Good afternoon, my lovely friends!
I hope summer is treating you all well. I am here to keep my promise and discuss the ins and outs of my time abroad this summer. I have been changed forever, and for the better. It was the best month of my entire life, and it was one heck of a good time.
All the pictures you are about to see and stories you are about to hear belong to yours truly, and as such, please cite this post if you intend to use these pictures in the future.
Thanks much 😉
This is part one of a blog project I’m working on called The Europe Chronicles. It is exactly how it sounds: my chronicling of our time in Europe. For you all to enjoy and for me to get nostalgic over. Oh Lord, I miss England.
This post will be about London exclusively. I’m planning on writing two more of these: one for my trip to Paris, and another for my two weeks of study at Oxford.
But this one is about London.
So here we go.
London was a whole new world for me. The culture is much different from that of America, and there were a few times I did a double take on certain British norms. Nevertheless, adjusting to a new culture was apart of the whole experience, and my family and I learned to ride the tube like bosses by the end of our twelve days in London.
I think what I loved most about London was the history. The city itself was much like any other major metropolis, and it reminded me of New York City. I found it undoubtedly cleaner than New York, but still very busy and rush-rush.
I actually took a photo of how cramped it was during rush hour at St. Paul’s central station; people were literally pressed up against the windows like sardines in a can! It smelled like a can of sardines, too. 😳
People are more inclined to push their way into the Underground than offer you their seat. I was expecting all these polite, smiley, British people uttering sorries and pardons every few minutes, but the reality of it was a lot different. Hilariously.
Not to generalize, people. There were plenty of pleasant, courteous people in London, but when you’re squeezing onto the Tube at rush hour, it’s every man for himself! This sarcastic list of Underground rules on Esquire is hysterically accurate.
My favorite sights during my time in London were The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The Thames River Cruise, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and The British Museum. Hampton Court Palace is technically my number one favorite, but it wasn’t in London…it was in East Molesey. I’ll still include it here. The British Library and The National Gallery were amazing sights, too, but we weren’t able to spend as much time inside of those.
I’ll just put forward my top three 😉
No pictures were allowed inside, and I didn’t want to try and sneak a few…people got called out left and right! In short, Westminster Abbey was an absolutely breathtaking Gothic cathedral built nearly a thousand years ago (built in c. 1090).
Inside we found the resting places of so many British giants: Charles Dickens, David Livingstone, Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV, Henry V, and Edward the Black Prince.
It was unreal.
The architecture was mind blowing, the stained glass windows were immense, and the aisle where all the kings and queens have walked for the weddings/coronations was spectacular. I honestly wish I had photos of the inside, but I guess that keeps it a surprise for when you lovely readers go to England. 😉
Isn’t it remarkable?
The Tower of London
This was, by far, my favorite sight in London. It was incredibly medieval, and seeing the crown jewels was definitely a highlight. The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror in 1066, so this too is nearly a thousand years old.
“Take him to the tower” essentially meant this place.
And the medieval scare factor was so unbelievably real.
I really enjoyed seeing the bedrooms of England’s ancient kings, the lawn where Anne Boleyn was beheaded, the “Traitor’s Gate” where enemies of the country would be brought in for their imprisonment, and the “Bloody Tower” where the young royal princes Edward V and his brother were murdered by their uncle Richard III.
If you look closely on the above picture, you can see the words “entry to the traitor’s gate,” and that’s actually where the boats would sail in to the tower carrying the accused: through the Traitor’s Gate.
And, of course, the crown jewels vault was the highlight. I felt like Moriarty from The Reichenbach Fall, except the actual vault where the jewels are kept is different from where they actually filmed it for Sherlock…sadly.
Nevertheless, the royal scepters, orbs, and crowns used for nearly a thousand years of England’s monarchy were dazzling and stunning to see.
Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in there for security reasons, and after Moriarty broke in, I honestly don’t blame them. 😛
It was a remarkable place and my personal favorite medieval site in all of London.
Hampton Court Palace
This was my favorite favorite favorite medieval site during my stay in London, but it wasn’t actually in London. We had to take the train quite a distance to get to Hampton Court Palace, which was actually in East Molesey, about an hour and fifteen minutes by Overground (train) from London.
This palace was built originally for Cardinal Wolsey, who was one of Henry VIII’s favorite people. It was never supposed to be fit for a king. Nevertheless, Henry got the castle and he lived there with his six wives. The palace’s website gives quite an interesting history of the palace…one that is much to lengthy to write here.
The halls we walked within were the same as those trodden by Henry VIII and his wives: Jane Seymour, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard, Jane Grey, Anne of Cleves, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine Parr.
That’s the wrong order, but eh: what the heck.
There’s even a corridor inside where Catherine Howard had run through crying for mercy when she learned she was going to be beheaded. Even recent sources say that the corridor (known as The Haunted Gallery) is still haunted by Howard’s ghost. Walking down it was eerie, especially knowing all the recent haunts and spooks that have been happening there since medieval times.
But, enough talk.
Time for photos!
I don’t think these next few photos need my blog’s name on them since I am actually in them…
Whewf! So, that was a lot of pictures, but it doesn’t even begin to describe how amazing Hampton Court was. In fact, I’m feeling a bit upset at not having given it enough justice. I wish I had gotten more pictures inside. This thing was massive and the amount of chambers, bedrooms, and chapels inside is immense. Everything is so medieval.
Also, I might add that the palace has a Baroque side, as a good chunk of the palace was added by Charles II. So there’s one side of the palace that screams dark ages, and another side that screams Baroque architecture and Roman iconography.
It’s so fun.
I cannot stress this enough, my lovelies: if you ever go to England, Hampton Court Palace IS A MUST. Especially if you’re a European history geek like I am and/or are obsessed with the Tudor era.
It’s a magical place full of spooky stories and insane people.
I loved it way too much 😛
And before I sign off, here’s some lovely photos from around London:
True story: Big Ben is under construction right now, so it looks like this. Yay.
That was fun, eh?
Well, my friends, here ends my first installment in The Europe Chronicles! I hope you’ve enjoyed this first chapter. More to come, I assure you!
Oh, and I will probably be uploading my next chapter in the Adlock fanfiction before the next Europe post, just because these take a lot of time to make.
Speaking of which, if you enjoyed this, please like this post, share it, comment below on what you think, and make sure you follow so you can get all my latest posts in your inbox. I edited all these pics and spent a lot of time on it, so your feedback is *highly* appreciated 😉
Thanks for reading, my lovely friends!
More to come soon!