June 13, 2011

London the Motherland

Getting around London is easy when you have the best guide!

Casey (my brave friend from my college days) decided to move to the motherland just six months ago. She's climatised to the ridiculous weather, got her head around the numerous transport systems, and knows all the best shopping and tourist locations. I don't think my London experience would have been possible without her. Firstly, two days before I was set to get on a plane she emailed to me precise directions to get to her house in Putney (including which trains to take, when to get off, and told me to avoid the expensive cabs)! The directions were easy enough (thank goodness - thanks Casey) however a warning to those travelling via underground trains - manourvering a suitcase is hard - there are barely any lifts!! Stairs and Escalators!! One good thing about being a tiny traveller with a massive suitcase is that complete strangers were eager to assist wherever possible! Londoners were nice, patient, and willing to cue! Plus the accent is to die for!

My weekend in London had been planned out for me thanks to Casey and her friend Emma. Day 1 consisted of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace (where we nearly saw the Queen), coffee at Trafalga Square, and ending the day with some shopping at the infamous Oxford Street. I have never seen so many Zara, H&M, TopShop, Gap, Aldo shops on the one street! Mind you we also got lost walking around London which was the best way to see the city. As we had to get ready for Lion King the Musical that evening we quickly got home (one hour bus ride home) then came back to arrive in West End. If you ever stop at Covent Gardens train station do not what so ever decide to take the stairs. They will kill you as it nearly did me. Be patient and wait for the lift. 193 steps is not worth it - especially in heels!!

Day 2 consisted of the big bus tour - if you are limited on time this is the best way to see the city and it's famous tourist locations. Despite the cold windy wet weather we soldiered on! Though there were times I just wanted to roll up and die out of sheer hyperthermia! (PS I am now sick and losing my voice due to this so called summer weather!!) We saw everything - in particularly Harrods, Downing Street, London Bridge (which we happened to see open and close and if you see it and it wasn't planned apparently it's good luck) St Paul's Catherdral, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye. Fun Fact - the phrase daylight robbery came from London where the government back in the day used to charge tax to the London citizens by how many windows they had in their home. So to limit the tax they had to pay they bricked up some of the windows.

Anyways I strongly suggest to those future travellers to check out this fine city. It's so rich in history, architecture and culture that you'd be crazy to miss. You might even see some naked protesters!! haha.

Paris tomorrow!!!

Freezing outside the Tower of London

Casey & I on Oxford Street

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