A First Time Visitors View of London, England

By: Rene Smith

Just a few days into my 4 week overseas adventure I was packing my bags and moving on from my brief experience of life in Thailand. Next on my list were the epic sights of London, England.

Leaving through the airport in Bangkok was absolute chaos, they were building another airport at the time to accommodate for increased numbers and judging by my experience it couldn’t come soon enough. The lines at the baggage collection and check in were crazy, it took me a while to realize that there weren’t actually any lines and it was just every man for himself. This was very stressful and a lot different from what I’m used to in my home country of New Zealand.

After fending off enough other travelers to collect my tickets I sat back and relaxed during a long but comfortable flight to London.

I arrived at Heathrow Airport late at night but was very excited to catch up with my sisters who met me at the arrivals area. Catching the underground back to their apartment we had plenty of time to catch up and share some funny stories.

I awoke the next day with a bit of jet lag from all the flying but was still determined to get in as much sightseeing as I could in my first day in London. After a quick lesson on the underground, I set out for my first look at this historic city.

First up were the classic sights of Big Ben, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, the Government Buildings, Westminster Abbey and others. It was almost hard to keep up with all the amazing buildings and I had to keep pinching myself as I stumbled upon more around every corner. It’s always strange seeing things in person that you’ve only ever seen in magazines or TV, luckily they all lived up to expectations, even if Big Ben was a bit smaller than I originally thought.

I managed to get a little lost not long after around the Leicester, Piccadilly and Coventry area. Because of the low building height, it’s sometimes hard to get any points of reference that you might from tall skyscrapers. At least there’s the trusty Thames River which eventually bailed me out.

Later in the evening I settled down for a few pints in my first English Pub. There seems to be one on every corner which is convenient, the Poms aren’t always the smartest but they certainly know how to please a weary traveler. After watching a game of football and thinking about what a fantastic day I’d had I went back to my sister’s apartment to get ready for some well earned sleep. Sightseeing is fun but getting to and from so many places can be tiring.

London is a sprawling city with a unique heritage and sights by the truckload. It is a must visit city and even if you can’t handle the crowds and noise you’ll get a kick out of just being there and experiencing such a historic place. These were just my first impressions of London, there’s so much more to it and you would be foolish to not experience it for yourself at any chance you get. From just one day in London I came away with enough memories to last me a whole year, it’s days like this that remind you why traveling is so great.

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