Thursday, June 23, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

I really wanted to love London having fallen head over heels for New York City and craving the big city vibe. Oh and how I do! London is awesome. Yes it’s expensive and yes it’s Summer so it's light and yes we’re doing all the tourist-y stuff but I don’t care, I love it here.

Our hostel is the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed at (more to come on that) and so we have a primal need to be away from the hostel at all times. If there was any city this could happen at, London is the best. So far we’ve managed 14 hour stretches away and never even noticed how late it was getting (thank you 10.30pm sunset) or been the slightest bit bored.

Aside from a we’re-hungry-and-went-the-wrong-way argument at the tail end of day one, every moment of the week so far has been great. I’m not sure that we started it the right way, although equally I’m not sure that we did it wrong either. We caught the tube to London Dungeons and spent several hours there. London Dungeons was awesome and the tube was fine, but the best part of the day was afterwards. We had no plans and did not want to go back to the hostel so we decided to catch the first double-decker bus we found and get off it when we saw something interesting. That something was Trafalgar Square, and after that we kept falling all over London landmarks like they were cracks in the pavement. We accidentally found Downing Street, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We got lost at the worst possible time - as it started raining - but we found our way back to the hole that is our hostel and settled in for the night.

Day two again just kind of fell into place. We saw the Changing of the Guard which is a much bigger fanfare than I ever thought it would be. Not only that but the freaking Queen left the palace as we were waiting and I saw her. Not a fan of the royals? I am. Soul Buddy is English so it's practically law. Either way the Queen and her 30-car security team made my day.

We then wandered to Hyde Park which is very close by. We lost ourselves in the expanses and then Courtney saw a fox. We don't have them at home so it's a very big deal and we semi-followed it until we came across a guy feeding squirrels. He very kindly gave us some nuts and we had the time of our lives getting squirrels to sit on our laps and even one on Courtney's shoulder, as a fox stalked them in the background. Hyde Park is the best place to possibly get lost and we could have spent all day there but it was off to London Dungeon and the London Eye which were both awesome, made even more so by the epic public transport system they have here. 

Not even a two hour trek to find the Hard Rock Cafe (thanks to wrong directions) which then turned out to be closed which then turned out to actually be open but too late could dampen our spirits because upon finding the 'closed' side of the restaurant we found the open shop and just in time to do a tour of the vault downstairs which amongst the treasures of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Madonna and Kurt Cobain, had Steve Vai's guitar and Freddie Mercury's chair, both of which us loser music fans could touch and take photos with. It was only after this, at 10pm at night, that we found the open side of the restaurant but by then we were spent and it was hometime.

All in all we've spent far more hours out of the hostel than in it and we're yet to lose interest. London wins.

PS. Photos on their way when the Wi-Fi at the hostel comes back on. For now we are in a cafe in Notting Hill, about to explore Portobello Road.