I’m a huge England enthusiast. Once I arrived in London, my first visit was to the Parliament Buildings and London Eye, the larger-than-life Ferris wheel.
A postcard brought to life.
BY PHILL FELTHAM
“London is not a very eventful city” or “there is nothing to see in London.” Many of my friends echoed these sentiments before I left, but I didn’t believe them. England was a country that I had wanted to visit for almost ten years—and I wouldn’t be denied.
Among my travels overseas so far, my greatest experiences were in England. The anticipation began at the airport. I checked my bags, went through security, and performed all other routine airport procedures. The seven-hour flight didn’t phase me that much, because I slept for most of it.
When the airplane touched the ground, the kid on Christmas morning woke up. There had to be a way to push through the crowd of people waiting in line to exit the plane. Alas, I had waited a decade for my first European adventure, might as well wait a few extra minutes.
When my feet touched English soil, I began taking pictures immediately. I took a picture of my foot to capture my first step in England on camera. Some people might call this odd. My traveling buddy Tim called it, “weird and sentimental.” I said, “Amen.” The pictures continued from the Gatwick Express–the train was a brilliant bright red–to Victoria tube station. In London, the subway is called “the tube.”
Tim was a first-time traveler. So, he like me, was excited about everything: the clouds beneath the plane during the flight, the difference in time zones–except for the ear torture going up and down in the plane. I’m not a big fan of that either.
We checked our luggage into a nearby bed and breakfast, and then went to Westminster tube station to begin touring the area on foot. The images I have only seen on postcards came to life once we walked through the tube station exit.
My first live-in-living-color image was the London Eye, the larger-than-life Ferris wheel. The London Eye is a recent addition–built in 1999–to London. Tim and I took pictures, but we didn’t get a chance to go up on to the huge Ferris wheel until our fifth day in the city. Some of the best views of London can be caught from the London Eye.
I turned my head and saw the Houses of Parliament, and the world-famous clock, Big Ben. Big Ben is a 13-ton bell, named after Benjamin Hall, an English pioneer who commissioned the tower for completion in 1858. The best view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament is on the eastern side of Lambeth Bridge. Unfortunately, entry into Big Ben is barred off by a big black ugly fence–that’s unless you’re a government employee.
Even the greatest picture cannot replace the experience of seeing these sites–particularly Big Ben–in person. Our trip in London has officially begun. iT!
Phill Feltham is the Publisher of The Weekly Wanderer. He’s traveled across Asia and, most recently, started traveling Europe.