Note: This is one of six articles on my time in England, United Kingdom from December 2016 to January 2017. Not every one of them follows what I did during that particular day, but also follows the culture, lifestyles, and interest in the area. Articles will be published twice a week until complete.
Going to London was a fantastic time for me for so many different reasons. I loved its vibe, the many things you could do there, the history, and just everything about it. I was lucky enough to do a wide variety of things, but here is a list of my most favorite moments, one from each day:
Day One: When we first got off the plane, we were picked up by our friend’s cab driver and we drove to the training facility of Arsenal. This was exceptionally awesome, since I had never seen how professional athletes train and it was great to see what our friend does at his job. I was so impressed with all the detail and effort all of it takes. I don’t know when I would have another experience like this, but I absolutely loved it.
Day Two: We went on a walk from Highgate Wood to Alexandra Palace to give some exercise to our friend’s dog, Khaleesi. Highgate was such a nice little park with towering trees and people walking dogs everywhere, It was quiet and full of life, even though it was in the middle of a truly urban area. There was a lot of ivy everywhere, which was different compared to the plant life in my home. Alexandra Palace was also gorgeous too and the pub on the inside had the most wonderful pub food. We had fries, onion rings, chicken, and fried calamari, which was phenomenal. During the time that we were there, there was a championship darts game and schedules for more concerts and events, which was something I would have loved to see if we had had more time.
Day Three: I was fortunate enough to spend New Year’s Eve in London, which was exceptionally fun. We had a small party, with my dad and I, our friends and their friends including a Norwegian family and a girl from Pittsburgh. For dinner we had personal pizzas, which we made from scratch and it was so amazing. We listened to music, our friends played an electric guitar, lit sparklers outside, and it was absolutely fantastic. When the clock chimed in the new year, we were on the rooftop of their house and got to watch the most phenomenal fireworks ever. The whole skyline was lit up. I think this has been one of my best New Year’s Eve to date.
Day Four: On the first day of 2017, I got to go to a Premier League soccer match with my favorite team, Arsenal, and Crystal Palace. It was so exciting and the largest event I have ever been to. People were so excited and there was tons of cheering and excitement for Arsenal. Olivier Giroud also scored the Goal of 2017, a beautiful scorpion kick. Afterwards, we went underneath the stadium to eat dinner with some of the staff and families of Arsenal, which was super tasty (I got to try lamb for the first time!) and then walk out onto the pitch, which was amazing.
Day Five: My dad and I got to explore more of London’s sights, from the London Tower to Buckingham Palace to the Shard. My favorite was probably watching the changing of the guard, which was unlike anything I had seen before. It was so pompous, but also mesmerizing. We also got to explore St. James Park, which was full of all sorts of birds. I had never seen swans before either, so that was cool!
Day Six: We took the train from Waterloo to Bournemouth, where we were attending another game. I loved seeing the English Channel, especially since France was just across the water. The game we watched was Arsenal versus Bournemouth, which was absolutely hilarious. The cheers of the fans were vulgar and entertaining and it overall had a more personal atmosphere than the first game did. Taking the train was fun, since I hadn’t been on one since my town did a tour of the area via train when I was really little.
Overall, this entire trip was super fun and gave me a lot of new experiences that I won’t forget. The culture and beauty of London and England in general is unmatched compared to places I have been before. There was so much to do and see, which I absolutely loved. In the least, I can certainly say that I want to go back some day.