Six years ago today I was in London and nearing the end of my 2012 journey across Europe. I had first arrived in London at the start of April to commence the trip, and now, after nearly three and a half months, I was back in London again for two days prior to flying home to America. After leaving Berlin it had really started to feel like I was closing in on the end and upon arriving back in London that feeling was weighing heavily on me. The journey to end all journeys would soon be over. I needed to make the most of the little bit of time I had left in Europe, so I set out on my farewell tour of the city.
Normally cities don’t change too much in just three and a half months, but with London there had been a notable transformation due to the fact that the city was hosting the Summer Olympics that year. Whereas in April I had only seen a few bits of preparation going on around town, by the time I returned to London in July I could see that a lot of progress had been made. Informational posters were all over town, Olympic buses had their own traffic lanes in the streets, the Olympic venues had been prepared, and there was even a large Olympic sign hanging from the upper level of Tower Bridge. I was actually quite impressed with how much work had been done, especially since I had visited the Olympic stadium area in April and at the time it seemed like there was a chance that everything wouldn’t be ready for the start of the Olympics. A lot had changed in London—except for the weather, which seems to be pretty constant most of the year. Sure, April in London was colder but when I was back in London in July it was still cool, cloudy, and one afternoon a heavy rainstorm passed through town.
Since I had already checked off most of the items on my sightseeing list during the first time I was in London, for my second visit I spent some of my time going back to a few of my favorite places. One of those places was the Palace of Westminster, as seen in today’s photo. The Palace of Westminster is where the British Parliament meets and is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. At one end of the palace, and on the right of today’s photo, is Westminster’s famed clock tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, even though Big Ben is actually the name of a large bell inside the tower and not the tower itself. For those curious, the name of the clock tower is Elizabeth Tower. If you visit London today you’ll see part or all of the clock tower covered in scaffolding as it is currently undergoing renovation work that will last until around 2021. I’d definitely like to return to London one day—it was one of my favorite cities in Europe—though I’ll probably wait until after the renovation work on the clock tower is done.