Europe 2017: London Part 1

Posted by Mike Merritt in Uncategorized on

Hello from London! So far, mostly so good. My adventure started off on April 1 (no joke) with a bus ride from Hartford and then a shuttle to and flight from Boston Logan. Boston has done a good job getting people from the bus terminal to South Station, so props to them for that. No real trouble at Logan, except the flight was delayed 20 minutes. I even got an aisle seat in a nine seat row, so that was very nice since the Crohn’s was acting up a bit.

Passport control wasn’t bad at all, though getting though it took about an hour. Had some slight trouble at Gatwick Station accessing my ticket. I guess with my ticket, it is mobile only and I hadn’t downloaded it to my phone! Finally asked someone about the issue but their Internet was a bit shoddy. Eventually got my ticket and was off.

No such issues with the Underground to my hostel. It was very easy to get a ticket. Like with all subways, it takes a moment to learn it, but it was not too bad to figure out. After six hours in London, got to the hostel and settled in a bit.

I then took off to see some sights, starting with Trafalgar Square. Lots of people milling around there and going to the National Gallery.

I spent a little time there and then headed down to the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. Despite the recent attack, there were a lot of people. I took a walk around the entire building and also took a look at the London Eye. Waited there until night to get a photo of the lit up building.

After that, I was tired as heck, what with being up since 9am on Saturday. Therefore, I headed back to my room for a nice sleep, albeit with a glance over at the Prime Minister’s residence and a trip part way across another bridge.

The next day I spent exploring the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. For the castle, definitely an interesting history, from its use as a home and a fortress, to its darker side as a place for torture and imprisonment, and a holding place for the Crown Jewels. I’d definitely visit again because it seemed like there was some things I missed, just looking at the architecture alone.

The Bridge was alright as well, with a fantastic history, though I’ve seen similar attractions elsewhere. Wasn’t there for a bridge lifting experience but I’d like to see one if I get back to London when one is scheduled. After that I ended up getting almost lost in the Shad-Thames area. It might have been just me getting claustrophobic from narrow streets, but it seems like an area that’s misleadingly sketchy. As I now know, it’s an area with many wealthy residents. 

I’d like to have explored it more but wanted to get to Buckingham Palace, so I turned back. I got back to Westminster and headed down to the Queen’s house.

No sight of the Queen but I did catch a guard-changing ceremony (not one of the main big ones, just literally one guard being relieved).

 I only spent a short time there, given the length of the train ride and walk but wanted to get back to the hostel to sleep before an early morning Eurostar trip. I cut through St. James Park to get to its station, where I had the weirdest experience.

One of the pelicans that resides there started marching toward me and yelling. I’d just been eating a snack, so I expect that had something to do with it, but I had nothing for it and wasn’t going to feed it, anyway. It didn’t hassle me after I went past it, though, and I continued on my way. Got to the station and headed back and prepared my stuff and showered.

I was still kind of dozing off from a long three days of travel and sight seeing, so you might think I slept well that night. No such luck. Got about four hours of sleep and couldn’t get back to it. So I uploaded some photos, checked some emails, and made sure my Eurostar ticket was downloaded onto my phone (lesson learned).

Got up, checked out, and Undergrounded it toward King’s Cross St. Pancras. Now I’m headed toward my next stop in Belgium. I’ll be back in London for one more day at the end of the trip, so hope to do a bus tour and maybe the British Museum. All in all, I think a longer future trip to the UK is warranted.

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