I visited the UK as a tourist, 18 years ago. As I arrived at the gates for Arrivals at Terminal 5, the feeling of absolute freedom filled my senses. Right at that moment, I knew, I’ve found my path.
The United Kingdom consists of four countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The country’s parliamentary democracy is ruled under the constitutional monarchy, our Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State. Long Live the Queen!!
Since I was a tourist, I had a list of touristy stuff to do. Places to visit, photographs to capture, food and drink to experience, and so on.
I hopped on the Jubilee Line and walked to Westminster from London Bridge. There it was the Palace of Westminster. I stood there for almost an hour admiring its’ English Gothic architecture, quite a perpendicular gothic revival style, known to be prevalent from late 14th to mid 16th centuries owing to its’ unique characterizations, arches, vaults and archery windows. I went back again, this time at night. It looked stunning than ever!
Big Ben the Great Bell and Clock Tower, is 159 years old and stands tall at 315 feet, has 11 floors ( which is currently under renovation works, 2017 – 2020, there will be a lift! ). The Clock Tower was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen. If you’ve visited England and been to London to see our Queens’ reign and walked the street of Westminster, then you definitely remember your first feeling of the Big Ben Chimes 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour. Although the bells have been silenced due to the renovation works, it has not stopped tourists from swarming in and around Westminster to capture this historical British cultural icon!
Tower Bridge – a combined bascule and suspension bridge, that crosses the River Thames and often confused to London Bridge ( you can see the red bridge from here ).
And since you are here, don’t miss your chance to visit Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. The castle has played a prominent role in the English history and the home of the Crown Jewels of England! I saw an actual Koh-i-Noor diamond ( originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty ) which was surrendered to Queen Victoria after the British conquest of Punjab.
As my holiday came to an end, I was sad to go. I still had other parts of England and Great Britain to see and explore.
I left determined that I will return someday. This is what I told my mom, I am going back there someday, two years from now actually, and it will be my home.
And I did come back 2 years later.
England – The country that I adored so much… that I fell in love and made it my home!