For Love of London (and Oxford)!
"God save our gracious Queen. Long live our noble Queen." So starts the lyrics of England's national anthem. To be sure, the Queen is a magnificent figurehead and an amazing symbol of English history and tradition. Even her home (or should I say "homes?") is enough to make your jaw drop. I've seen Buckingham Palace. The White House doesn't hold a candle to it. The White House doesn't even hold a match against Buckingham Palace. I mean, seriously... it's a friggin' PALACE.
But Buckingham Palace and the Queen (God save her) aren't the only magnificent and amazing figures in England. Let's just look at London for a minute, yeah? Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Globe Theatre and the Houses of Parliament. Just a few sites, of the many, that are totally worth seeing. Not to mention the Tower of London.
The Tower of London is one of those mind-blowing pieces of history that's hard to wrap your head around. Imagine walking through buildings and running your hands along rough, stone walls that are just under a thousand years old. A THOUSAND YEARS OLD. That's hundreds of years before the colonization of America! Like I said... Mind. Blown.
You probably already know that the Tower was used as a royal residence, as well as a prison (I've seen the torture chamber. *chills*). It's also home to the Crown Jewels (bling, bliiiiiiiing). But did you know the Tower also served / serves as a menagerie? Although it used to house all sorts of fantastic beasts, the ravens are now it's primary residents. They fly around at their leisure and, if you're lucky, they might even let you get close enough to snap a selfie with them! But beware - they might bite (as you can see from my picture, I was willing to take that chance).
I had a great time at the tower. I was completely awe-struck. But then again, I was awe-struck by most of what I saw in England, and that's not being limited to London. I also took the time to explore Oxford! It's possible that I enjoyed Oxford even more than London, excepting the Tower, of course. London reminded me of an older, classier, more beautiful and cleaner version of New York City. Being that I live in NYC, it was a nice switch-up to get away and visit the quiet streets of Oxford (and to think, I almost didn't go!). If you're ever in London and are contemplating whether or not to visit Oxford, do it! Doooooo iiiiiiit. It's only about an hour and a half bus ride away and there is sooooo much to see. You'll never be able to see it all in just one day.
Care to see where C.S. Lewis got his inspiration for the Chronicles of Narnia? You'll find it in Oxford. Feel like visiting some of the filming locations of Harry Potter? Also, in Oxford. Want to order a beer in a pub that's been around for eight hundred years? Again, Oxford. Perhaps you're a history buff? The museums in Oxford are free and boast such articles as Einstein's chalkboard (his handwriting is still preserved on it!), the original rough draft of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, dinosaur skeletons, and much more.
But I feel like I'm forgetting to mention something. Something important. Hmm... Oh yeah, The University of Oxford. How am I even supposed to describe such a place? I can't. No, really, I can't.
Okay, okay, I'll try. I'll try but, believe me, I won't do it any justice.
Oxford University is just, like...wow (hey, I told you I wouldn't be able to do it any justice). The tranquility and hush that spreads over the campus is tangible. The age and history of the place is enough to make your knees weak. Uh, yeah, and the architecture beats anything you'll find in the United States. That's probably the understatement of a lifetime, but you get what I'm saying.
I'm just going to stop there. I can't even... just... the memories... uuuugh. Will you just trust me and goooo there? I mean, really.
On a closing and completely random note, if you happen to visit either city, make sure to take a photo of yourself inside one of their staple, red, telephone booths. Yeah, it'll be like having a neon sign over your head proclaiming you're a tourist, but you are a tourist, which everyone will figure out as soon as you open your mouth. So do it anyway, and send me a copy!
It Girl Friday