London Town

London is the city that captivated me first when I was 19 years old leaving home to live on my own for the first time. It was the first time I had the opportunity to really travel alone, and it was really eye opening.

London is a spectacular place. It’s rather safe for women, compared to most megacities, and I certainly find a similarity in St. John’s, and London customs. Though, I’m really into the brown leather shoes and navy suit combo in London moreso than the overalls and mucked up boots in St. John’s.

London definitely didn’t disappoint when I was 19, and it has never ceased to amaze me since. This is my second time in London in the past three months – so eveidently, I have a love for the city.

This time when I was in London was a little different because I was attending in part for a conference (post about that to come later), and in another part to visit some amazing friends I had made while there for three weeks in august who were returning to Australia soon.

I stayed at the astor hyde park, and honestly, not really a fan. It was directly on a 24 hour tube line, which was great for going out on the weekends, but, it was pretty darn dirty. I needed a shower after taking a shower kinda dirty. Plus, the staff were awfully rude.

After the conference ended Thursday, I met up with some friends and we went out to a party at fabric. A must go to if you’re interested in the night-life in London. It was a special party for some DJ, which went on til 7 am. My friends and I left around 4, as 7 was just not happening for any of us. Of course, after getting the drunken McDonald’s, taking the underground to the right stop, and chatting with someone special back home, It was nearing 6am when I hit the hay

The next day was sadly wasted mostly on sleeping, and when I did meet with my friends again to go to Winter Wonderland, the line up was so long we were going to miss the comedy show at angel comedy we had planned on checking out. But of course, we were also late for the comedy show, and we had plans to meet with some other friends around 10 to eat food, drink and listen to music at their apartment in Canary Warf – a place I’d definitely recommend checking out if you’re interested in checking out the suburbs of London.

Though, I did treat myself to a Lunch and Gym date and got to see St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was absolutely phenomenal. There’s really something about seeing the images we google searched as kids in real life. The fact that people get to live and work near there, is even more phenomenal. My eyes would hurt with the vast richness of art and beautiful architecture I’d be taking in.

London is interesting in that there is so much to do but so little time. While there for three weeks over the summer, I didn’t even get to see Kensington palace, Buckingham palace, or the tower of London.

I could never encompass the things you should do in London in one post, often, ive missed out on the mega touristy things in London just for the opportunity to check out a few of the small things and explore the town on my own terms.

Of course, going to see the imperial war museum, or Camden market, or the church street market, or any of the plethora of things that lonely planet will tell you to do is exactly something you should do  – I want to tell you about the real London. The one I experience most everytime I come back. It’s tantalizing and intoxicating culture, its 24/7 party vibe, it’s big spenders, and its residents.

Last time I was in London, I was single, and had plenty of party to attend to. Now, it’s a little different, but that doesn’t mean it’s not all of the things I just described. I have been blessed to meet so many amazing, phenomenal people, from all over the world – right here, in London.

London became an especially strong place after all of the terror attacks it’s been feeling threat of. Over the summer, I met a group of young Londoners who explained that before the attacks, they felt safe to wander the streets alone any time of day or night after any amount of drinks. But, after an increase in both acid attacks and terrorist attacks, there’s a real concern for many young women who want to partake in the London after hours life.

Returning this time, it seems as if there is less fear of acid attacks, but still the same sense of community that doesn’t like to see any one of their own, or anyone who is visiting get hurt. I am always reminded when I come to London, that being a global citizen IS possible. You’ve just gotta go to the right places, and hopefully, meet the right people.

My global community started in London. With friends scattered all across the US, Europe, Australia, and god knows where else because they all cannot stand to be in one place for longer than two seconds.

London is far more than an overnight stop, or a weekend trip, it is its own world that can never fully be discovered.

 

UK and Ireland Adventures Day 1

The first day of our trip is over and it was a great success.

