Following on from my adventure through Europe, I decided to spend a couple of weeks in London. Initially the plan was to look for work but I decided to spend my time being a tourist instead. Fortunately some of my new contiki friends were in London, too, so it was great to be able to spend some time together, post-contiki, before we all went back to our real lives.
I checked out lots of the typical touristy sits-Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hyde Park, to name a few. I learnt how easy it was to navigate the tube system to get any where I needed in London (why is our public transport not like those?!)
Lots of pub meals and ciders were had. I miss being able to wander into a pub with a mate to hang out, have a couple of drinks and just chat. Pubs are every where in London, some with very interesting names.
I checked out the London Dungeon and London Bridge experiences. both terrifyingly interesting and fun, interactive tours. Highly recommended.
I went on a bus tour out of London to Windsor Castle, the town of Bath and Stonehenge. It was lovely getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city. So much so that I decided to catch the train down to the south of England to spend a couple of days in Cornwall. I explored the coastal town of St. Ives. I fell in love. It was beautiful and charming and the Cornish pasties and fudge certainly helped the love affair.
Prior to heading overseas the only fun I had planned for London was…..HARRY POTTER. HP was my childhood, so when I think of England that is all that comes to mind for me. Of course I booked in to go to the Warner Brother Studios Harry Potter World along with a bus tour of some of the film locations around London. I’ll admit most of my budgeted spending money for London went to the Harry Potter World gift shop. I went a bit crazy. Dumbledore’s wand-the elder wand, a Gryffindor jumper and scarf, chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts every flavor beans and a time turner amoung other things. I got to fly a broomstick around hogwarts and tried butter beer. I checked out platform 9&3/4 at kings cross station and go to run through the wall with a trolley.
London is well known for its parks, which I got to check out quite a few of. Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens. Kew Botanic Gardens for the bee hive and Bushy Park for the deer. I also spent a lot of time in parks and squares like Russell square, sitting in the sun reading or eating or people watching. Doing as the Londoners do.
Post contiki I was feeling rather blah from all the junk and alcohol consumed so I was very lucky to discover Pret-A-Manger, a healthy and convent food franchise (again why are we missing out in Melbourne?!). I also fell in love with planet organic and whole foods, frequenting both for healthy meals and snacks.
I spent time wandering through some of London’s markets such as Portobello road and Camdem markets.
To end my time in London I ascended to the viewing platforms of The Shard-the tall, pointy, glass building- to check out 360 degree views over London. In typical London fashion it was grey and drizzly at sunset when I went up. Still plenty of amazing views.
I can’t say I can call London home yet, but Europe and UK I will definitely be back. 2017 to be precise.