For the first few days in London, I tried to capture my initial impressions of the city, including everything from the captivating monuments and rich history to some unexpected curveballs. The most striking thing about the city thus far has been the diverse culture. I was previously aware that London was a multicultural hub but I was still surprised by how each section of the city offers a new and differing ambiance. We went on a bus tour that gave me a feel for the royal and extravagant side of the city as we got to see Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Westminster Abby, St. Paul’s Cathedral and more. These iconic pieces of architecture display their historical significance through not only their gargantuan size, but also intricate detail. Although I have been to London before, these sights always amaze me and I find myself learning something new about them each time I visit. For instance, I knew that Buckingham Palace is home to the Queen and when the flag is raised, it means she is home. However, on this trip, I found out that the Union Jack is always flying above the beautiful building and the Queen’s presence is indicated when the Royal flag is raised.
The upbeat, diverse area of Camden Town, where my flat is located, showed me yet another side of London. At first glance, the town is intimidating because of the eccentric clothing and stores; however, when you take a closer look the town’s rich history and diversity shines through. I did some of my own research on Camden’s history to gain a better understanding of the town. I found out the area was mainly barren land until the 1790’s when Charles Pratt started development. Additionally, the Grand Union Canal and railways facilitated development in the area with the arrival of many Irishmen and foreigners. Even then, the town was known for its diverse shops and entertainment facilities. In 1907, Camden Town shifted into a metropolitan city with the arrival of the underground. Unfortunately, the area suffered large destruction during WWII, but was repaired to its full glory shortly after. The rich history of the town can be seen through the diverse foods, music, art, and fashion. It is also known to be a hub for Punk and Gothic culture, bringing more life and diversity to the area. These are just a few of the numerous areas of London to experience. I am excited to explore more of the city and gain a deeper understanding of its history and culture.