• Joelle Otterstedt

First Train Ride (To London)

After my last class yesterday, Braden and I got a quick bite to eat and walked to the train station. Neither one of us had ever been on a train before and we had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t nervous until we got there and then I was suddenly really scared to go on the train. I think I was just nervous because I felt so bad on the plane, and didn’t want trains to make me feel the same way.

I was shocked by how easy it was to get on the train. There was no security, no lines, and nobody even checking if we had a ticket before getting on the train. We found our seats, but quickly switched to a couple of the other empty ones so we could face forward. Within a couple minutes, I heard someone say “anything from the trolley”. I turned around and there was somebody pushing a cart with food and drinks down the aisle. I honestly thought that was something they just said in Harry Potter. Hearing that made my day. It also eased my nerves a little bit.

We got to London around 8:00, but couldn’t check into our Airbnb until about 11:15, because our hosts were going to be out at a Madonna concert. It was a little inconvenient, but not too bad for booking last minute. We found a really fancy movie theater, and watched Pretty Women. We thought that would be better than randomly wandering the streets of a new city, at night and with all of our stuff. We left the movie around 11:00, and struggled to find and get into our Airbnb. According to google maps it was only about a 7-minute walk, which ended up putting us in the middle of a creepy alley way. Google maps was wrong and we eventually (about 45 minutes later) figured out how to get into our Airbnb. Luckily, it wasn't in the alley way.

The next morning we woke up and ate a quick breakfast in our room before heading to The Westminster Abbey. Every time I see something new I say “this is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen”. I’ve said that a lot in the last couple weeks, but I honestly don’t know if anything is going to beat Westminster Abbey. The architecture, art, and history in that building is just unbelievable. We walked around for about an hour trying to take it all in. I knew it would be a beautiful building, but I had no idea how much history could be in one place. There were tombs all over the place where all of the most important people had been buried for hundreds of years. It felt wrong to step on the areas of the floor that were memorials, but in certain parts it was impossible to avoid. There were just so many. I decided we should pay 5 extra pounds to go up to a gallery. It was definitely worth it. There were old prayer books, swords, silver platters, and paintings. Most of the things up there were hundreds of years old. It also gave the best view of the Westminster Abbey. We could look down over the entire thing.

After Westminster Abbey, we headed to a café for a bite to eat. Then we started our walk to Buckingham Palace. I knew there would be guards out front, but it was definitely a little intimidating to see people holding giant guns a few feet away from me. We went into another gallery there. Everything in the gallery is so beautiful, it doesn’t even seem real to me. It all looked like props from a movie.

We then walked along the river toward Big Ben, only to find out it was under construction and you couldn’t actually see it. We kept going to see the London eye. Neither one of us wanted to ride it, but we figured we at least had to see it and get a few pictures. By this point in the day we were starting to get tired, so we started the walk back toward the apartment. We stopped at a grocery store on the way back, and got stuff for simple sandwiches for dinner. We rested for a couple hours then headed to an area we walked through the night before. The street had a bunch of fancy and interesting looking shops. We looked in those for a while before heading back and calling it a night. We walked about 12 miles today. Being a tourist is exhausting, but 1000% worth it.

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