Tuesday, 22 October 2013

London Pt 1

6th January 2013
I had a lovely conversation with the man at Virgin Atlantic desk who seemed in awe of the fact that I travelled from Australia to USA and then to London to commence my travels in Europe. Actually, I had that comment from a lot of people. My logic is: heck, I am already on that side of the world, I may as well continue since a plane ticket in the future isn't exactly cheap.

I boarded the flight and was stuck in the middle seat on the window side. D'oh. Wedged in between two 18/19 year old girls. What I gathered was that a bunch of them were from a community college in Connecticut and were studying abroad at their school's London campus. Or 'campus'. Studying abroad is a really big thing in the US and there are so many programs, some quite legitimate (i.e exchange) and others ... well they seem somewhat flimsy.

The flight to London from JFK was a 6 hour flight and I did not sleep a wink. It was actually terrible since I dreadfully wanted to sleep but I was just in the limbo stage, but closer to the 'conscious' side of the spectrum. I landed and raced to pick up my checked luggage with the intention of beating the lines at immigration. No such luck. My bag was one of the last to arrive. At immigration, the woman was so cold. Actually, she asked me so many questions in addition to the usual ones: how much money do you have, do you have a return ticket, why are you here, do you have family here, why did you come alone, are you travelling with anyone, why are you travelling alone. Finally, I passed immigration (actually the stamp from Customs is barely there. Seriously, if you squint you can see a faint trace of the stamp).

By this stage, I was exhausted. I had been awake for around 26hours and when I landed in London, it was 8am which the travel agent had specifically selected since it would give me a whole day in London. Good idea, if I actually slept on the plane. I caught the Tube to my hostel at Palmer's Lodge Swiss Cottage which was AMAZING. The dorm was a 20-something or 30-something shared dorm. BUT the room was ginormous and not only that, each bunk bed was super sturdy and constructed so that each bed was a cubby, with a curtain and everything.

I left my hostel and headed to the centre of London to see the typical highlights: Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace etc. The weather was so dreary. It was foggy or raining, I was not entirely sure. Or misting might have been the correct term. It didn't seem to be raining, but I felt water on my face every step I walked which was bizarre.

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Buckingham Palace

As previously mentioned, I was terribly terribly tired. So tired that I felt as though I was sleepwalking if that makes sense. An Irish guy stopped me when I was on some random street and asked me, "did you get that scratch from rock climbing?'. The skin on my face had largely healed (thank goodness) but I still had one scab/healing part on my left cheek. I told him no and then he asked where I was from and I answered and then I said, "what do you recommend seeing in London" and he told me to follow him and his friend from Perth (allegedly). So I followed. I actually had no idea where he was going to take my, but I didn't particularly care. We ended up at Trafalgar Square (which I had just been to). 

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The strangest conversation. We somehow got onto the topic of new years resolutions and also, "this may seem like a random question, but do girls know when they are about to get their period?". Weird and random question, but I answered it nonetheless!

We then parted (perhaps I was too boring) and by this stage it was 4pm so I decided to head back to the hostel. I ended up sleeping at 6pm and slept until 8am the next day. Whoops.

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