EuroTrip 2008 Days 1&2 (London)

London Travel Blog

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Big Ben
DAY 1:
Woke up this morning off 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Well, that’s how long I laid in bed, at least. Last night went to a bar with a few friends as a little bon voyage type deal. After that was done, ended up doing a late night dinner with another friend till about 3:30 or so. Anyways, woke up this morning excited as hell! All I could think of was the fact that in a few hours, I would be thousands of miles away experiencing new cultures, sights, and experiences. It almost seemed surreal to me that something that I had been planning on for so long was finally coming to fruition.

After taking care of some last minute packing, my mom and sister went to see me off at the flyaway. For those of you that don’t know what the flyaway is, it’s a VERY convenient service that has buses go to and from LAX and the valley.
Parliament
Also, their station just happens to be a couple blocks away from my house J
Ended up getting to the airport at about 11am or so. A little over 3 hours before my flight was to depart. I was still a little nervous at this point because my ticket had me on standby status. Granted it was a buddy pass, but still……. It meant there was no guaranteed seat for me at that point.

After checking in, I had the customary meal and a few beers. Theyre a must before flying! Haha. Anyways, luck would have it, there were plenty of seats on the plane! I looked down and my ticket said “business class”. “HELL YEAH!” I thought to myself. However, upon walking up to the gate, the gentleman informed me I could not sit in business class because I had tennis shoes on. DAMNIT! In my haste, I had totally forgotten there was a dress code for business class on buddy passes =/ Either way, I still lucked out, because the seat they gave me, had 2 empty seats next to me

The flight was pretty uneventful for the most part.
Buckingham Palace
I watched a mediocre movie (vantage point) and there was some turbulence when we flew over Colorado, but nothing too bad. After taking some sleeping pills, I knocked out for a few hours.

DAY 2:
Ok, I know what you’re saying. I’ve only been gone 1 day and I have 2 days on my blog. For simplicity’s sake, since I woke up here and it was June 5th, I decided to call this day 2. So after taking a nap on the plane, landed in London Heathrow Airport about 30 minutes early. When does that ever happen!?!??! Going through customs was a breeze. Also, bought my unlimited Oyster card. It basically allows me to use all the public transportation as much as I want while I’m out here.
Since I plan on going EVERYWHERE, I think it was a good deal (26 pounds). I think you get 3 pounds back once you turn the card in.

So upon hopping on the tube, I heard the ever famous “mind the gap” over the speaker system. At first I found it amusing, but after a couple stops, it gets REALLY annoying because they repeat it over, and over, and over, and over again.

Getting to the hostel was relatively easy. Luckily it was only about a 1/4 mile from the Great Portland Tube station. I got there, paid, etc. However, since I got there way before check-in time, they said I could not go into my room for a few hours, but that I could keep my bag in the luggage storage room.

So here the moment FINALLY came. The time where I was ready to explore the crap out of London.
Changing of the guard
I plan to leave no stone unturned in my 5 days here.
I started off with Buckingham Palace.It’s been Britain’s royal residence since 1837. It’s pretty wild because the palace was pretty much how I pictured it. However, I’ve seen it in a million pictures before, so no real surprise there. I was there for the changing guard which was different. It was entertaining at first, but dragged on for a while. I ended up leaving before it was done. As you’ll see in the pictures, first a group of guards marches up, then the head guard (or whatever he’s called) yells some commands. The weird thing is, at one point he just walks back and forth from the palace wall to the gate. He did sets of like 7 or 8 times each time he did that.
It was pretty annoying. Afterwards, a band in red came out, then a band in white and green came from the street side into the font area of Buckingham palace. Then guards on horses came into the fray. At this point, the crowd of people was so massive that I got annoyed and just decided to take off. I crossed the street and took some pics of statues and stuff (I’ll add pics asap).

Oh, before I forget. While watching the changing of the guard, I spotted this guy trying to pick pocket this other older man. I didn’t know if he knew English or not, so I just kind of yelled “HEY!” and the guy turned around and caught him in the act. Needless to say, a serious ass whooping ensued. Sucks for him, but was amazingly entertaining for me. I’ve been laughing about it all day.

While wandering aimlessly around the city, I went down and all of a sudden I just looked up and BAM! There it was.
One of the most famous iconic buildings in the world. The House of Parliament in all its glory. This is London’s famous neo-Gothic landmark topped by “Big Ben”. Well, people tend to think the clock itself is named Big Ben, but in fact, it’s the bell inside that’s the actual Big Ben.

After taking a ridiculous amount of pics of that same thing (haha), I wandered around and ended up on the other side of the Thames River (or River Thames how they call it here. Crazy British peeps getting things backwards! Hehe jk jk). While perusing the area I came across a Dali exhibit. Anyone that knows me, knows Dali is my FAVORITE artist. His style is just so tripped out, it gets the mind working. The entrance was kind of pricy for the size of the exhibit (12pounds or about 24 dollars), but oh well.
Cop on a horse.


After getting my fair share of Dali and some Picasso, I headed towards the London Eye. Since the weather was great (sunny and about 70 degrees) I figured it’d be a good way to get my bearings of the city, so I can visualize it better in my head. Also got some decent shots of Parliament from a higher Vantage Point. Also, since London is known for it’s HORRIBLE weather, figured I’d take advantage while I could.

Anyways, right now, it’s around 3pm and I’m hanging out in a park people watching. It’s pretty wild because you can SOOOOOO spot out Americans. I don’t know whether to laugh or be ashamed haha. They’re “different” for sure. Anyways, I’m going to head back to the hostel to check into my room. I’m in dire need of a shower and a change of clothes.
I love Dali, so I checked out the Dali exhibit while in London.


I’ll try to update later on today if I have some time. I’m going to hit up a pub-crawl with some people from the hostel, so should be good times. Talk to you later and miss you all! :)

UPDATE: So after I last typed a recap on my computer I headed back to the hostel. I hung out there for a little bit and met one of my roommates. Song is a chill guy from Chicago via Korea. He's an architect over there. So we decided to go grab a bite to eat at this Greek spot down the street. The filet mignon was pretty tasty. After a good meal, we ended up going to a pub and chatted about all kinds of stuff with locals over a few pints. I must say though, Song is a lightweight! hahha.

Anyways, I met some interesting characters. There was Phillip, a French guy living in London for work.
London Eye
I also met one of his buddies and a Professor from Baylor University. After a while, decided to go back to the hostel and get ready for the evening. I ended up meeting two fellas from New York. The three of us headed to Piccadilly Circus to check out some bars/clubs. Danced/drank the night away. Also met a group of local girls that we hung out with. After the club, we went back to Laura's "flat" and hung out. I ended up getting back to the hostel around 6am. Now here I am at 10, ready to go out and explore some more! That's it for now, hopefully I'll be able to blog tonight. Until then :)
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Big Ben
Big Ben
Parliament
Parliament
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Changing of the guard
Changing of the guard
Cop on a horse.
Cop on a horse.
I love Dali, so I checked out the …
I love Dali, so I checked out the…
London Eye
London Eye
Regal Lion
Regal Lion
You know I love me some undergroun…
You know I love me some undergrou…
View of Parliament and I from the …
View of Parliament and I from the…
Holy crap, Im finally in London!
Holy crap, I'm finally in London!
Straight cheesing with Parliament …
Straight cheesing with Parliament…
Buckingham Palace and I
Buckingham Palace and I
London
photo by: ulysses