Travel Journal: England
Today was the Royal Wedding! It's hard to believe that something that we've looked forward to has finally come and gone. My goodness, it was a wonderful day. First of all, Kate’s wedding gown was absolutely gorgeous. It was classy, elegant, and stylish—I just loved it! Definitely fitting for a princess.
I had thought that waking up around 7:15 a.m. and leaving our building by 8 would be early enough for me to walk around the Mall, the long strip of road between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, but boy was I wrong! After making a stop at a local grocery store to get picnic food, a friend and I were in Trafalgar Square by 8:40 a.m. We thought we were doing well on time, but once we got there we were told that the first entrance to Pall Mall was already being closed because of the massive crowd. We ventured onward quickly in hopes of finding an entrance that was still open. But as we came to each entrance to Pall Mall, we were met with security guards announcing that that entrance was closed too. When we finally heard that all of the entrances to Pall Mall were closed because of the crowd limitations, we decided to go with Plan B—join the crowds in Hyde Park to watch the ceremonies on big screens that had been set up...and it was a wonderful alternative.
We had packed blankets and towels in addition to our picnic food, so we promptly staked out a spot with a good view of one of the big screens in Hyde Park. Then we texted our Centre-in-London friends asking them to let us know when they arrived here as we settled in for a wonderful late morning/early afternoon. Hyde Park was packed! We found out later that there were over 100,000 people in the park. We made friends with a group sitting next to us, all of whom were British. When we told them how surprised we were by the British enthusiasm after hearing so many British people announce that they didn’t care a bit for the royal wedding, one of them told us, “You know, everyone has definitely been excited, but the British just don’t show emotion as much. Today it’s all coming out!” I thought that was lovely because everyone that we saw was excited. A local newspaper was handing out free flags, people had their faces painted, and the relative silence during the ceremony attested to the excitement and respect that the people really had for the wedding.
It was an amazing experience—what luck to be in London during the royal wedding! It was a day I’ll never forget—a perfect ending to an incredible semester abroad.
While many of my classmates are headed home tomorrow or the day after, I'll be traveling around Europe with a couple of friends for the next two weeks, and will return home in mid-May. What’s on my agenda for the next two weeks? Visits to Prague, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, and Berlin. That's another advantage of studying abroad—you’re already overseas, why not take some time afterwards to travel?
Well, thanks for reading my blog, even if you’ve only read bits here and there. If you get one thing out of it, at least get this: if you ever have the chance to study abroad, pick a place that interests you and go for it! This past semester abroad was something that truly exceeded any expectations that I had. It was completely different than what I had expected, but it was so much better than what I could have imagined! Calling a new country home for a small amount of time is really eye-opening. Even though people have different accents, languages, cultures, religions, etc., we are so incredibly similar at the same time. People have so much more in common than we realize. This semester has helped me to become more of a global citizen, and I think that’s a lesson that’s difficult to teach in any way other than through experience. I'm already looking forward to the next time that I’ll have the opportunity to be in London again. Centre College, thanks for providing such an incredible opportunity for both myself and my classmates—I know it’s affected all of us in the most positive way.
As Professor Johnson said on the night of our last group meal, the family that we had in London may not be reunited all at the same time again, but “we’ll always have London.” And I’m so very thankful for that.
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