There is so much to go through from my trip to London I’ve decided to do it in sections based on what I did each day. Let’s begin.
So it seems as though I unintentionally took a summer hiatus from blogging. Well with an amazing trip behind me, and some cool projects I’ve been working on it’s time to begin yet again. Let’s start with my big trip this year.
It’s always been a dream of mine to one day visit London, and Europe in general. As luck would have it, just like it did with my trip to New York, one of my very dear friends, Kate, is studying for her Master’s Degree at LCC across the pond. Thus I had an opportunity to stay with someone, and a nice tax return to buy a plane ticket. To top off this trip I would also be turning 25 while in London.
I had been waiting months for this moment. My first trip overseas, my first time to Europe, one of my life goals about to come true, but I still had to work a half day before I could leave. With a good night sleep under me I decided that it was a wonderful morning for some Starbucks before I headed to work. Well the Starbucks was good, but the rest of the morning was shaky. First my roommates lovely cat decided that my water glass didn’t belong on the footboard of my bed and gingerly swiped it off onto my carryon bag…the bag with my book, cameras, passport, and travel documents in. The bag was closed and disaster was barely averted. Second, after getting my delicious Starbucks and pulling up to the stop light I was rear ended by someone who was texting and not paying attention. I know this cause I was watching him in my rearview mirror. Again disaster averted…well for me at least. No damage to my car, however the hood of his car was a goner, score one for driving an SUV. Work was crazy fast and busy, but I got it all done and got home on time. Off to LAX I went, through security, grabbing a quick bite to eat along with some gum, sleeping pills, and a water and before I knew it I was boarding my Virgin Atlantic 747 Flight to Heathrow.
Shortly after takeoff we were served “dinner” and giving a neat little package with a dark eye mask, earplugs, socks, and a small toothbrush and toothpaste. I popped some sleeping pills, threw in the earplugs, and cozied up with my blanket and eye mask for the most uncomfortable sleep of my life. Somehow I managed a few hours here and there, and to everyone’s delight our plane would arrive at Heathrow and hour ahead of time thanks to a bitchin tail wind the whole way. About an hour before we were going to land, just as we began to fly over Ireland they served us some breakfast snacks and another round of drinks.
Touchdown, that was incredibly smooth by the way, and making my way through the maze of boarder control and through customs, down to the tube station to catch the Heathrow Connect to Paddington station and Kate. Well I managed to get one message out to Kate before my phone completely died, and somehow got on the right train to Paddington. Once I got there I got lost…sort of. I followed the signs that said “Way out”. After standing around for about 15 minutes I decided maybe I missed Kate down at the station and decided to make my way back. Then I found yet another sign that said “Way Out” going another direction and thought,’ why not’, and BAM there I saw Kate walking towards me. Needless to say I went the complete wrong way the first time. Now here I was reunited with my long lost twin, in London, in the largest train station…well the only train station I had ever been in. We made our way down to the underground and a transfer later we were on our way to Bermondsey Station and Kate’s place.
A quick shower for me, some delicious Lasagna soup made by Kate, and a quick plan we were off to explore. First stop would be Tower Bridge that was quite close to where we were, and a walk along the Thames River to see the sights.
The City was so alive, so vibrant and metropolitan. It felt rich with history; buildings that were hundreds of years old next to the modern cityscape of London. It was like no place I have ever been before. We walked the river past Tower Bridge, down towards Millennium Bridge and across to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We took a stroll around the grounds then made our way back across Millennium Bridge and moved towards the London Eye and Big Ben. After some photo ops where I stopped every 5 feet to take a new photo of Big Ben, we were on our way to Westminster Abbey. A quick stroll on the grounds, an iPhone map consultation and it was off to Trafalgar Square. By the time we got there it was dark. A rest and some chit chat we boarded a Double Decker bus back to Kate’s place. We took a brief rest, grabbed some food, and went out to meet her roommate Andrew at a Pub (@thealbany on twitter) where I had some great London Pale Ale. A few hours there, a bus ride later, and I was curling up to finally get some real sleep.