Ever wonder what goes through your teenager's mind as you drag them along on a European vacation? I had to find out when my 15-year-old neighbor, Lisa, announced she was visiting London with her parents.
Here is London through the eyes of a teenager:
London is well renowned for many things: the tea, the bright red double-decker buses, that one family that's really rich and occasionally wear crowns, and the odd looking dogs with short legs and perfectly triangular ears that are on every souvenir. Besides the classy Burberry coats and high cost of living is a city that connects modernism and history with a bridge, and still celebrates and takes pride in it's culture today.
My first day in London was a rainy one, but certainly not dreary. Walking down the stone streets with my parents and admiring the old fashioned architecture and style was a lot more memorable than walking the teenager poluted streets of Southlake. Not that there is anything wrong with the shopping district that I was so used to, it was the fact that I was so familiar with that area of Texas that a few phone booths and charming, interesting accents was good for a change.
We "bus hopped" from one tourist magnet bus to the other, and although I normally feel embarrassed for taking irrelevant pictures and walking around annoyingly slowly to take everything in whenever I travel, I couldn't feel guilty or blame all the other fascinated foreigners. It was hard to believe that the people who lived there could casually catch the fastest subway and not admire the city-like traits and ties to the past that London had.
I was also fortunate to celebrate the Queen's 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee that I could've sworn her Majesty herself had waited to celebrate as soon as I had arrived. Although it brought in a wave of tourists including me that caused a storm of chaos for my dad who had almost every plan down to a science, being at such a memorable event for both the commoner and the royalty was a once in a lifetime, Kodak moment (literally, mom took thousands of pictures).
As you can tell from my own blog, I am not at all musically talented but love music just as much as the next person, and being in the birthplace of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Oasis, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, the Who, and the Vaccines just to name a few was heaven. Nothing could possibly please my music lover's needs like eating an American burger at the original, first Hard Rock Cafe. The walls are plastered with vintage guitars and you could almost hear John Lennon singing "All You Need is Love" amidst the chatty Brits and loud music videos playing on the televisions.
The next day was spent shopping at Harrods, which was in reality trying to avoid any price tag that innocently poked out of a Marc Jacob's wallet or a Burberry scarf. The dazzling display of designer products was worth getting hit in the head a few times by zombie like consumers whose eyes were glazed over with greed and no devastating financial aftermath in mind.
We also enjoyed tea at the Brit shopping mall on steroids, and sat near where her Majesty herself had tea a few days before. My mom had a smeared grin across her face as she smeared clotted cream over a dry, sweet scone. I sipped my favorite, Earl Grey, and even snuck in a few shots of our display of finger sandwiches and macaroons as bright, rich and colorful as the room itself.
Flying back home was the worst part, although I did miss the comfort of my own room (including some elbow room) and those southern, Texas accents. London is well known for it's city lovers that create an urbanized feeling minus the flashy skyscrapers that are instead beautifully designed buildings that may last for years, but the history behind each one lasts forever and will always be remembered from one resident to the other. If you ever visit London, visit every nook and cranny, but most importantly go with people that will make your experience even more memorable and have the same interest in traveling as you do. Besides, if anyone is begging to go to London with you, they must already have good taste.
Lisa is a sophomer in high school, studying journalism and author of Anything Indie.