While I was waiting for my visa things to be sorted, and waiting for my birth certificate to make it through the post to Holland, I decided to take a trip to London as is only 25 euros one way. It takes 10 hours by bus and the bus actually drives INTO the train that goes under the ocean from France to England. It is all quite amazing to see.
It was my first time in London, so everything was exciting and fresh! I arrived at 5am and had met some lovely people on the bus on our way over, I hung out with one of the lady’s I met on the bus in the early hours of the morning, as we walked the cold rainy streets of London, past Buckingham palace, Big Ben and the London eye. They were all lit up in the mornings darkness with colorful lights drawing our eyes to the London eye which stands tall and proud along side the river Thames and amongst all the small buildings in London’s central city.
I parted ways with my new friend Angie and headed off for more exploring of the city, I came across and old church called Saint Martins in the Fields next to Trafalgar square, it was a beautiful old building, and in the early morning was already alive with people. A lot came to pray or enjoy the quietness that the church offered, and underneath the church was a cafe? I didn’t expect it from a church that was a few hundred years old, but it looked like a nice place to have a wee nap as I didn’t sleep at all during the bus ride. After a short half hour nap, I got told off by one of the staff for sleeping in their cafe (fair enough really) so I had no other choice but to continue being a tourist through out the city.
I met up with Ian for lunch, Ian is a friend of mine from New Zealand and also one of the friends I traveled with for the first 6 months of my journey. I hadn’t seen him in over a year so it was good to catch up with him. He also lent me his single speed bike, which I in all honesty made me fall in love with London. I was able to cover 10 times more ground and enjoy weaving through the busy London traffic with their double Decker red busses (yes like them ones from the movies!) And their black taxi cabs. The drizzling, half hearted rain had stopped by the afternoon, so I went for a quick ride about the town before catching up with my best friend Matt who some keen eyes followers will remember came over to Holland earlier this year as we traveled Europe for a couple of weeks. We met up in Leicester Square. It just so happened to be the “Back to the future day” so there were a couple of Delorean cars around the place with hoards of people standing around amazed by the sectical. It is quite a busy part of town there, as it is central and very busy area for foot traffic.
After catching up with Matt I headed back to his place to spend the night, I caught up with his girlfriend Sara who I haven’t seen since leaving New Zealand 18 months ago, so it was a good catch up on my first day back in London. The next few days I spent seeing the sights London had to offer. The colours in Hyde park were enough to make my eyes water, with the rich yellows, reds and greens as the changing of the seasons is apon us, the leaves collected on the ground to create a blanket of yellow, it was impressive to see.
I spent some more time with Angie and her friend Florence as we went to Borough market and a very funky art exhibition. In which one exhibition we all climbed into a small swimming pool sized box full of plastic balls and watched an interesting video. It was all very thought provoking.. I headed through the Camden area, which I must say is now my favourite part of London. The streets are lined with stalls, people selling almost anything you can name. A slight grungy feel about the place, but in a loveable way, with vintage shops strune around the town it wasn’t short on hipsters. A statue of Amy Winehouse stood amongst the markets, in memory of the loveable Singer who originated from the Camden area.
I headed through Notting hill on a Saturday morning to see the markets all set up there, I also loved this area, but it had a more upper class feel in comparison to Camden. More white washed, prim and proper, with a different sort of people in the area. Even the architecture changed as I walked through the streets, passing by the house of George Orwell who was a former resident of the area. I am currently reading one of his novels which has captivated my imagination!
Down on Regent street people were going mad for NFL. Of all the places in the world I didn’t expect to see American football paraphernalia in London although I found out there was a big game playing. Funnily enough, there was just as much Rugby advertising going on for the Rugby world cup that at the time was going on. (Go the All blacks!)
On my last evening in London I managed to catch up with my friend Tanya who I also hadn’t seen since leaving New Zealand, it was amazing to chat and see how much things have changed in those months, mentally, spiritually and physically. I loved my London experience all in all, catching up with many friends who where there, missing out on others who Ill have to catch up with later. London is a busy, active and eventful city, and I can’t wait to come back!