MIND THE GAP
This is going to sound dorky, but I really loved not driving in London. I love walking and biking and since moving to back to my parents’ house in the Austin suburbs, I’ve had to drive a lot more than I like. I’m sure if I actually lived in London, there would be things about the tube, buses and trains that would annoy me, but on the whole I loved it (even when I arrived back at the Waterloo train station at rush hour and was running for the tube so I could go back to the flat and change before going to the Oh No Oh My show in Brixton—WOW! there are a lot of people in London). I could read, write, go through my pictures or just sit and think without really worrying about how I was going to get to my destination.
On the train from London to Alton, somewhere in Hampshire.
Armed with a few aps on my phone, I managed to NOT ONCE get on the wrong tube line or go in the wrong direction. I will admit that due to poor planning on my part, I did get kind of, sort of lost when walking once or twice (once because I asked someone which way to go and they told me the exact opposite direction to go, lame!), but never for long and I never felt lost, so there.
Reading Little Dorrit on the train
Also, a special thanks to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film. Because of this scene, I knew how to use an oyster card and insert train tickets into the turnstiles without looking like Mr. Weasley, YAY!
Also, I loved the parks. I wish I had time to pack a picnic lunch and just rest for a bit, but I did thoroughly enjoy walking through as many parks as I could. The snow drops and crocus’ were just popping out—I bet the parks are gorgeous when spring and summer is in full bloom.
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You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” ~Samuel Johnson
I fell in love with London. I wasn’t planning on it—it just sort of happened. Maybe it was because it didn’t rain ONCE while I was there. Or perhaps part of it was meeting up with my brother & the band 48 days after I dropped them off at the airport for their 2 month European tour. Maybe it was the promise of meeting Kate, going to Jane Austen’s House and roaming around the parks, museums and touristy sights by myself. Whatever it was, it made me fall in love with London and I can’t wait to go back.
Why I Loved London: Part One
The basement flat where I stayed. I spent a lot of time researching hostels and motels in and around London—and honestly nothing (in my price range) looked decent or safe enough for a single female to stay at for three nights. Thank goodness one of the travel guides I perused at B&N mentioned Bed & Breakfast agencies, which led me to London Homestay Services. I sent an email inquiring about a single room with WiFi available and within hours I had an offer back for a private room in Chelsea for the same price as a shared room in a hostel. AMAZING!
The lady I rented the room from was so welcoming and kind and full of helpful tips & hints and offers of tea when I came back in the evening—I would definitely stay there again next time I’m in London. I had my own keys (including a skeleton key!) so I could come & go as I pleased, the tube was a five minute walk away and I was staying essentially behind Harrods. Could a girl visiting London for the first time ask for anything more? YES…
…to walk by this every time I walked the long-way round back from the tube to the flat. Seriously, I had finally made from Heathrow, to the tube, dragging my suitcase along the sidewalk, hoping I was following the directions correctly to the flat when I saw this. It was like a sign from above: THIS WAS MEANT TO BE.
To be continued…
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