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.
Honestly, I should have created these posts much closer to when I arrived home, but here I am, two years later, writing about my experiences in London and Bournemouth. It was my first international trip after my arrival home from Tanzania. I went with my dad before departing to Italy alone, where I visited some fabulous family friends. London was also my first in depth city experience, since I have spent my life in a rural town with only 7,000 people in it. But what are my takeaways from such a drastically different experience?
London was a whirlwind of history, sights, new food, and an entirely different culture. Everywhere I looked I felt like I was experiencing something new and learning more about the world around me. The diversity was incredible and the amount of things to do and see awed me. To further this, London also felt very safe and friendly. The people were warm and welcoming and I had no issue with anyone. Additionally, everywhere was pretty clean and well maintained, especially the public transport systems.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to connect with many of the locals, but I was immersed in the day to day life. Our friends from the United States moved there and we were staying with them, so we got to do a lot of things that those who live there do, but I was unable to meet many people native to the area. However, those I met in passing were super sweet and kind!
The culture was something I hadn’t experienced before as well. Even though I was a fellow English speaker, British life has differences in comparison to here in the States. There is a broad appreciation of soccer, which I absolutely loved and the deep history and pride from that is something I wish we had in the US.
The food was also super good. I tried lamb and calamari for the first time, which was exciting and I liked both. I only had one bad food experience the whole trip, but it was only with a Cesar salad that tasted quite awful. This is a relatively small happening, but I also had my first Kinder Egg, which was super exciting since they are banned in my country. The pub atmosphere is incredible and fun, in which the drinks are good as well. I wish we could have seen a few more of the more traditional ones!
The buildings themselves also amazed me, since I was so unused to ancient or even old buildings. In my state, the oldest building was built in 1848, yet some of the ones in London are in the first century! On top of that, the architecture, both old and new, was astounding. I loved each style from over the centuries and am exciting to see what the future will bring.
The attractions were all I hoped and more. My personal favorite was the Tower Bridge and the Tower itself. I could go more into detail here, but for a better grasp of their beauty, I wrote a post on the most popular sights. I also thoroughly enjoyed the soccer games and their stadiums, which are quite impressive. They turned me into more of a fan than I was before and hopefully I can go back for a few more some day! We love you Arsenal!
I didn’t spend much time there, but I also enjoyed Bournemouth as well. This city lies on the coast of the English Channel and is quite beautiful. We were there for less than a day to watch a game but from what we saw, it seemed like a nice place. We walked from the train station to Dean’s Court to the coast, where we hung out and stood on the pier. Since it was the middle of January, things were awfully quiet, but it looked like a fantastic place to be in the summer. We ate at a nearby restaurant, which was super good, and walked to a hotel to meet up with our friend and the Arsenal team. After the game, we took the train back to London. I wish the visit was longer, but it was nice!
Overall, I had a fantastic time in England and hope to return some day. It was a beautiful place with beautiful people and is home to some of the most fantastic history. As this is my final post on England for now, I hope to be moving on to other places in Europe, but the UK will always have a dear spot in my heart.