Arriving in London
Took an 8-hour flight from Toronto to London to start my European exploration! British Airways was pleasant, feeding me the whole time. I was able to watch two movies and slept a lot. Anyway, the London Heathrow Airport wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. For some reason, I had LAX or DFW in mind, but it wasn’t. By the time I reached the front of the airport, I had about three brochures and maps of London in my hand. There were employees everywhere willing to help you out.
When I reached the front of the airport, there was a group of workers by London Underground map (the Tube) helping others out. I’ve done my research beforehand and knew where to go, but since help was there, I decided to ask anyway. They confirmed where I needed to go which was reassuring. Went to the ticket booth, got my Oyster card and loaded some cash on there. Went downstairs and through a few doors, and waited for my train. One thing I recognized about the people of London, is the public display of affection. Every stop I made to catch the next train, there was a couple or two being affectionate. I learned later Europeans seem to be more affectionate in public than Americans.
My train finally arrived and sat next to a family. The entire ride I tried not to look like a tourist. Looking casual as possible. Had my headphones on, legs crossed, luggage close to me, minded my own business. After a few stops, arrived at my stop, Swiss Cottage station. I walked to my hostel and checked in. Took a long nap. Jet lag is no joke! Woke up and wanted to explore (hehe). The hostel I booked was surrounded by places to eat within walking distance. I took a walk down this beautiful quaint street in which I took a video:
I stopped by a convenience store and while in the checkout, met a couple that is from the United States. We helped each other check out (for it was computerized and we had no idea what we were doing), shared our experience thus far. It was like speaking to someone from “home” even though we were complete strangers After our conversation, I walked up the street to see what else was around. Without making eye contact with people. Walking with purpose, like I knew where I was going! Like a “G.”.
Another thing I recognized is that London people can be rude street crossers. They would flick people off if they dare honk their horn crossing as they rudely cross the street. Anyway, I caught on. I too began to cross the street like a London local (other than flicking people off). Back at my hostel, I ate and went to bed. It was late and wanted to have enough energy to start my exploration the next day.
The next day, I took the Tube to the Victoria Station to visit Buckingham Palace. The train station was huge, with many small shops and places to grab a bite to eat. I soon would find out that you had to pay to use public restrooms in London. Good thing I had some coins on me, otherwise an unnecessary trip to the ATM was eminent. After getting situated, I followed the signs to lead outside to Buckingham Road (easy enough). There were loads of tourist and tour buses taking up most of the road. After walking, about ten minutes, Buckingham Palace was in site. I wasted no time and began taking pictures. The architecture had touches of gold everywhere. There were many stone sculptures in which I had no clue what they meant. But they were pretty. For quite some time I found myself sitting on the steps and taking it all in.
Time went by so fast, and had to rush back to our meeting place down the street for my planned Stonehenge tour! Click here to learn more about my magical experience at Stonehenge!
Final Day in London
The next day, we would meet up with your tour group and G Adventure guide for our European tour. However, first, I wanted to explore London a little bit more. So I took advantage of my preplanned hop-on-hop-off bus tour! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get off at the popular sites such as the Big Ben or the London Eye. But my camera shutter was clicking away. The Changing of The Guards would have been a site to see, but I’ll save these things for another London trip in the future.
As you can see, I love tours. They are on My Top 3 Things You Should Plan to Make the Most of Your Vacation. They are a great way to get the most out of an experience, especially in such a short period of time. London is mission complete! On to the next adventure!