United Kingdom, Westminster Abbey did nothing but surpass expectations. The church is enormous, the amount of history within its’ doors is amazing and the stained glass is absolutely gorgeous. I still can’t believe I had the opportunity to visit the cathedral where so many coronations, royal weddings and countless historical events have taken place.
Personally, I loved Poets’ Corner within the Cathedral. Burial sites and/or memorials to Jane Austen, William Blake, the Bronte sisters, Robert Burns, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Lewis Carroll are just a few big name writers commemorated.
However, the royals within the abbey are the real showstoppers. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II and Mary Queen of Scots are a few big names associated with Westminster, but that’s barely scratching the surface. I particularly enjoyed standing on the same ground where the famous funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales occurred as well as the wedding of her son, Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.
After my tour of the abbey concluded, I was lucky enough to witness the changing of the guard at the official residence of the British monarchy—Buckingham Palace. Witnessing this splendid tradition certainly lived up to its reputation. Watching the stoic guards wearing crisp red coats and towering, black fur hats I truly felt like I had finally arrived in London.
Unfortunately, I spent most of the afternoon with a map in both hands (which was no help at all). Being lost in London definitely was not fun, but after learning how to hail a taxi I made my way to the famous London Eye.
The Coca-Cola London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel that takes passengers 445 feet in the air to overlook the beautiful city of London. When it was created in 1999, the London Eye was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. Personally, being scared of heights I was a bit nervous before stepping foot onto one of the 32 oval shaped, open concept capsules. Luckily, I barely felt the movement as the wheel slowly arose and the view of the city was worth the nerves.
Tomorrow, I follow the current of the River Thames to one of the city’s most notable structures, the Tower of London.