My first time to Europe was when I was a wee eight-year old lassie. We were headed to Italy where we would spend two weeks, but first we stopped by London for two days because…well, London.
I was too young to fully appreciate all of London’s magic, like the history, the ancient streets, the Tower, Westminster’s Abby, Trafalgar Square, and the British accent, but I was mature enough to remember Windsor Castle, our time in a double decker bus, and a cruise on the Thames.
I also remember my feet hurting a lot.
I know, I know. Windsor Castle is in Windsor, not London. But little me didn’t know that.
We took off for Windsor right when we landed, storing our luggage in the airport. I tried to stay awake during the bus ride, but jet lag won me over and I napped the whole way. At the castle, I snapped awake, for obvious reasons. We were seeing a real, live, castle!
It was everything I had expected and more. Classic stone walls overlooking forest gardens, beautiful grand rooms inside with luxurious furniture and gold trim. I marched around excitedly, all my jet lag fatigue completely vanished. Micah wasn’t so thrilled as we went around and around the castle, but when we were within sight of the gates and I stopped – again – he had enough.
He squatted down, Vietnamese style. Something like this.
And why had I stopped? Because of the British royal guards! So still, so solemn. I wondered what they would do if a bee landed on them, or if I tried to make them laugh. Most of all I wondered how they did it, how they wore such funny looking hats without even a twinkle in their eyes.
Fast forward to London and red double decker buses. My experience in one was rather deflating. Crowded would be an understatement. Everyone wanted to climb the tiny, narrow steps to the top. Everyone was cramming a poor eight year old girl against the walls. Everyone was giving me dirty looks.
So I spent the entire bus ride getting squished in the stairwell, but by the end of it, I was fed up with everyone and everything and only wanted out.
Ah, yes. The cruise on the Thames. Quite embarrassingly, Papa asked me in a video what famous river flowed underneath the famous Tower Bridge, and I confidently answered, “I don’t know.” To my credit, he asked what was the famous river in Rome, and I knew it was the Tiber. So there.
I spent the entirety of the cruise staring at the beautiful Tower Bridge, which is not the London Bridge, as I had thought. But who cares about the name? It was just as magnificent, just as eye catching, just as British.
The London Eye and Westminster Abbey didn’t go completely unnoticed. Just…mostly, unnoticed.
Well, there you have it! My nostalgic memories of my first time in England. Perhaps one day I’ll visit again, and recall with more vividness the magic of the United Kingdom. Even Disney can’t beat it!
Enjoy a photo collage of our adventure. If you feel so inclined to see all the finer details, a click on any of the photos will enlarge it.