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Last updated at 12:43 BST, Thursday, 18 July 2013

Staff blog


About the blogger

Graciela is a producer at BBC Learning English. This week she talks about looking at her hometown through the eyes of a tourist.

Hometown tourism

"It's huge!" said my friend after a few minutes in silence. He was looking at the Big Ben Tower, which was all lit up. His eyes and mouth were wide open. We had braved a long walk with temperatures around 2°C, and that was his prize. It didn't matter that he'd left his hot country in southern Africa 15 hours before. Everything was new.

Big Ben

Big Ben is always a crowd pleaser

He walked miles without complaining. Any food was "delicious" for him. Traffic? Crowds? No problem. He took pictures standing close to a member of the Queen's Guard near Buckingham Palace and... didn't get arrested! Something to write home about.

The Coldstream guards, Buckingham Palace

The Coldstream guards at Buckingham Palace

I was so concerned about making sure he would have a good time that I wasn't having one myself. But I should have. When you've lived in a city for a few years it becomes too familiar. In the daily hustle-bustle of the capital, when you find yourself following a routine of going to work, paying bills, you allow the greatness of the place to disappear into the background.

London is a beautiful and exciting city. A place where you board a bus and can be sure eight out of ten times that you'll hear a language you can't even identify before you reach your destination. You've got most nationalities here.

I went back to Big Ben a week later and tilted my neck like my friend to marvel at the iconic monument. It is really huge! Sometimes it is necessary to cast fresh eyes on your hometown and feel like a tourist. It can be a lot of fun!

Have you visited any tourist attractions in your own town recently?




endured, tolerated

something to write home about

something extraordinary, amazing

have a good time

enjoy oneself

the daily hustle-bustle

the daily energetic confusion

tilted my neck

moved my head backwards to look up


a recognisable symbol of something (in this case, of London)

to cast fresh eyes

to look at something you have seen many times before as if for the first time

End of Section

Now tell us what you think

Have you visited any tourist attractions in your own town recently?

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