We Have Arrived!
London Travel Blog› entry 2 of 40 › view all entries
We survived the flight! It took awhile, but we made it. We got the money deposited into our account just a few hours before we left for the airport so that was a relief as well. Ev's mom helped us run around and do the last minute things (like get my purse that has all my credit cards and debit card our of his sister's locked house as well as run to Spruce Grove to give a goodbye to Courtney) before heading off to the airport with jam packed backpacks. Unfortunately, his dad missed us and couldn't make it on time to say goodbye. Oh well. We'll only hold it against him forever. :) We got onto the plane at 8:20PM. It took FOREVER. We had a mini-layover in Winnipeg that meant it was long enough to be frustrating, but not long enough for them to allow Ev off for a smoke. Ha! Poor bugger. We tried to sleep on the plane as we knew we'd be landing at 2PM London time, but only 5AM our time. It was hard to sleep not only because of excitement, but also due to bright lights and the fact that each time we had a bit of turbulance, the flight attendants would come around and WAKE YOU UP to make sure you had your seatbelt on. Argh. I think I managed to sleep about 4 hours near the end though. Not bad. But then, of course, our luggage was delayed and we didn't get out of the airport until around 4PM. At least we GOT our luggage. Chantal wasn't so lucky when she landed a few months earlier. :)
We bought a train pass from the airport to get to the London Bridge stop, but before we could leave, Ev was getting testy and needed a SMOKE RIGHT NOW. We asked a guy who worked there who told us to go out an emergency exit, up a flight of stairs, and to stand on a ground littered with both cigarette butts and no smoking signs. What else was funny was that we weren't the only people on there. How everyone knew to go out the same emergency exit door and smoke by the no smoking signs I do not know.
Of course, we ended up hopping on the wrong train, but we still got within about 10 blocks of our hostel. Not bad. But considering how disoriented I was (AM!), I really cannot imagine the fact that in about a week and a half we'll be in Hungary and even worse off when it comes to cultural and language differences. London is busy. Cars fly all over the place on the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. I somehow forgot about that and the image was jarring. It even makes being a pedistrean more difficult because you have to look the other way before crossing the road. And no one waits for walk signs either. They just look across the road and run. Ev thought it was great fun. I was not amused as I felt lost and tired and carring too much weight and tired and grumpy and I JUST WANT TO FIND THE HOSTEL ALREADY! Ev kept telling me that we were on vacation and I wasn't allowed to be stressed. Husbands. Who needs em? :)
We finally found our hostel after not too much work because Ev has an internal Mapquest and can find anything anywhere with no hassle at all in a completely foreign land. Bastard. I can get lost putting on a bra.
After checking into the hostel at St. Christopher's Southwark, we took a shower (which was awesome and warm and way better than I thought hostel showers would be) as our shirts were soaked with sweat from the walk. It's not that hot here (around 20 degrees C) but it's HUMID. Muggy and warm. The shower did us good and I changed shoes, locked some things up in a locker (we're sharing the room with two other people) and decided to go for a walk. We just walked in many directions and acted like tourists, snapping pictures wherever we went. We ended up walking in a general zig zag around the Thames and landed at the Tower Bridge. I cannot believe how BEAUTIFUL that bridge is. The Tower of London was the one thing that I've wanted to see since I was in the eighth grade. And now I'm here! Tomorrow we plan to do the entire tour, but today we bought ice cream from a street vendor and walked the bridge, lazily looking for dinner.
(As a sidenote, jetlag is weird because our last meal was dinner too... it's like we skipped over breakfast and lunch.. very strange.)
We walked along the north side of the Thames and I realized I was getting a blister. I guess that's what I get for not breaking in what are to be my main walking shoes. I hobbled along faster as we made finding a place to eat a higher priority. We coudln't believe how many people were standing outside bars with full glasses of alcohol. There were about 60 people outside every pub, mostly well dressed thirtysomethings, drinking out in the open. It was hard to even walk by. It was everywhere. They were calling it a beer garden, but it was sure different than something at the U of A in Quad. We ended up at a place called Tandoori at London Bridge (or something like that) at it was AMAZING. I've never had spicier food in my LIFE. It was delicious and for desert we had orange sherbet that was served inside a scooped out frozen orange. Our only regret was that Chantal wasn't here yet, because the veggie menu looked just as delicious as the mutton stuff that we ordered. I also had a monster beer called Cobra that's an Indian lager that was mouth wateringly awesome.
I really don't know how we're going to keep doing this though. The guy who served us had such a thick English/Indian accent that I couldn't understand him. I did not think that I'd have language barrier problems in ENGLAND. How is it going to be like to order something in Croatia? How is it going to work? Do I even try to speak English, or should I point? About 45 minutes ago, the other couple that's staying in our room came in and I said hello and introduced myself. The girl shook my hand and told me her name. It started with an H and ended in what I heard as a mumble. They left speaking French. How do you even be friendly when there is a language barrier? It's not a big deal here: English is expected. But when I go to Greece or Hungary or the Czech Republic, should I say my greetings in the native language or mine? If I say it in the native language, there's a good chance that the person I am greeting doesn't speak it either. Or what if I do it, and they expect that I know more than "hello"?
What happenes if I don't stop being so neurotic?
But honestly, I've having a wonderful time and I can't believe I just saw that Tower of London and that I'm on vacation for an entire summer and it's awesome. I just can't help but over analyze and wonder what's coming next. I'll try to update something every day online, but if not, I'll try to at least type something everyday and then dump them online when I can mooch off someone's wireless connection. I don't have pictures today, but I took them and I'll add them in the next few days. :) I'll let you know when they're added.
I also though I'd leave each entry with a general breakdown of what we spent, just to give you an idea of how much it's costing as well as for myself to see where I could ever afford to return if this trip is as memorable as I think it'll be. :)
June 8 - London (in Pounds, approx exchange rate - 1:2.1)
- 108.00 - three nights in a hostel
- 30.00 - dinner at Tandoori London Bridge
- 18.00 - train tickets to London from Gatwick Airport
- 3.00 - two ice creams from street vendor
Total: 189.00 British Pounds