Arriving in London to the hustle and bustle of people, a mixture of colour, sounds and smells its an attack on your senses but having been to Lodon before, several times it didnt faze me. The last time I was here was October with a good friend. We saw some sights, did the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio tours and enjoyed ourselves. It had been a while since we last saw each other. Now I’m down in London for a different reason, mainly a day at work on Thursday but the kind hearted boss has given me the day before and day after off so I thought I’d make a mini-break out of it!
As it falls the week before pay day (arragh!!) My main goal is cheap, cheerful aand carefree. Two nights, two different hostels – why not! I know there is the hassle of moving but I only have a small bit of kit so doesn’t bother me 🙂
So, arrived in London half hour late as train was delayed leaving Taunton, jumped off at Paddington then jumped straight on the Undergrounds District Line to Earl’s Court station. Sun beaming down as I hit street level and make my way to YHA Earl’s Court – a ace hostel a few minutes walk from the station (just turn right when you exit, walk until you see a cafe on the corner with coin in the title, turn left down that street and bam, welcome to the YHA).
I wasnt expecting to be able to check in as it was still early, I just need to dump my bag so I could go and explore but the lovely lass behind the desk said the room waa ready so I checked in. Gear locked away, camera fully charged and Oystercard loaded I meandered back to the station.
Having not a clue what to do with myself, I scanned the board, caught the next train and rode it to Westminster. Now I’ve seen all the government stuff before but there is just something about the sunshine that makes everything sparkle.
From Westminster I dwadled towards Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park . Tourists everywhere. Just like me today, noses pressed up against the palace gates trying to get the whole thing in the picture, parents taking children’s pictures and visa versa. Lots of cameras, tablets, and phones trying to capture that perfect holiday memory.
Leaving the hoards, I crossed the road into the park. Here the camera totting tourists took a break and joined the locals basking in the sun, enjoying the shade that the huge trees provided and watching their little ones splash around in the fountains. It didnt feel like London at all, the traffic noise was minimal and the birds could actually be heard tweeting!
Getting lost was my plan of action. I avoided maps and sign posts and just let my feet do the walking. I ended up at the other end of the park at the Hyde Park Corner station. After admiring the memorials that I wasn’t even aware we had – an Australian one and a Great War one – I hopped back on the tube and headed to the hostel to rest my weary feet and recharge the batteries – both mine and the cameras!
Batteries recharged, feet refreshed and the heat not so harsh I headed out to meet an old university friend I’d not seen in three years.
We live in a tiny country compared to somewhere like America or Australia, but it is still hard to meet up with people – the joy of jobs, houses, families – you name it, it gets in the way!!
Trooping back to the tube station I hitch a ride to Leicester Square to meet Jen. I arrived first and hunted down the meetig place – no where near the station she’d said! A quick phone call from Jen as she exited the underground had me walking back to my original starting point – although I did take a short cut through China Town 🙂
Finally reunited, Jen and I tracked down the TGI Fridays in Leicester Square and graced them with our presence whilst we enjoyed a nice meal and caught up on each others lives. Guts ready to burst we paid the bill and walked the long way around to Covent Garden (not deliberately – we may have gotten a little lost), down to the river and along to Westminster. Final goodbyes were said and we seperated on promises of keeping in touch more often.
Wearily I headed back to the hostel and crashed out in my creaky bottom bunk.