OK OK. So the blog title is very cliche and lame. But Can you blame me. London has been calling my name for about 6 months now, so I am very excited, and seeing as the clash are one of my favourite bands well its only a display of affection.
Arriving in at Heathrow, I was dreading the customs hall and waiting forever. Luckily, seeing as we were one of the first flights in it was pretty quick. Though I did get a bit of a grilling from the customs lady or maybe I was just half asleep still as she spoke. The whole customs took a total of about 10 minutes. I was stoked. Then came the baggage carousel. I’m waiting and waiting….everyone in my flight just happened to get there bags. I’m thinking ‘Gee what have they done/found in my bag’.
It finally came and I was out, the duty free area was balls. A 10 by 10 metre square of the usual alcohol, cigarettes and perfume and out into England. Not exactly what I expected from a major airport.
I was half expecting someone I knew to be there…,.though that never happened. All my friends that are in London were over in the Alps skiing. Yeah I didn’t plan this trip too well did I. I was starving, and I thought you know one of the biggest airports is bound to have something decent to it. Boy was I wrong….Starbucks. and whatever they served in WH Smith. which wasn’t a lot. So breakfast basically sucked.
It was still dark when I caught the bus into Paddington Station – 7am. The bus was fairly thin….but that wouldn’t be unusual for a xmas morning bus service. It was still fairly dark when I got into London Paddington….and the Trek to the hostel begins.
I am a taken back by when I hit Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. Literally gobsmacked. I guess it actually hit me that I was in a foreign country. I can’t believe how good this little bit of parkland is…there is no one around but a handful of people walking their dog or going for a run. It is absolute bliss….Though I don’t stick around for long and I just get stuck into walking over to the Albert Hall where my hostel is near.
The hostel I am staying at is quite nice. I cannot get to my room til later in the day though, so I ditch my bags and have some breakfast and a few coffees to warm myself up.
Now christmas in London is pretty quiet. I decide to do a London Xmas Day walk from Trafalgar Square, only problem is that there is no public transport. So I decide to walk all the way.
Making my way I walk through Hyde Park, down Constitution Hill, Buckingham Palace, and up towards Trafalgar. I’m pretty overawed by everything. Hyde Park, only a few hours later still has that killer blow for me. Its quiet and peaceful with the trees laid bare and hardly anyone out and about. Its amazing. The camera gets a real work out as well. But to me I think even though I saw these as a kid with my parents – seeing it by myself with only a handful of people just proves how lucky I am to be doing this.
The day has turned out to be pretty good – its not hot but its sunny. I’m quite surprised by this. The images you see when you think of London or Europe during winter is cold and snow. But this is nice, I can manag
e this. I make it to Trafalgar Square and its quite quiet around.
Anyway, I take a London Walking tour on Christmas Day. It’s basically about Samuel Pepyps – a diarist from way back when. It’s quite a cool little walk, though a little crowded mind you. It is so packed they spli
t us into 2 groups. But the walk was quite interesting. We basically went down Charign Cross and around Westminster. It was rather cool too see little back alleys and that.
I was famished – and nothing was really open. Except one of those bad old corner stores you crave at 4am in the morning for a good old meat pie. It wasn’t great but it got me some food. And I also managed to snag some beers for Christmas dinner. So all in all a good day.
Christmas dinner was, well interesting, mainly cause I knew a total of about 0 people. It really did not feel like christmas, but I did meet a few awesome people. So not all is lost. I start to hit that jet lag wall at about 10 and crash. Then get woken up by a drunken stumbler around about 3amish….oh well. First night of a year long trip cannot be too disappointed really.