Myself and my travel companions left St John’s at 10:00 NST time, the plane only had 38 passengers . I was able to have an entire row to myself . The flight was uneventful with a little turbulence but over all a smooth flight.  International flights are always better for food, they fed us a sandwich, and then breakfast in the am . Heathrow is as busy as always but we had no  delays getting off the plane or going though immigration. Our ride in to London took an hour, as we arrived right in the middle of rush hour.   The hotel is most impressive , staying at the Hilton near Edgware Road, beautiful hotel and service has been fantastic, the stay are their to help you do what ever it is you need. We had a rest once we got checked in, so a short nap was in order.   After our nap we went our exploring and ended up eating in this local diner , the food wasn’t to bad. After exploring the neighbourhood a little more , we  quickly realized that the standard maps app for the  iPhone is absolute rubbish. After a late lunch we headed back to the hotel for another break, to recharge my electronics and to download google maps which is so much better , its like night and day. After another rest and some chatting about possible plans for tomorrow we headed out again and had supper at a lovely pub.  I had a meal of fish and chips ,and a pint of Kronenburg 1664.  After a late supper it was time to call it a day. Tomorrow is a free day, with the exception of a  themes river boat and pub tour tomorrow night.
The adventure has just begun .

London Pictures

1699256093516992535935These are various pictures of my trips to London at different times!

 

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South By Sea and the Isle of Wright: The Real England, Part 1

The south of England and Portsmouth are absolutely beautiful. It’s how I had always pictured England. It’s amazing that it’s December 7th and the grass is still as green as it would be in July.

Today I had a walk around Portsmouth. What a busy place. Lots of people out doing their Christmas shopping. There are lots of signs of the Christmas season, including a Salvation Army band playing in the square. It really puts you in the mood for the holiday season.

I will post videos once my phone syncs to iCloud.

They also have traditional butcher shops over there. This is truly England. The big corporations haven’t taken over completely yet, thankfully.

I also went over to the Isle of Wright (they say it as “white”) today, by way of a hovercraft. That was pretty neat and took only 10 minutes. There was a lot to see over there but I only spent a few hours. I mainly just had something to eat and then walked around the shopping area and came back.

I had to change hotels tonight and I wanted to get back so I could get to it in daylight and see the area before it got too dark. Turns out I’m in the middle of nowhere.

I’m heading back to London tomorrow so I’ll be able to post some more pictures then.

Hello London

Well, exams are over and I have exactly one week until I go home. I’m currently in London for just a few hours before I head to South By Sea, on the south coast of England. If anyone has seen the episode of Mr. Bean where he goes on vacation (it’s called “Mr. Bean in Room 426”), that’s the hotel I’m staying at tonight. £60 for the night, which I thought was pretty good–must be low season.

This was the hotel:
(picture coming soon)

Not very many signs of Christmas from what I can see in London yet. Not overly surprised, as the area I am in is full of shops. This was the only sign I saw of Christmas when I was in London yesterday.

I spent most of the day in London and had lunch at a pub around Edgware Road called the Green Man. They have the best burgers ever! I highly recommend.

I arrived at South By Sea in the dark, at 05:00 in the day. Very weird for it to be dark so soon.

Next entry will be entirely on South By Sea.

Coming soon:

A summary of the term of field trips that we went on during our Wednesday trips; also a more in-depth summary of our three main trips to Paris, Edinburgh and Brussels.

A three part series called “A Look at the Real England.”

First London Trip

This was supposed to be posted a couple of days ago but I am only now getting around to it.

This was a really busy weekend, but very rewarding. It was two days of nonstop go go go go.

On Friday we got to London at around 5:00. Getting there was a bit of an adventure, as we missed the first train and the second was cancelled. Then another train came along so we got on, only to discover it was the wrong one. It worked out, however, because it stopped at another station that actually connected up with the London Underground. When we got in to London we found our hostel and got checked in, then walked around Buckingham Palace as it was close to our hostel only to get stuck in a downpour. Both me and my buddy Mark got soaked right though. To make matters worse we had no umbrella.

We had an early night Friday as we were up really early Saturday morning.

Saturday

  • Got our London Pass
  • Looked around Trafalgar Square
  • Went to Westminster Abbey
  • Went to Churchill War Room
  • Took a boat ride up the river
  • Visited Tower of London
  • HMS Belfast (NOT WORTH IT)
  • Had some supper
  • Walked around some more
  • Took the boat back so far and headed back to our hostel

Sunday

  • Early rise
  • Went out to Windsor
  • Saw Windsor Castle (very impressive)
  • Looked around some more of London
  • Went to a bookstore
  • Got our bags and headed back

It was a long weekend. Now I’m back in Harlow getting a head start on the week ahead as next weekend will be even busier.

I won’t reveal too much now but I am going to one place on this earth that I love, Switzerland. The hope is to take a train though the Alps. More on this in the days to come.