Thursday, June 11, 2015

Let's Get Lost (Or Maybe Not)

No, I’m not talking about Adi Alsaid’s book, Let’s Get Lost. However, I have heard that it’s delightful and I do hope to read sometime in the near future. If you don’t want to read this post about my trip to London (which will make me incredibly sad) and are only interested in Let’s Get Lost, you can check out my co-blogger Emily’s review and interview she did with Adi Alsaid a while back (I recommend reading it after you finish reading this post. They are both worth it, I promise.). 

"In the 20th century, with the development of increasingly fast, reliable, and inexpensive forms of long-distance transport, mass tourism emerged as a major global promoter of foreign travel." Jerry Bentley 

Two years ago this July, my best friend, Kaci and I took a small trip across the pond to visit England. It was both of ours first trip out of the country and we were both nervous. Traveling can be a scary thing, especially when you are going somewhere that you don’t know all of the customs and traditions there. We hoped that by picking places that primarily spoke English it would make things easier. Luckily, we were right on that count.

London is a big city. Okay, that may be an understatement. London is approximately 607 sq miles, while New York City is only 305 sq miles, making London almost two times as large as New York City! I think it's safe to say we needed a map. We couldn’t just roam aimlessly around the city of London. We would either get lost or die of exhaustion. 

"The map is one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Humans were probably drawing maps before they were writing texts. Mapmaking may even predate formal language."  Joni Seager

So before our trip Kaci and I sat down and made a list of all the places that we wanted to do and see. Our reasons for selecting the places that we did varied. Mostly we were "hitting the high points" and going to all of the places that make London famous. We were only going to be in London for three days before we headed over to Dublin so we had to make sure that we made the most of our time there.

After deciding what we wanted to do and what we thought we would actually have time to do, we looked at map to break down what days we were going to do each activity. Here’s the itinerary we came up with.

Day One: ½ Day

Houses of Parilment/Ben Big
Thames River Cruise

Big Ben

Blackfriar Bridge

Shakespeare Globe Theater

Our first day there we got there around midday so we didn’t have a ton of time to do sightseeing. We were able to see Big Ben and take a Thames River Cruise. The Thames River Cruise was nice because it allowed us to see other buildings and bridges as well. We saw Shakespeare Globe Theater, Tower Bridge, and Blackfriar Bridge. Blackfriar Bridge isn’t as well known as other bridges in London but I’m sure fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series are familiar with it!

Day Two:
HMS Belfast
Tower Bridge
Tower of London

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Our second day was busy! We went abroad the HMS Belfast, a big battleship stationed on the Thames River. Then, we went to the place I was most excited about Tower Bridge! At Tower Bridge we were able to go up top and walk across. The view was breathtaking. After that we took a trip to the Tower of London. The Tower of London is full of history and use can view the family jewels. I’m talking crowns, necklaces, bracelets filled with some of the most expensive stones in the world.

Day Three:
Buckingham Palace/Changing of the Guard
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Our last day in London, we got up early to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, we didn’t get up quite early enough and missed most of it. We did get to see the very end of it. Buckingham Palace was packed because we just so happened to be there during the time when Prince William and Kate were expecting their first baby. We were hoping to be in London when the royal baby arrived but unfortunately, we were made aware of baby George’s arrival in Atlanta Airport on the day that we arrived back in the United States. Westminster Abbey was gorgeous. We tried walking to the top but didn't quite make it. We did make it to Whispering Gallery, where you could whisper something on one side of the gallery and hear it all the way on the other side.

We booked a bus tour to help with transportation around the city. We used Big Bus London. We did, of course, walk the streets and just enjoy everything London had to offer. While there, we had to try some fish 'n chips and also got introduced to red chili ice cream. It's better than it sounds!

The trip to London was definitely an unique experience and was a learning experience for both us. Even when traveled to a place that is similar to our own country in a lot of ways, there were still the slight differences. For instance, in London and most of England air conditioning and ice are necessities. Most places just crack a window and have hot or luke warm dreams. There are two huge problems with. 1) We were from south Alabama where AC and ice are essential. 2) We just so happened to visit during a heat way. It was terrible. We thought we were going to burn up!

Still, we had a very sucessful trip!


  1. I really enjoyed your trip to England. The pictures really added a wonderful touch to making it all feel real and present. It must have been exciting and maybe a little crazy to have been there when the "royal" baby was born. I love how you created the itinerary and based it on where each of you really wanted to go. That's awesome!! It looks and sounds like you had a great time and that is the most important part of any vacation. That red chili ice cream definitely sounds interesting.
    Carla (this is the only way that I could seem to publish it, sorry)

  2. Hi Ashley,
    It sounds like you had your work cut out for you when trying to make it to all of these places! Obviously a map is an absolute necessity in this kind of situation, as 607 miles would be a lot of ground to cover without one. :)

    While your pictures speak a thousand words and show us how beautiful the places you traveled to are, I think it would be valuable to write about the specific aspects of their beauty in order to relate to your blog topic. Did you choose these places because of their popularity, their beauty, their history? Do all of those reasons relate? What makes them uniquely beautiful destinations in London?

    I also think you could really expand on Seager's "Maps" by telling us what sort of internal maps you followed both in your journey to as well as throughout London. Were you inspired by the beauty or intrigued by the culture? I would love to hear about how this trip affected (or not) your view on life where you live, and how your own map has been shaped.


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