From neverending sight seeing to Inebriation - my first full day in London

London Travel Blog

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After a fairly laid back night the previous night, I was ready to go out and begin our exploration of the city. Nicholas from Washington and I had agreed to try to catch the daily free royal walking tour that covers much of the city's monarchical sights. We happened to miss the guided tour, so we bought a daily tube pass and began exploring the city.

Our first stop was the changing of the royal guards at Buckingham palace, which was rather unimpressive in my humble opinion; Luckily, it only lasts about 20 minutes. Next, we headed off to the district of Camden, which is home to London's counter culture made famous most notably by the movie SLC Punk - We also heard that this is the area to partake in the counter culture goodies, so we hopped on the tube and forged on to Camden Market.
Open air style food
This was a very interesting area, which was dominated by open air style markets serving up foods of many ethnic backgrounds along with a myriad of t-shirts. We decided to get some lunch from a Chinese centric area that we had sampled earlier. The food was decent, and only cost us 4GBP - who said London is super expensive? Once we were done looking around, and had no luck on our search for enlightenment, we decided to move on to the standard sights.

We saw all of the usual tourist stops including, but not limited to the London bridge, Westminster Abbey, Leicester Square(shopping and food), the British Parliament, and last but certainly not least, Big Ben. Most notable out of the list was The British Parliament, which was breath taking simply for the sheer scale and massiveness.
I had always seen images depicting this gargantuan, but until I was standing beneath it the sheer magnitude was unimaginable. Also noteworthy was Big Ben, which is actually connected to the Parliament building. Another interesting observation was that the British tube system's remarkable simplicity and ease of use - you can quickly and cheaply go anywhere in the city with trains running every 3 minutes on popular lines. My one gripe was that bathrooms are somewhat scarce in London, and I had to pay 50 pence to use the toilet in one of the major rail hubs.

For the evening, we had planned on going to a pub crawl that is hosted by our hostel and hits some of the less tourist stricken pubs in the area. There were 13 of us total, which ended up being the perfect size to get to know everyone, and allowed everyone to contribute their unique background and personality to the group.
Big Ben of course
There were people from all over the world, ranging from South Korea, Canada, New York, and Australia. At the first pub, we got on the subject of our local foods and what we were going to miss the most over the course of our journey's. I of course was going to miss my trusty mexican food, along with buffalo chicken wings, both of which are scarcely available(at least the real stuff). Johnathon from Quebec was going to miss one of the standard dishes from home - french fries smothered with cheese curds and gravy. Lockland from Australia was going to miss Veggiemite, a vegetable based spread they tend to eat on bread kind of like jam or jelly. He assured me that not a sole outside of native Australians could like this, and I wholeheartedly agreed.

One irritating side note: London does not seem to understand or agree with the idea of running a tab.
The back side of the British Parliament
Either you have cash, order enough drinks to reach the minimum debit charge(10GBP in most cases), or you are out of luck. Seriously? /end rant.

The pub crawl hit 5 different bars, all offering cheap or free drinks to the group. By the end of the night, we had convinced Johnathon from Quebec to strip down to nothing but his sweater vest on the dance floor. Hilarity ensued as we watched the reactions he got from the rest of the pub patrons that began dancing with him. Long story short - we closed the pubs down, and we all ended up extremely intoxicated. We ran across a drunken munchie spot on the way back where I was able to get a chicken sandwich with french fries. Home sweet home. Much of the end of the night and the trip to our hostel was a blur, but I do know we all had a great time and got to know a group of complete strangers while halfway across the globe.
Please mind the gap

Be sure to check out the video I uploaded from the pub crawl of a round of 10+ Jager bombs knocking each shot into the red bull like dominoes - pretty cool trick and the video lets you get a feel for the atmosphere of the pub.

My closing comment can only be explained by a photo at the end of the slideshow and as broadcast at each stop on the tube - 'mind the gap'

kjworth says:
I can't believe you are already seeking out American food! You are Mr cheap\great food. You only have a few weeks left. Avoid American food at all costs. You can get your fill of that for the rest of your life.
Posted on: May 09, 2010
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Open air style food
Open air style food
Big Ben of course
Big Ben of course
The back side of the British Parli…
The back side of the British Parl…
Please mind the gap
Please mind the gap
Cascading Jager bombs with the cr…
photo by: ulysses