Travel & Trips

The London Travels – Part 1: The Graduation Trip

Since I have been to London multiple times now, also because my sister lives there as well, I decided to write about my different travels to this amazing city! London is the capital of England and it is only a 45 minute flight away from Amsterdam. Since I also live quite close to Amsterdam, it is not a long travel for me.

View on the London Eye from Victoria Embankment

The London Travels: Part 1 takes me back to 2006, my highschool graduation trip. It was the first time I went to London and I was 16 years old.  This was also the first time I went on a trip to a different country without my parents. This graduation trip from highschool, was an amazing city trip: seeing all the highlights from London, went to two musicals and every night ended with lots of bear in our hostel in Kensal Green! 😀 

Lets see if I can remember everything as it was! It was the time I didn’t even had a proper camera, so my pictures are very limited. I had an old fashioned camera, not digital, and lots of my pictures taken by night unfortunately failed. 

Our journey started on Wednesday 29th March 2006 in my hometown Hoorn.  I remember I actually had school in the morning! 2 hours of math before going home again and get my stuff! Ridiculous! We left school around midday by bus and drove to a place called Hoek van Holland. From this point we went to Harwich by boat with the Stena Line. It was a four-hour journey on a lovely ferry with a cinema, a casino and a big restaurant with lounge area. We actually went to cinema and saw the film Casanova with Heath Ledger in  the lead role! Keep in mind that seeing a movie on a boat is not something everybody can endure. When I stood up after almost 2 hours, I walked like I was drunk! Hilarious film though. From Harwich we took the bus to London, and that was quite the adventure! For the first time I experienced how it was to drive on the other side of the road. By the time we arrived in London it was already quite dark, but our teachers thought it was a good idea for a walk.

 

The quality is not that good, but we all can see the first picture is the London Eye and the second picture is from the Big Ben, the big clock at the Palace of Westminster! It was cold and a bit rainy, as a stand correctly, but the first time seeing these two amazing buildings was quite impressive! After our stroll along the Themes, we went to our hostel in Kensal Green. It wasn’t that interesting but at least we could eat, sleep and drink (a lot).

On day two we would actually go into the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames. The London Eye is also known as the Millennium Wheel and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the rotation. It was quite a long time and you didn’t even notice you were moving. The highest point is on 135 meters, but unfortunately it was not that good weather for the best view. It was really gray but at least I good make a nice picture of all the building standing along the Themes. Still not sure what it is what I had pictured tough…

View from the London Eye

But I was able to make some pictures of a very fascinating ‘museum’. Back in school we could choose from a few sight seeings. Out of The London Dungeon, the football station of Chelsea, I chose to go to The London Tower. Our history teacher was telling us all kind of interesting things, but at that age I wasn’t that interested in listening to teachers. I experience the Tower with my friend on our own way! We saw the crown jewels, the suits for combat and just walked our way trough history. Recently I went to see the Tower again, but that comes in an other post!

The London Tower

After our lesson in English history, we somehow went to Leicester Square. As the teenagers we were, we decided to eat a pizza at – how originally – Pizza Hut! Very tasty after a long long day! And the day wasn’t even over yet! With the entire group we went to the Dominion Theatre to see the musical We Will Rock You!! That was really amazing! We had very good seats and the music of Queen was – of course – amazing! We all sang along at some point, how brilliant was that 🙂 And this was not the only musical I’ve seen! On the third day we could also chose some activity, I think it was a ghost tour, but me and friends went to one of the most amazing and classic musicals of all time: Les Miserables

This was on the same day we went to see Buckingham Palace, Harrods and Notting Hill. We saw the change of the guards, but since it was very crowded I didn’t really see anything. So my attention was already gone and I was very hungry! For the rest of the day went shopping – without buying – in Harrods and Notting Hill.  Can you imagine how exhausting it was? A long journey and some sight seeings on the first day, more sight seeings on the second and third day. Combine this with short nights due to alcohol in our very doubtful hostel. And then the best was yet to come: The musical Les Miserables in the Queens Theater. We didn’t have good seats, actually they were terrible! It was cold and you couldn’t even see the stage very well! On top of that, I fell asleep 😦 I woke when I heard the song ‘On My Own’. I recognized it since my sister use the sing it very often. I really should see the musical some other time!

After a long day and last night in our hostel, we had to pack our bags and left London. But not before going to Greenwich! To get there we first went to Westminster Pier to take a ferry. In Greenwich we went uphill to the Meridian Line and we enjoyed the view. Afterwards I had a very English breakfast in some café in Greenwich Park, which was very tasty, and went to see the cute gray squirrels. 

Greenwich; view on Old Royal Naval College & Canary Wharf

I do not remember everything that well. I know I have been to Covent Garden as well, but how and when? Luckily London is not that far away and since 2006 I’ve revisited most of these places again which you will read in my next posts! 

Next time in The London Travels: Part 2, you will read about the first time I flew alone and how I experienced a lot the sight seeings again!

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