I had never been in England before. Rarely had I ever travelled without my parents in the past either. Yet both these situations somehow came together in my trip to London this summer with my brother. There, we played the roles of typical tourists, oohing and aahing at sights that the locals passed every day and no longer found spectacular. Although the trip lasted 3 days, I find that it is best to talk about the one uncharacteristically bright London summer day which will go down in my memory as unforgettable.
QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Our first activity of the day was a somewhat unique one. We left our aunt’s house in Woodford (were we stayed for the duration of our trip) and took the train (more on that later) to the Queensway station where we embarked on the Royal London bike tour, through a company called Fat Tire Bike Tours to see sights such as Buckingham Palace, home to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Westminster Abbey, the site of a certain Royal Wedding, and Big Ben, quite possibly the most iconic clock in the world.
However it was after the tour when things took a spontaneous turn for the incredible. In this already unbelievable context, incredible was taking a impromptu trip to Wimbledon, where coincidentally the Wimbledon Championships were going on. It had always been a dream of mine to go and watch this sporting spectacle.
However, in the slightly changed words of Boromir from “Tthe Lord of the Rings,” one does not simply get tickets to Wimbledon. The process of getting Wimbledon tickets is, in essence, a raffle, months before the actual tournament. Thus, there was no point going about ticket procurement in this manner in the middle of July. But sometimes, you get lucky. In other words, sometimes you will step off the Southfields train station (the station closest to the Wimbledon park), find a man reselling his Wimbledon Court 1 ticket, and find that you have just the right amount of pounds to purchase it. Then, as I did, you will walk triumphantly towards the stadium, in awe of the majestic green grass courts as well as the fabled Centre Court, and proceed to act like a kid in a candy shop as you watch the Williams sisters make a 2 set comeback to guarantee their spot in the Wimbledon Double’s Finals.
For bonus fun, you will join the crowd on the Henman Hill and watch the best British tennis player, Andy Murray, make it to the Wimbledon Finals, marking the first time a Brit has done so in 76 years. You will then look back on that day and realize that you yourself can’t believe what you just did.
The fact that the title of this blog has nothing to do with Wimbledon or palaces is a testament to the importance of the Underground Train system in making my trip a success. By buying one all-day train pass, I was able to travel from one side of London to another. This system facilitated my spontaneous decision to venture to Wimbledon, which led to some of the most spectacular 5 hours of my life. If you choose to travel to London, rest assured that thanks to these brilliant chaps, transportation will be the least of your worries. Instead, you will face the delightful dilemma of figuring out what you will do in your stay in one of the most unbelievably diverse, historic, and unique cities in the world.
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