England 2003 - Solo Europe, Part 1

England Travel Blog

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by the Thames

After thinking and talking about it for a while, my trip to Europe is finally happening. I would be traveling for around 10 days, visiting London and Paris. This was the first time to Europe since 1994, when I went to Greece. So it has been 9 years, and first time to these places. This entry will be the first part of the trip, to England, which is part of the United Kingdom.

I had to make sure that I got my passport was renewed and up-to-date, and did all that ahead of time. When the time came, I arrived at Heathrow, and chose to take the Tube into town. Big mistake, as it took like forever to get there. I checked into St. Christopher's Hostel, which was above a pub.

near the Tower Bridge
It was too noisy that I ended up changing hostels. I did stay in a bed and breakfast, which was really nice, near Victoria Station.

I did the double-decker, hop-on, hop-off bus tour around the city. I thought it was informative and interesting, and got me to sights around the city. And I made sure I did at least one complete loop, to see the various landmarks along the way. It was hard to decide to do which one next, as there was so much to do in London. I also did the River Thames cruise, which was just as informative. I would say, both were worth doing it.

I did visit a few museums, like the National Gallery, Tate Britain, and the War Cabinet Rooms. I did briefly stopped by the British Museum, but just did not have the time to see it all the way through. And never got around to coming back to it. Same goes for the British Library and Westminster Abbey.
by a guard
I did visit Tower Bridge at the top, which was okay, but not really as great as I thought.

I did see some guards, who just stood absolutely still. That's really remarkable to do that. There are times when I just wanted to make faces at them, basically acting like Homer Simpson. I think Homer got punched for doing that, but I don't recall. :D

I did spend some time, meeting up with some people. One of them lived outside the city center, and I had to take one of the regular trains to get to their place. The other came to Victoria Station, and we just hung out for an hour. It was not easy, as I had to rely on a calling card to reach them, and look for pay phones that actually worked.

There was one day when I did take a trip outside of London, getting to see another side of England. I booked with a tour, to take me to Stonehenge and Bath.
at Stonehenge
I went to Victoria Station, but later learned that the bus left at another station. So I ended up running like crazy. I did make it on time, and on my way.

The countryside looked very nice, as I was seeing it pass by, on our way to Stonehenge. Once the bus arrived there, I walked around the ruins, with an audioguide. I could not get close to it, since it was roped off. But still, it was just amazing to look at, with my own eyes. Hard to believe that the stones were transported all the way from Wales.

After spending about an hour there, it was on to Bath. A very charming city, and just unfortunate that I had only a few hours to spend there. I chose to visit the Roman Baths. They were built back when Britain was known as Britannia during Roman times. I walked around the actual baths, then the museum itself, with an audioguide. The architecture around it, is just amazing to look at.
by Roman Baths


After the Roman Baths, which took up a good amount of time, I joined with the tour group, to walk around Bath for a little bit. We would walk to the Royal Crescent, but not much else. I have to admit, it was a little bit of a letdown, and time wasted. Soon enough, it was time to return to London. Bath is a place that deserves at least one full day.

Back in London, I did visit a few Asian restaurants, that were recommended in my guidebook. One was called Yo Sushi, with a conveyor belt of sushi dishes. The other one was Wagamama Noodles, which served Asian noodle dishes. I enjoyed going to both places.

Well, my time in the UK has come to an end, and it's onward to France. Entry here.

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by the Thames
by the Thames
near the Tower Bridge
near the Tower Bridge
by a guard
by a guard
at Stonehenge
at Stonehenge
by Roman Baths
by Roman Baths
by the Thames
by the Thames
in front of Westminster Abbey
in front of Westminster Abbey
along street in London
along street in London
at Piccadilly Circus
at Piccadilly Circus
in front of Buckingham Palace
in front of Buckingham Palace
in front of gate
in front of gate
Stonehenge
Stonehenge
in Bath
in Bath
in Bath
in Bath
by Roman Baths
by Roman Baths
by the Royal Crescent
by the Royal Crescent