Greetings from London!

London Travel Blog

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 Hello everyone! Here's my first trip update for you. We'll start from the beginning...of the most horrible flight of my life. The moment Vanessa and I reached our seats, an overpowering smell of BO was wafting on the breeze. The next 9 hours were to be spent trying to determine the source, which we decided had to be the English woman in the seat in front of us. Everytime she flipped a page in her magazine, we'd get a lovely breeze from under her arms. To add to it, the plane had no overhead air vents, meaning we had no chance of clearing the air in our space, and she had no chance of cooling off and airing out. Next, we'll talk about crying babies. 4 of them to be exact. And I use the word 'babies' loosly, since the worst of the 4 was at least 1 year old, and you should have heard the pipes on him. Screaming. For 9 hours. That kid did not sleep a wink, and neither did we. Finally, the only movie they showed was the second National Treasure...quite possibly the worst movie known to man. Besides the first one.
So, on to London! After being awake for about 24 hours, we arrived at our hostel with little to no trouble, thanks to my amazing direction-reading skills (and a fair bit of luck). The hostel is in an ok area, very close to an underground train station, which has been our main mode of transportation. Nothing too exciting to write about the hostel. We're in an 8-person room, but the most we've had in there so far is 5. We're the only ones who have stayed more than 1 night, which leads me to believe that there may be better hostels in London...but we figure we may as well get used to bad hostels now! The only major complaint I have is that there are no lockers for the backpacks, so they hide under the bed all day. Not the most secure location, but everyone seems to be doing it and no problems so far.
Day 1: So our first day in London, the major goal was to stay awake until London Bedtime (we arrived at 11am). Quite a daunting feat! We sorted through our stuff, got changed, and headed downtown (though Vanessa informed me that they don't call it downtown, she never told me what it IS called). We walked around for a few hours started raining. Not really shocking (it is London), but we were slightly unprepared for it in shorts and flipflops. After the first few drops fell, a sea of umbrellas opened up around us. It was like magic! My umbrella (and rain jacket) were conveniently located in my backpack at the hostel. Not quite as prepared as all these Londoners. So we decided to find some classic London fish and chips, and escape the rain for a bit. Unable to find any in the streets that were served in newspapers (is that only a myth?), we sat in a cute little restaurant and had it there. Mmmm. So greasy. Yet so good. They had about 10 different fish on the menu to choose from, and every person in there was having it, though there were other items on the menu. Tourists. In an attempt to find a store to buy a phone charger, we stumbled across a cinema playing sex and the city, and bought the only tickets left that were for 11pm. Ooooh man. At that point we'll have been awake for 45 hours. To waste time before the movie, we popped in to a pub called the Nags Head (I should mention that we've made it our mission to find the BEST English named pub in London). So far the list of names includes the Blue Lion, Chester Cheddar, Nags Head, and the Ship n Shovell. It seems like in order to name a pub here, you throw an adjective and an animal or inanimate object in a hat, and draw 2 of them. It applies to nearly every pub here. Anyways, after a few pints of beer we headed into the movie. 30 minutes after the start time, the commercials were ending and both Vanessa and I are fast asleep in our seats. We decide it may be a smarter investment to trade our tickets in for the next day. We do so, walk our tired asses back to the hostel, and sleep the most solid sleep ever. No thanks to the 50 Dutch kids staying in our hostel who had no issues with talking/laughing/screaming and slamming doors at 6am. Thank god for earplugs.
Day 2: We woke up at 8...then slept till 9, got ready and headed out. This time bringing our rainjackets with us. Not stylish, but very good for sitting on the open deck of a double-decker Big Bus. We went to meet the bus at the stop...and conveniently ran into a free walking tour of Buckingham Palace. The tour took us through some of the old palaces of London, and the guard happened to be practicing for presenting to the Queen, so we saw multitudes of different regiments marching around by the palace. Very cool. We got pictures with the Malasian Guard, then walked toward Buckingham palace. It was way too crowded to really go near it, but the view from outside was pretty spectacular. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable about British history, and very enthusiastic about his job (a little too enthusiastic sometimes...either stand far away or make sure you're wearing a rain jacket. He's a spitter). After that tour, we and an Aussy guy from the tour got on the Big Bus and headed down to Westminster Abbey. Vanessa will kill me, but I'm positive that the abbey will be the highlight of the trip for me. I have a thing for churches...the architecture, the history. This was amazing. The history in that place is incredible: coronations of kings going back hundreds of years, tombs of royals, Newton and Darwin's graves. The incredible amount of time and money that went into making such a beautiful building. I could go on for days, but all I'll say is: GO SEE IT. My words could never do it justice. After the abbey, we hopped on another bus to take us down to the London Eye (also the pier for the boat tour included in our Big Bus ticket). The eye was pretty amazing, but hardly worth the 17£ (roughly $35) ticket price. We skipped that for favor of actually eating in our last week of the trip. We hopped on the boat, and headed down to the Tower Bridge (not actually the London bridge as I thought. The London bridge is pretty boring, very plain). From here, we headed back to Trafalger square for a Ghost Tour. Apparently London is one of the most haunted cities in the world. This was not the appeal for us however: the tour also stops at several well-known London pubs! Now that's our kind of tour! I'm running out of time on the computer, but I'll sum the tour up in saying that we didn't see any ghosts, but we got quite tipsy and had a lot of fun being creeped out by tales of suicide and psycho killers. After the tour, a group of us decided to keep the tour going by having one drink in every pub we came to. The night ended in a club with just 4 of us troupers left in the group. We stumbled our way back to the hostel (though if Grama asks, we took a cab), and knocked out. Woke up with the WORST hangover of my life today (combination of not enough food, and too many different liquors). Too sick to go out this morning, so Vanessa headed out with our Aussy friend, and is soon coming back to meet up with me! I've thankfully stopped puking my guts out, and am ready for more adventure (but not beer) in day 3!
We still haven't got our phone hooked up, but I'll let you know the number when we do. Hope everyone is having fun in Canada and the US and Sweden! Lots of love from London!
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photo by: ulysses