The run down….
- Train to London
- Met with our Contiki tour
- Introduction dinner
- Night bus tour of London
- Changing of the guards
- Hyde park
- Tower of London
- Brick lane
- Jack the ripper tour
- London Eye
- Oxford street
- M&M world
- Camden town
- West end show
My Contiki guide had this really interesting way of describing Paris as a person, to which I have taken on as a magnificent way to describe places, so one night in London as I sat in Parliament square eating mango chunks from Sainsbury I began to wonder how I would describe London and here it is.
London is like a man, not old yet not too young. He has an aura of class and sensibility. Old money who sticks by the rules yet still knows how to have a good time. He takes pride in his looks constantly renovating himself to look better.
Each street has it’s own charm and every corner tells a different story. He’s welcoming and open but has a closet full of secrets, with so many stories under his belt he is the old man you could sit and listen to forever.
In that moment I could have sat there forever, with Big Ben in front of me and the night coming to a close the skies were illuminated in a purple and pink display. Starting and ending in London, I couldn’t think of a better city.
* * *
The train ride from Sunderland to London was a short one in reality but in my mind felt like a lifetime. I was so eager to start exploring and just to be in London. A place I have dreamed of since I can remember. It was so real stepping on to the streets of London I felt like I was going to explode with happiness. Our hotel for the next few nights being situated right in Russel square we dumped our bags and headed out to explore before we had to meet up with our tour. Just walking around you can feel the energy in the air, even though we only had an hour we managed to stumble across Trafalgar square, Downing street, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, all close by making it a tourist jungle. With tourist shops every 50 meters there was no one you could ever forget you were in London.
After all the introductions and administrative stuff was over we were treated to a lovely dinner before piling into a very comfy coach where we were taken for a lovely tour of the city and given a brief history and run down of London. Even at night it sparkled with pride. Filled with excitement and anticipation the whole day by the time night rolled around I was exhausted on the first day.
I wish I could say waking up early to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham palace was worth it but after the first 5 minutes I just felt sorry for the poor guard who just wanted to go home after his shift. Not to mention the amount of people there, we got there an hour early and there were already people waiting. Trying to get out was a nightmare. Despite all this it was good to see and the horses were so cute. Next up we wandered Hyde park with only a short time before we had to meet up with our tour. Hyde park was one of my favourite places and became a regular visiting spot for me. It was so beautiful and filled with wild life and magical gardens. It was so peacful and green, I just fell in love. There is so much to see in Hyde park, on this occasion we only managed to find the Princess Diana Memorial fountain.
Taking the tube (which might I add Cailin and I became experts at) we met up with our tour to go into the Tower of London
which for me only meant I got to see the crown jewels woo! Seeing those jewels was totally worth the flight from Australia to England. The Queen has some serious bling. After Cailin dragged me away from the jewels and security wiped away all my drool and finger prints we explored the rest of the tower which was home to so much history and filled with battle scars, victories, sorrow and happiness all in one. I swear after these next few days I could have passed a history degree on London.
We ended the day with dinner in Brick lane, famous for having England’s best curry houses along with street art, before commencing our Jack the ripper tour which was fascinating and so real to stand in places where it all happened. Our guide was completely wrapped up in everything that came out of his mouth, you could feel the love he had for this story and that is what really makes a good tour. He got us to really put ourselves in the shoes of the people and made us listen with anticipation and eagerness which is very hard to do, especially when our Contiki guide has already promised all of us a drink at the pub after.
Our last day in London on the tour had us up early again and on our way to the London eye. The scariest part is not the height the ride takes you up to but actually getting on the ride as it doesn’t stop and even though it is going very, very, very slow I still had the feeling I would fall on my face. I didn’t! woo! The views were amazing and in my opinion the ride doesn’t go slow enough, I could have stayed up there for hours, but with so much more of London to see it was go time.
Traveling to Oxford street we commenced the best window shopping of our life. It really takes skill to walk down Oxford street, not because you have to dodge people as your face is plastered to all shop windows but serious mental and physical restraint not to go in and buy everything in the stores. Then the real fun began, M&M world.
(Tanya would not like to release any further comment on the amount of time and money she spent there nor will a definite figure every be released.)
It was magical and smelt like heaven.
Proceeding to Camden Town I didn’t think a town could represent my soul so accurate. It was a majestic place. Camden market was just endless rows of vintage and artsy stalls. If you ever need money to be spent I could get rid of it in less than 0.2 seconds at Camden market. Not only did I find a new jacket but a simplistic pearl ring which I have been searching for forever. Once again Cailin had to drag me away as we had a wonderful evening in West end waiting for us. We were given tickets to see Mamma Mia and despite having already seen it, it was a completely different experience with all of them having British accents.
Those first few days on the tour in London I knew right then and there we were in for something amazing. Being non-stop and taking so much in I also knew I had to brace myself and remember to stop and take it all in every now and then because if you don’t in the end you will only end up with a bunch of photos of places that are a blur. Sometimes I even stopped taking so many photos because seeing through your eyes rather than your lens is so much more beautiful.