A Day Trip to London
I had been looking forward to the day trip to London since I knew about it and now the day had finally arrived. After a one-week vacation in 2013 to this beautiful city, I had been missing it ever since and was super psyched to be able to go there again. I didn’t have many plans on where to go and what to see, but I knew I wanted to see the Southbank Skatepark near the London Eye again and walk along the River Thames.
Luckily, the drive from Canterbury to London didn’t take long at all and I could see the “Gherkin”, (the 30 St Mary Axe) and the O2 arena pretty soon. When we arrived at London, near the underground station St. Paul’s, I didn’t quite know yet with whom I would walk around the city and I spontaneously decided to go with a group that wanted to do a free tour around the City of Westminster. We started our way on the underground and went to Oxford Circus, because the tour started near the Covent Garden Market. After the tour guide had presented herself for like half an hour and she proceeded to talk about the “meaningful” and “interesting” history of certain buildings and places I had all seen before, I decided to leave the group and look for someone else to walk around with. I called the people from my flat in Canterbury and made my way to Westminster Abbey, where they had told me they would be. The way to Westminster Abbey was one of the highlights of my day, because it was an incredible feeling to walk around this global city all alone and to be able to stop and look wherever I wanted to without having to think about anyone who might be waiting for me or might get bored if I take too long to listen to a street musician or anything like that. I even thought about spending the rest of the day alone but then I thought it would be safer in a group.
After I had taken a little break and eaten on the grass in front of Westminster Abbey, my flatmates called to tell me they had arrived and together we went towards Buckingham Palace, which was quite convenient since I wanted to go to a store in that direction. After we had walked through London and seen the Queen’s residence, we made our way to the store I absolutely didn’t want to miss: Victoria’s Secret.
Inside the store, I felt like I had to hurry a lot, because not everyone from our group was naturally interested in girls’ underwear (we had a man with us), but when I met a few other girls from the excursion, I decided to switch to their group again and stay at the store with them, so my flatmates could carry on sightseeing and walking through London while us girls would shop for a while. This turned out to be a great decision, because we had a lot of fun together and the best part was, that we had similar interests, so no one felt left out or neglected when we were “only” shopping or looking for something to eat.
But after we had found something at Victoria’s Secret and something to eat, we had a little time left and I suggested, we could take the underground to Embankment and take a walk at the promenade of the River Thames and look at the Southbank Skatepark which is actually my favourite spot in London. It was already twilight when we arrived, so the lights everywhere were on and it was an amazing atmosphere.
We made our way from Embankment across the River Thames, past the London Eye to the skate park and when I finally saw this beautiful place again, I was stunned. All the graffiti had changed and it looked completely different yet still the same. There were skaters and BMX bikers and all sorts of people hanging around and with the night setting in, it was just incredible. What I love most about the place is the creativity you can basically sense from afar. There are so many different people that all come together to do what they love and that is what makes this place so special. When I had been there in 2013, there was an ongoing campaign to save the undercroft of the Southbank Centre, because someone had had the glorious idea to tear down the place and make it a shopping centre, but since there are people coming there everyday from all over the world and actually calling this place home, they started a petition and collected supporters, such as tourists like me, and actually managed to save their home from becoming yet another shopping centre in London. This spirit and engagement that is put into the undercroft every single day to preserve it is what makes it so magical to me.
Now back to the day in London. We didn’t have that much time to spend at the skate park as I would have wished for, but we sat down for a few minutes and I just enjoyed the atmosphere. Before we had to leave for the Coach back at St. Paul’s, we took a few photos together and I took a dozen ones from the undercroft and the city lights all around it. When we made our way back, we thought we would try to walk to the underground station Waterloo, where none of us had been before (well I had been there but that was like five years ago) and we soon discovered that trying to find an underground station, if you don’t know where it is, is not such a good idea if you only have a quarter of an hour left. We then asked our way to the station and finally found it so we could take the tube back to St. Paul’s and even had five minutes to walk (or run actually) from the station to the coach.
When we were all back in the coach and left London again, I was extremely happy and exhausted. I had seen everything I wanted to see and been everywhere I wanted to go and could not wait to just go to bed and sleep.