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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

I have been fortunate to travel to London twice. Once was with my father and grandfather for a business trip when I was in middle school and the second time was with my immediate family for a short vacation while in high school.

London reminded me of a blend between New York City and Washington D.C. I really enjoyed the scenery and history surrounding the city. It was fascinating to be standing in the some of the same spots I had often seen depicted in movies. The trips were each very memorable and left an impact on me that I will never forget.

One of the first stops my family and I made on our trip was at the Tower of London. The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames. It was founded toward the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The tower has several buildings, two concentric rings of defensive walls, and a moat. In fact, the tower was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952. In the beginning, the tower served as a grand palace for the royals of England. However, over time it has served several purposes ranging from an armory, a treasury, the home of the Royal Mint, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the U.K. Today the tower is a popular tourist attraction.

The tower was such a unique place to visit because of the history surrounding its creation and use from 1066 onward. I was fascinated by the size of the castle and the fact that even though it was created so long ago, it was strong enough to endure throughout the centuries. The crown jewels were amazing to see as well. I was questionable as to if all those on display were the actual artifacts and not replicas, but either way they were all stunning. My family and I spent several hours wandering throughout the castle and learning more about its rich history.

Another memorable stop on my family’s trip to England was certainly at Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey is a large, predominantly Gothic church that is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and British monarchs. The coronations of English and British monarchs have been held at this church since 1066. Edward the Confessor and Henry IIIinitiated the construction of the church for the primary purpose of being a burial ground for royals. Since 1100, there have also been more than 16 royal weddings at the abbey.

The church was absolutely incredible. The grounds surrounding it were perfectly groomed and I marveled at the arches and other architectural structures along the outside of the building. The interior of the church was equally amazing. Large columns emerged out of the marble floors to ceilings high above. The church alter was raised and at the end of a long row of wooden seats with lights on the desks in front of them. I was alsosurprised at the number of incredible individuals buried in Westminster Abbey, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Oliver Cromwell. I wish I could have seen the abbey in person when it was set for the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton because I’m sure the church looked magnificent.

My family and I also visited Buckingham Palace. We did not have the chance to go inside the palace, but we took pictures outside its fence and listened to facts about its history on podcasts we downloaded to our iPods.

My family and I also enjoyed visiting the British Museum, Piccadilly Circus and riding the Underground. London felt very similar to the U.S. in many ways, but I really appreciated all of its differences. London is a wonderful city that is rich with history and is a place that I not only want to visit again, but could also see myself living there at some point in the future!

About

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    Hello, my name is Matt Robertson. I love developing new skills, helping others and traveling around the world. I’m a very self-driven, competitive and tenacious individual. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Economics. I now work as an Analyst within Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Equity Sales & Trading Division in New York City.

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