I’d never been across the sea before. A long while ago I went up to Alaska on a cruise, but even so, I never even left the U.S. except for a layover in Vancouver. I was, in a word, terrified. Leaving home was always tough for me, but knowing that I was to spend 10 hours aboard a plane flying over a huge expanse of water, held up by nothing but air, would put off ANY child of 13. However, on the plane, they had a TV screen for every chair, and as such, I plugged in and watched 8 episodes of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ and the movie ‘Jersey Girl.’
When we landed in Heathrow Airport, we had been up for about 22 hours. Everyone, including my parents, was tired and grouchy from the trip. We took a train to Bath, our first destination. Upon arriving an hour later, we proceeded to wander around in confusion, trying to find the bed breakfast we were to stay at, a place called the Holiday Villa.
After more than another hour of walking around, we finally found the place, and slept for several hours upon entering. In Bath we saw the Roman baths for which the town was named, as well as the cathedral. All of this was so much older than anything in America, and it amazed me to no end. After Bath, we stopped at a place called Warwick Castle for the day, and toured an ancient fortress which (probably fabricated for tourist pleasure) was a bastion against evil forces in many wars.
After experiencing the Medieval Era, we moved to Edinburgh, and toured the capital of Scotland. We walked down the Royal Mile, a main street that led straight to Edinburgh Castle, the occasional residence of the queen. We also climbed up to a peak called Arthur’s Seat in the pouring rain, and looked over all of Edinburgh, covered in mist.
Finally, after eating a delicious Indian dinner, Rick Steves, the author of the most popular European travel guides, came in. We gave the restaurant a very good word, and the manager gave us 10 pounds off our dinner!
After passing through several small Scottish villages and towns, I fell asleep. When I woke again, I saw a road sign in a strange, archaic language. Afraid we had gone somewhere we truly shouldn’t have, I proceeded to ask where we were. ‘Wales,’ was the concise reply. Fascinated with the peculiar double language of Welsh, I took my time as we went through the castles and saw the sights of Conway, Wales.
However, we only stayed one day, and left for London the next.Upon arriving in London, I realized that its size as a city dwarfed Sacramento, perhaps even being slightly larger than Los Angeles! It had tube stations that connected all parts of the city, and huge screens that one always imagines seeing on the street when he or she tours New York City. The city and its cultural diversity amazed me, as well as the number of people that walked where they wanted to go (and also the number of people who ignored the street signals). We toured around for a while, seeing the London Eye, a gigantic ferris wheel, the London Tower, a very famous tourist attraction, and the Museum of London.
The museum was entirely free, and had some of the most amazing artifacts I had ever seen, not to mention the most famous. When I went on this trip, I never imagined I would see the famous Rosetta Stone! Also, there was an interesting feature at the time, in which Ian McKellen (a favorite actor of mine) described the process in which the lives and deaths of mummies are decoded and discovered. It was enlightening, but I certainly saw it more for the actor than the subject matter.
After the museum we went up into the Parlaiment building, and watched an actual debate go on. By that time, it was getting late on our last night in Europe. In the morning, we headed to Paddington station, and I saw the place where ‘Platform Nine and Three Quarters’ would have been, had Harry Potter existed. We took a train to Heathrow, and headed straight back across the Atlantic.We returned home safely, with little difficulty, and with less difficulty finding our home than the BB in Bath. However, there was only one problem. With all the excitement of the trip, and all the memories of the places I had been to, it still eludes me to this day whether or not there were TVs on the plane back.
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