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May 16, 2013

A Homeschooler’s Perspective: Exploring London

Filed under: Travel — Guest Author @ 5:15 am

homeschool travel london

Out of the nine days my parents and I spent in Britain, the day we explored London was one of my favorites.

That morning, we took the train from Milton Keynes, where we were staying with friends, into London, and then went on the underground to Camden Station. Both stations were really full. It was a good thing the local friend who came with us was tall, otherwise we would have lost him!

We went out one of the exits and took a right. After a few minutes we realized we were in the Camden Market. There were stalls and shops of colorful bags and mugs, souvenirs as well as clothing and unique crafts lining the street.

All around London the number of different languages we heard was amazing. After that day, I wasn’t surprised to read that out of all the cities in the world, the one with the most languages spoken is London.

The directions we were using didn’t look like they were leading us to the London Zoo. We stopped at the bridge over Regent’s Canal and watched the boats moored to the side of the murky but charming waterway, while our friend messed around on his phone trying to find where we should go. It turned out we had accidentally exited from the wrong side of the station!

We walked back to where we had started, went through the other exit and finally came to the zoo.

The London Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world.

The zebras were especially woolly. Their coats were shaggy and longer than usual to accommodate the cool British weather.

There was a building with ‘nightlife’, creatures like bats and armadillos. There were exhibits like in a reptile house, only faintly back-lit in the dark so we could see them. It was really cool.

Out of all the exhibits, though, the okapi, an animal that looks like a mix between a deer and a zebra but is neither, was my favorite. Her coat looked so velvety! She just stood there, nibbling a branch.

The penguin’s building was being remodeled, so they were put in with the other birds in the aviary. It was amusing seeing the arctic creatures amongst tropical fowl (and the occasional local specimen, which I imagine got in through the holes in the netting).

By the time we finished in the aviary, the sky was starting to drip. Out of all the days we spent in Britain, that was the only day it rained, which is very unusual. Britain is known for its precipitation.

After we had walked around the zoo for about five hours, we finally ran out of steam. I got two ‘souvenir holes’ in the socks I wore that day.

We exited the zoo and walked a block north to Primrose Hill. It’s a tall, gently sloping grassy hill with round, leafy trees along the paths up it. It’s a nice break from the grayish buildings around it, although London was surprisingly green for a big city.

Once we got to the top, we rested on some benches and gazed south. We saw the London skyline along the Thames: Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and a dozen others, all tiny grey figures, just recognizable in the faintly dimming evening light.

We took the underground back to Euston Station and stopped there. It was ‘peak time’, or rush hour, so we couldn’t use our non-peak-time tickets for the train back to Milton Keynes yet.

To fill time, we decided to go out for dinner.

We walked through a part of town our friend knew. We went down an avenue of Indian restaurants, and had dinner in one of them. The others enjoyed their meals, but I ordered a ‘masala’, or ‘spicy’ dosa, which was a little too hot for me.

After our meal, we took the train to Milton Keynes.

We were all really tired when we got back, but it was worth it.

The day we went to London was one of the most fun, tiring days I’ve ever had. I’d love to go back there and see more of the amazing things the city has to offer.

 

About the Author

Heather Mathis is 13 and lives in Woodstock. She has been homeschooled all her life. She likes figure skating and writing fantasy stories, and has a business hand sewing one-of-a-kind sock dolls. 

 

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