We were very excited for our London trip. As soon as we were settled in our hotel, we went out to discover the city. When we get off the tube at Westminster, the famous Big Ben was just in front of us. Most people think that ‘Big Ben’ is the name of the tower, but I have learned that it is actually the name of the big bell in the tower. The tower was named the ‘Elisabeth Tower’ in 2012, which was built in 1856 and is a part of the parliament building.
We continued our walk on parliament street Whitehall, among many statues. When we entered the garden of a building, we realized that it was Horse Guards Parade and the big park that ran alongside it was one of the oldest royal parks, St. James. It was the first time I saw those deck chairs that we would run into in most parks in the following days. It was possible to rent them for a reasonable price – £1.50 for up to one hour, £4 for up to 3 hours, £7 for all day, or £100 for the whole year, which may be reasonable for those who live in London and want to use the chairs often.
After a short coffee break, we walked through Trafalgar Square and arrived at the Thames. The Iconic London Eye seemed very attractive. I was a bit unsure about getting a ride on it, since I am afraid of heights, but Barış convinced me about how safe it was and how beautiful the view waiting for us up there would be.
The ticket queue for London Eye was extremely long. Luckily we realized that there was also a “Fast Track” queue, where you pay more and get into a quicker lane. Although I always support equal treatment, I found this useful for people who don’t have much time to spend in London, and can prioritize a London Eye ride over eating an expensive dinner.
The London Eye is 135 meters high, and the view at the top is incredible. Especially for me who has no sense of navigation, it was a great experience to see London from above, from our hotel to the regions we had been to. There are 32 booths on the wheel, and each can take 25 people at a time. This helps a lot of people enjoy the view at the same time.
After this nice experience we discovered the South Bank. Waterloo Station was very interesting in this region. The station was built in 1922 and the first rails were built in 1848, and now more than 90 million people travel on it every year.
On our very first day in London, we had the urge to discover the whole city. In the evening we went to Soho, where was full of nice bars and restaurants. Seeing the increasing crowds made us very happy since we are not used to that in Sweden. People were enjoying their drinks outside the bars and they all seemed very happy and friendly (or maybe everything looked extra nice since we were on vacation).
Our first day was over, and we were very satisfied with London.