It was finally 3rd of June. Since the day my parents allowed me to apply for the study tour, I had been waiting for this day. I was very excited about the visit to UK, along with my friends. I knew this was going to be an interesting learning phase of my life, especially due to many fascinating stories that my father had told me after his visit to UK, long back.
As if I was walking in a dream, the long-cherished moment of my life was finally here! We all reached the airport at about 7:00 pm on 3rd June and boarded the flight to Delhi at about 9:30 pm. Frankly speaking, for the first time, I happily bid good-bye to my parents & my younger brother, which I usually don’t do. We reached Delhi at about 11:30 pm. We then checked into a hotel and woke up early at about 5 o’clock next morning. We got ready quickly, went to the airport and boarded the flight for Doha. I was so excited that I didn’t even realise we hadn’t slept for even four hours the previous night! But, soon the jet-lag started sinking in when we reached Doha, which was 2 hours behind Indian Standard Time. I knew sleep-debt was taking over but the excitement of the tour simply washed it all away.
After reaching Doha, we boarded the flight to London. I must have dozed off into deep sleep, for I didn’t realize we were flying over London when one of my friends nudged me calling loudly, “look down, there it is – we are flying over London”. I looked down from the airplane window. London really looked majestic! It was only when we touched London that I realised we were 5 hours 30 minutes behind Indian time. But that didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was that the weather was cool & pleasant, something that I had always wanted to be in.
We then took a bus from London for Gloucester. During the journey, we travelled through the lush green countryside which UK is so famous for! I had only read about it in books, but here it was before my own eyes. I must admit, till then I had never seen nature in its true magnificent form. When we reached Gloucester, we went to the Partner School, ‘the Chosen Hill School’. From there, Archit & I went to our host’s house. Our host was from 9th class. His name was James Benett. The next day, we went around the Chosen Hill School and then went to the Drayton Manor, an amusement park. Drayton had roller coasters and many other amazing rides. It was really a rollicking-frolicking amusing fun time. Thereafter we had our lunch and went back to our host’s house where we played a lot of exciting outdoor games with him.
In the next two days, we went to the Gloucester Cathedral, Oxford University and the host school, again. I interacted with the local people in all these places and took a lot of pictures with them. I was really awestruck with the art & architecture of the Cathedral and the Oxford University, which I had always longed to visit.
Time really moves so quickly! Finally, it was time to leave Gloucester. We bid goodbye to our hosts with a heavy heart and with parting gifts that I had packed before leaving India. It was a mixed feeling for I was also happy realising that we were going to Birmingham, a city I had heard so much about, especially the Cadbury World. So obviously, the moment we reached Birmingham city, we kept our luggage in the hotel and went to see, of course, the Cadbury World. One has to be there to believe it – the Cadbury World was simply out of this world! After spending lavishly on buying chocolates and having them too, I did bring some for my parents & my younger brother. We then went to Birmingham University had our dinner and slept away.
The next day, we woke up and got ready to leave for London, the city of my dreams! When I reached London, it appeared to me as if I had always known this city as I tried to connect to all the places that I had read & heard about. The most exciting visit for me was to Madame Tussauds, where we took photos with several celebrities. It was like a dream come true! After Madame Tussauds, we went to Oxford street for shopping and had our dinner.
The next day, we went to London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge and a cruise ride on the River Thames. By now, I must admit, I was very tired. When we went back to the hotel, I quietly had my dinner and just dozed off! The next day was again exciting as I realized I was going to meet my family & friends back in India. Unmatched happiness, home after all is always ‘sweet and caring’. We boarded our flight to Doha and then to Delhi. Surprise, however was still in store when at Delhi Airport I saw my parents and younger brother who had come to receive me. I realized we were now going off to Jaipur, Rajasthan to spend time with my cousins. I was so excited that the first thing I did was to share all my reminiscences with them. Truly, this was really the most unforgettable and cherished moments of my life and so will it remain as one of my fondest memories.