The British Museum
Who would have thought sleeping on a plane could be so comfortable? This morning when I woke up we were around Iceland and they were serving breakfast. We landed in London
at 9:43 and while they announced our arrival they also called 2 names to go to the baggage claim desk. One of those names was mine and the other was the couple I flew with from Jacksonville. I went to the baggage claim desk and I was told that my baggage wasn't on the plane with me. Just freaking peachy. I explained the situation as nicely as possible but I was a little ticked off. Here I was in a foreign country with no damn clothes. Actually, that's not even the part that irked me. The fact that I was lied to and told that my stuff wouldn't be pulled off the plane and it was anyhow is what pissed me off.
The Rosetta Stone
The other couple that had the same problem arrived just after me and told the personnel the same exact story as I did. We were told our baggage was routed to Chicago and we would have it delivered to our hotels the next day. Peachy. I wasn't even slated to be in London tomorrow. I'll be in Bath
At the airport I changed over some money and found the underground. I boarded and no sooner did I sit down did they announce the tube was shut down because someone was "seriously ill" on the train ahead. They suggested we pick up the underground at another terminal. I tried to find it but got lost and retraced my steps to the original tube When I got there the subway was up and running.
I took the Piccadilly Line straight to Russell Square and found my hotel before venturing off to the British Museum.
I followed Rick Steves' Tour which highlighted the Egyptian, Assyrian and Greek exhibits. I saw Ramses' Head, Ginger (the best preserved mummy) as well as the Rosetta Stone. Afterwards I went across the street for a "proper coffee" at Starbucks. I walked with coffee in hand to find the Contiki Basement and check out what that was all about. I sat in Russell Square with my frappucino until 2:00 when I could check into the Imperial Hotel. My room was a big surprise. I was supposed to have a double share, but I was pleased to find a single bed.
After I dropped off my bags I rushed back to the Piccadilly Line and visited Piccadilly Circus.
I snapped some photos and visited the Virgin Record store there in the square. Then I went to Hyde Park. I didn't realize how huge the place was. It's mammoth! I got off at the Hyde Park Corner stop and walked across to Speaker's Corner and the Marble Arch. It seemed as though the entire kingdom was there rollerblading, playing soccer (football in the UK) or making out on the lawn.
At 6 o'clock I met up with my group. Finally! At our pre-departure meeting we discussed the excursions for tomorrow, signed in and then headed down to dinner in a connecting restaurant. Our group is small being at only 29 people and some of them weren't even there. I was expecting around 50 and thought most would be Aussies and Kiwis.
This wasn't the case. So far I had only met one Aussie (Lee). But I haven't met quite everyone. At dinner I primarily talked with Lee (Australia), Greg (Canada), Pedro (Brazil) and Isaac (US). Everyone seemed really nice so far.
9 o'clock rolled around and we all met up in the lobby and walked to Covent Garden. Since it was St. Patrick's Day the square was packed with drunk people. Our Tour Manager Michael left us and we were left to decide what to do. Francis, Gary, Elle, Angie, Greg, Jennifer, Fida, Adam and I all went off to Piccadilly Circus to see it lit up. Since I had been there before I led the way.
A St. Patty's Day Portrait
From here we parted ways. Francis, Gary, Angie, Greg, Fida and I all decided to stay out and the rest went back to the hotel to sleep. I wasn't in Europe to sleep, I was there to have a good time. We went into some random punk rock Australian pub and had a few drinks. Skynards "Sweet Home Alabama" came on and everyone shouted and cheered. I thought only folks from Jacksonville did that since they band is from our city.
At the spur of the moment I wanted to go see Big Ben and Parliament all lit up. Greg, Angie, and Fida joined me. By the time we made it there we only had a few minutes before the last tube of the night came. As soon as we emerged from the station the massive structure stood over us. It was unbelievable! We hopped on the Circle line to get home.
So far we had already been serenaded by a drunk on the way to Big Ben. On the way home we met Alan and Will two Brits. They were on a St. Patrick's' Day Pub Crawl. They had to stay on the Circle Line stopping at every stop and having a drink at a pub. On the tube they weren't allowed to touch the subway car at all. It was humorous.
We got back to the hotel at 1:10 and I requested a 7:00 wake up call so I could make it down on time for breakfast before heading off to Bath and Stonehenge. My first day in London was amazing, despite not having any luggage.
Sights Seen: China Town, Little Italy, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben , Parliament, British Museum, Covent Garden
Expenditures: 2.55£ Starbucks, 3.50£ for Baileys, 4.00£ for Tube Pass.
London Sights & Attractions review
Big Ben is the largest four-faced turret clock in the world. It is located in London, England at the eastern side of the House of Parliament. The t… read entire review