My Lovely, Lovely Night in London.
By Jen Lewis
London cannot be seen in one night. It simply cannot. However, I tried my best and made a splendid night of it! A return trip is absolutely necessary though, this town is fantastic! Firs thing I got excited about? Driving on the wrong side of the road! So exciting. And these signs are the only reason I haven't gotten hit by a bus...
First things first—where am I now? I am currently sitting in the Heathrow airport, near gate 39. There is, of course, no free wifi (what is WRONG with this airport??), but I'll post this up once I get to San Francisco. My flight leaves in two hours, so I've got time to kill. (why did people tell me to come three hours early??) I just ate a lemon poppy seed muffin, and my caramel latte has no caramel in it. I don't know why I keep buying coffee here, it's all been horrid.
Quick note... these signs are the only reason I didn't get hit by a bus...
So! London! I love this city. My flight came in at five, and I got to my hotel probably around seven. I then took the tube (underground? I was told foreigners couldn't call it the tube) innnnnnto Central London. I was on it for maybe 45 minutes, when I arrived at the Green Park exit.
I got out, and WOW. It just... felt like London. I was (am) in London. I was seriously walking around with a stupid grin on my face, just amazed at the fact that I was wandering the streets of London alone at 8 at night! Lovvvvvvvvve it!
I stopped in at a Starbucks to order a coffee (ew, ew, ew), and ask where the Ritz hotel was. My tour didn't start until 9:20, but I wanted to get my bearings first. THEN... I walked to Buckingham Palace. Oh.my.gosh. Standing in front of the palace doors, seeing the single light on inside the palace, looking up at the tribute to Victoria... just BEING there was amazing.
I can't believe I'm leaving. Why am I leaving?? Why would I want to go back to America right now???
Ahhh, anyway. Traded pictures with a cute little family (oh, the disadvantages of traveling alone), and then it really started to pour. It'd been misting, but it got serious. My cardigan, long skirt and TOMS were not a great combination for London weather. I'll dress better next time.
I walked back through the park (ohhhh, it is SO green!), and to Piccadilly street. I wandered up and down for a bit, but it was getting close to my tour time, so I stayed near the Ritz hotel. I did get to see the street with all the flags from all the countries participating in the Olympics. Pretty cool.
Then the tour! It was an open top bus, which was... wet. Definitely fun, though. Half the top was covered, so I divided my time between covered and uncovered areas. I don't think I'd be able to recreate the tour in a blog post, so I'm just going to throw a bunch of my pictures up, and let you see what it was like! Definitely SUPER fun, and a hilarious guide. A lot of humor about the royal family that I didn't understand...
When the tour guide heard that I had to get all the way back to the Sheraton Heathrow, he offered me a lift. He was a super nice old man, but it sounded like exactly the thing I'm NOT supposed to do when visiting a foreign city, ya know? So instead of getting a ride with the nice old man, I took the tube back at eleven, stood at a bus stop at midnight, and got home at 1215. Was that the right thing to do? I don't know. But I definitely don't mind riding the tube—I've never been on a subway before! Ohhh, I like traveling alone!
Then I got home, got online, did some stuff, drank a beer that my sister recommended (um, EW, Tif! Apparently, I'm not a beer person. Good to know...?), and went to bed around maybe.... 2:30? I don't know what my thinking was there, because I had to get up at six, but whatever!
This morning, I got everything together and took the bus back to Heathrow... got through everything and here I am! Waiting! I thought my gate was 39, but it's actually 49, so I'm going to have to move down a bit. It's so interesting looking at my ticket, because it leaves London at 10:35 and arrives in San Francisco at 1:35. Three hour flight? Not quite. Oh time zones, you make my life so difficult!
So that's that! I'm going to load up on snacks for the flight, and hopefully sleep/watch movies the whole time. I should try sleeping, but I don't think it'll work. Because that coffee is making me jitttttery!
I'll post this once I arrive in San Francisco, and I'll get home tonight at 530! I'm excited/freaked out that I'm going home... how do I go back to normal after having all these amazing experiences! This is only the first step, so many more adventures await. Anyway, that's all. See everyone back home soon!