Eyes on London - My Family Travels

 As we sat on our first train of the London Underground, my cousin and I stared out the window in awe of this giant structure in front of us.  Dozens of people were riding on it and the line was long.  I was lost in the sight until my cousin screamed out, “Look!  A Ferris Wheel!”  

“No, Allie, that’s the London Eye,” my mother said.  I rolled my eyes.  

“We’re going there, right Mom?”  I asked.  Of course we were.  It was a foggy evening–go figure–but the bright lights penetrated through the thick clouds.  Naturally, as soon as we got off the subway, it started to rain.  It wasn’t stopping us though, especially since it had dispersed the line a little bit.

The view from the Eye was beautiful–we could see the Parliament buildings and Big Ben along the London skyline.  I didn’t want to get out when we reached the bottom again.  But we had to eat, so we figured we’d stop at the Chinese Buffet across the street (who on their sign told us that “they did not accept credit cards, sorry for the incontinence”). 

At night, we went back to our room at the Marble Arch Marriot.  The TV screen was quite interesting; it welcomed my mother by name.  Far more polite than any television I’d ever encountered in America.

The next day we made our way to Buckingham Palace.  I finally got to see one of those British soldiers with the awesome hats.  I dared Allie to flirt with him, but she wouldn’t do it.  Frankly, he was so still that we weren’t even sure he’d respond if we asked him where the bathroom was.

My mother spotted the Union Jack on top of the Palace.  She told me that it meant that the Queen was not presently there.  That was all well and good, but what I noticed on the roof were a couple of people!  I wasn’t sure if they were taking a picture, or keeping guard, but I hoped they’d be careful.

In the next couple of days, my mother and I went to Wimbledon, where I got so close to Venus Williams I could see the sweat drip down her face.  I’ve never been so excited and grossed out at the same time.  Meanwhile, my father and cousin went to a concert with various acts including Lily Allen and Fergie (Allie said she sang her song “London Bridge”; how appropriate!).  Unfortunately, my cousin broke my camera at that concert and I was left without pictures for the rest of the trip.

One thing about England that didn’t impress me was the cuisine.  Fish and chips does get old after a while, and isn’t particularly good for the waistline, so we tried having some burgers at a pub one night.  Let’s just say they were not to our taste.  However, our hotel was in an area that had a vast Indian population, and some of their restaurants smelled delicious!  If I were to go back, I’d definitely try some of that, as well as other international dining.  

Most of all, though, I miss the Underground.  From the first ride we took upon arriving at Heathrow, I had loved the simplicity.  “Mind the gap.”  Much tidier than when our New York subways say “When exiting, please watch the gap between the train and the platform.”  I took that train several times each day and got very used to it.  I must say, the transportation system of London is spot on.

I highly recommend this trip to everyone!

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