London Travel: My First Impressions

As an Indian and a student of English Literature, I have always had a love-hate relationship with London. Hence, on my first visit to London I was at once a little apprehensive and very excited. It is not only the seat of British Government who oppressed and ruled us for 300 years, but also the land of Shakespeare, Keats, Wordsworth and Shelley, to name a few.

Now when I look back to that tour I remember it mostly in scattered moments that have stuck to my memory forever. One such moment is when I was walking on the Westminster Bridge and through the traffic and across the crowd of tourists I had a first glimpse of the Big Ben and British Parliament building. I looked back and I saw the London Eye behind. I took a deep breath and I knew that even if the photographs fade and the videos get lost, I will always remember this moment.

The more vivid memory is of the tour of Tower of London. The Yeoman Warder or “Beefeater” as they are famously called took us to a journey through the strange and horrific history of British rulers. The ruthless crimes that had been committed in the Tower, the equipments of torture and stories of the prisoners vividly reproduced before my eyes the picture of British ruthlessness for power. I saw the drama of Queen Anne Boleyn enacted at the palace grounds where the actual incidents had happened. If these rulers could be so cruel to their own queen, what cruelty could their subjects expect?

I also will never forget the moment when I first saw the Kohinoor Diamond that the British had taken (stolen) from India and which they have kept in a showcase among other precious jewels looted from various lands. The place is heavily secured as the royal looters are afraid of being looted.

And then I remember the British Museum, an amazing building filled with all the wonders of the world. I was at once mesmerized by the beauty of these artifacts and the awed by the power of the rule that could have brought all these rare and beautiful pieces of sculpture and architecture from all over the world, just to beautify and glorify their museum! They even claim to protect these! What great plunderers were the British who could break great Temples of gods, uproot columns and huge sculptures and bring them all back to their own country! But everything bad has something good too. It is because they brought these together in one place that we could go through the history and culture of diverse civilizations and had a really special day at the British Museum.

I also went to see the reconstructed Globe to touch the memory of the unique genius of Shakespeare and go through the history of that time again. I also went to Trafalgar Square, fed the pigeons, had a lunch at Piccadilly Circus, saw Buckingham Palace, St. Peter’s, Westminster Abbey and took rides on London buses and metros to feel the pulse of the city.

These are the few memories and feelings that have become strongly associated with my first visit of London and whenever I look back to that tour I remember in a flash the Big Ben, the Tower of London and the Beefeater telling the horrific stories, the Kohinoor and the British Museum and its awe inspiring collection.

Sources: My experience

Tower of London

Visit London

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