I am going back in time for this blog, as I began the overview of our incredible trip to Europe with Paris since it was the overwhelming favorite of the three cities we visited. However, London was magnificent as well, and especially since this was our first stop, its impact was rather powerful.
Perhaps one of the city's features I found the most astounding was its architecture. For an American who rarely encounters buildings of such grand proportions, it was quite a shock to be surrounded, on every block, by the extremely large, historic, and elegant examples of London's architecture. It is a feeling one must become accustomed to, to be immersed in history when taking a simple stroll to the grocery store. I found that I could not walk along the street without gazing up every few feet to admire a giant library or government building. While it sometimes made me extremely conscious of feeling like a tourist, I do hope the people of London never take for granted the magnificence of their city.
We visited some amazing places! In addition to Big Ben, Buckingham, Kensington Palace and Gardens, and of all things, the British Film Museum, we spent an entire day at the Tower of London, which was a very crowded and exciting place. History has always been one of my passions, so the museum inside the main tower, which displayed everything from 300-year-old armor to 800-year-old checker pieces, entertained me for hours. I think perhaps my favorite outing, however, was our visit to the lovely neighborhood of Chelsea to see friends. The rows of houses looked as if they had come right out of a scene from Mary Poppins, and it was there that I got the chance to ride at the very top and very front of one of the red double-decker buses!
Something that caught my attention was the tidiness of London. I learned that posting things like flyers and brochures on lampposts, walls, and in other public places is not allowed because this is considered "littering the city." There are recycling bins on every block, and the garbage bins are often the size of mailboxes. The cars are small, and the "undergrounds" are extremely efficient and clean.
What a wonderful example of preservation, not only of history and the past, but of the things of the present as well. After all, isn't it the present which dictates the future?
All for now. Berlin will be coming soon!