Skupina sedmošolcev, osmošolcev in devetošolcev si je od 5. do 8.aprila 2013 privoščila potepanje po Londonu, odkrivanje njegovih lepot in znamenitosti ter doživela marsikaj zanimivega. Vas zanima, kaj?! O naših doživetjih lahko preberete v nadaljevanju … seveda v angleščini. Galerija slik
And finally our trip to London has started. We were at the Jože Pučnik airport all excited to finally board the plane.
It didn’t take us long to be flying in the clear blue sky above the white carpet of clouds. As for the welcome the clouds thinned and we could see the English Channel below us with tiny windmills of wind farms and after a while a beautiful panorama view of fields, rivers and tiny houses that became larger when we started to descend towards the airport.
London welcomed us with sunshine and cold wind, and our guide Tadej gave us a lot of information during the ride from the airport to the city. We were so excited. I thought that we were like Smurfs when they landed in New York.
In the dark the city shined in the sea of lights. Despite the cold wind, we enjoyed a magnificent view of the Tower of London and a walk across the famous Tower Bridge.
What an interesting building! On the right side next to the Tower bridge we saw an unusual City Hall, the headquarters of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
You seem to be very small under the Shard, a 72-storey and 309.6 metres high skyscraper, the tallest building in the UK and in the European Union.
We completed our first walk around the city, which despite the cold wind was full of people and life (our guide Tadej told us that London is the city that never sleeps) with the yummy dinner and settling down in our rooms.
Our second day in London began earlier than we would like, but since we were full of expectation and adrenaline nobody missed even a minute of sleep.
The underground train seemed to be simple to use on the map, but in fact it was a maze of corridors, passages, stairs, lines and stations. Without our guide we would most likely be lost.
The underground ride was a very interesting experience. We had a strange feeling of being like a human mole travelling around tunnels deep underground (underground has 5 levels). The underground train has 270 stations and 402 km of tracks, 45 % of which are underground.
Our first stop was Trafalgar Square. At its centre we could admire Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. On the north side of the square there is the National Gallery.
Of course we had to take pictures with or at the (for the tourists obviously very popular) lions, next to the fountain, in the square, with the famous telephone booths … Yes, we were like the Japanese tourists with our cameras.
In the morning we afforded a short dose of pleasure in the National Gallery. The National Gallery is a big and important art museum, which houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. Although we had little time for viewing, we found some of the most valuable paintings, guarded in its huge halls: Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Michelangelo’s The Entombment and The Manchester Madonna, Rembrandt’s Belshazzar’s Feast… Although we are not big fans, we felt a special respect and admiration of art while looking at those paintings. They survived time, its artists and will probably survive us too.
After a dose of art we invited ourselves to the Queen. Unfortunately the queen found out about our visit too late and she wasn’t at home, as we could see by the flag, which hang on Buckingham Palace.
Anyway we could admire the famous changing of the queen’s Guard.
We walked through the beautiful St. James’s Park full of unusual species of birds, huge old trees and brave squirrels that were fed by strollers.
After we visited Horse Guards Parade and – of course – took pictures with the queen’s guards, who were standing still as sculptures,
it was time for lunch at the restaurant Garfunkel’s – we could eat as much as we could. Pasta and pizza – just perfect.
We quickly spent calories while walking to the Covent garden market, where we admired interesting performances of street artists.
But there was much more exhausting adventure waiting for us – a climb to the Monument. It is the tallest isolated stone column in the world, 62 m tall, built in memory of the Great Fire in London in 1666. There are 311 steps leading to the top of the Monument.
Some of my friends were unpleasantly disappointed when they figured out that there was no lift and that our guide Tadej just had a little joke with them. But when we wheezed to the top, we agreed that the view was worth the effort.
And then we had to go down again –there were only 311 steps.
After such effort, we needed to take a break. And for many there was no better rest than shopping. We strolled around stalls and small shops enthusiastically on the colourful streets of the Camden town. After an hour we gathered again loaded with a few more bags and definitely less pounds.
In the afternoon we went to visit the Members of the Parliament. The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, which is often referred to by the name of its main bell, “Big Ben“, is the landmark of London. Of course, we listened to its ringing.
We also visited the Slovenian embassy (at least from the outside), so that Slovenian politicians wouldn’t be offended.
The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, the church in which English royal couples are getting married and in which, among other celebrities, Isac Newton is buried, was particularly interesting for the future celebrities among us. Who knows, maybe one day one of us will say that fatal »I do« in that building.
At the end of the day we peeked in on the Piccadilly Circus. Although the entertainment and performances in the West End for many Londoners were just beginning, we already felt every step that we walked throughout the day.
The way to the hotel appeared to be much longer than in the morning, in the underground train there were too many corridors, stairs and lines and when we finally arrived into our rooms, it was quite pleasant to lie down…
Our third day in London started with a visit to Greenwich, a UNESCO´s World Heritage Site. Our goal was the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. We walked through the park around the Old Royal Naval College.
past the National Maritime Museum,
and the Queen’s House (a former royal residence, built between 1616–1619),
through the Royal park, up to Blackheat hill.
At the top of the hill is the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian passes through the building.
At the same time we stood on the eastern and western hemispheres. This was really a special feeling…
There is a museum of astronomical and navigational tools, particularly John Harrison’s marine chronometers. It also houses the 28-inch Grubb refracting telescope of 1893, the largest of its kind in the UK.
The Shepherd Gate Clock is the clock mounted on the wall outside the gate of the Royal Greenwich Observatory building. It is a 24-hour clock – in which an hour hand makes one complete revolution in a day. It shows Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), a time system adopted as a global time standard. Of course we all checked if our watches and phones show the correct time.
The road to the marina led us down the street with very interesting Georgian and Victorian buildings.
In the marina we saw a museum ship – The Cutty Sark. It was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest.
We boarded the catamaran and during the comfortable ride viewed some of the London attractions from the Thames: the London Eye, the Tower of London, the Tower bridge,
the Hamlet, the Shard, many other bridges, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s cathedral , Shakespeare’s Globe, (a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre – an Elizabethan playhouse),
Our next destination was the Museum of Natural History. The museum is one of the largest museums of natural history of the world with an enormous collection of artifacts (70 million). The museum is housed in a magnificent neo-Romanesque building.
The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, but most of us did not see them because of the long queues in front of the hall.
The spectacular Central Hall is home to the Museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton.
We admired a large collection of beautiful and valuable minerals and stones.
Unfortunately, we had far too little time to be able to see at least a few of the most important exhibits.
Especially girls, of course, did not want to miss shopping at Oxford Street. It is said to be the busiest shopping street in Europe and many of us had to buy a souvenir from Oxford Street too.
Sherlock Holmes strictly observed us when we rushed towards the Madame Tussauds.
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers. It was very fun to pose, shake hands, or even hug celebrities that we will probably never meet in our life (many of them died long ago), much less have the opportunity to take pictures with them. Most of us, of course, took a picture with her Highness the Queen and the maximum of hugs got Justin Bieber – from the girls to be precise.
It was our last night in London, and although we were tired from an all-day exploration, we wanted to make the most of the last minutes of our trip so it was difficult to fall asleep.
The next morning -the last look at the hotel where we were staying,
a ride to the airport … and the flight home. When we were flying over Slovenia, above the carpet of clouds we saw Triglav.
It was a great trip, with so many experiences that it is impossible to describe them briefly. As well as one cannot see the whole London in four days. We have only “tasted” it. Perhaps one day we will return to explore more of its sights and secrets.
Written by Erik Glinšek