Jesper told me that his idea of London that he had prior to our visit was highly influenced by the picture created by our English books in school. This image of the English capital included a few of the sights and made London seem like a small town where it is possible to take a short walk from the Piccadilly Circus to Big Ben and onward to the Tower Bridge.
Considering the disproportionate view of London, is it then a big surprise that he insisted on walking between all the sights? In hindsight it sure wasn’t the greatest of ideas that the human mind has come up with. Maybe I should have objected?
Arriving in London
We arrived in London on a sunny Monday morning at 11 a.m. We had just spent a lovely weekend in Manchester where we had visited an old friend of Jesper’s. Read the story about Manchester here >>
The train from Manchester Piccadilly Station for Euston left at 8:35. Buying the the tickets in advance was probably a good idea. At the end we only paid £21 per person. Our friends told us that the journey without any railcards could be far more expensive. We bought the tickets online and the process was actually quite funny compared to booking tickets in Sweden.
We only had to scan the bar code on the ticket and we were able to enter the platform. It really felt effective and the platform was not overly crowded.
A few hours of sleep later we arrived at London Euston Station at 11:00 and suddenly everything felt a bit more chaotic. We decided to take the short walk to our hotel to see if it was possible to check in or at least leave our bags there. We were of course a bit early for check in, but it was no problem to leave our luggage. Leaving the hotel a few kilograms lighter we set our feet in the direction of new adventures.
Finding A Guide In London?
Sometimes it is nice to have old friends spread around the globe. London is especially easy in the sense that people seem to gravitate towards it. I think that everyone knows someone in the British capital. In this case we asked an old friend if she wanted to join us. So that is how we ended up with a local guide for the day.
Beata – or Bea – has been living in London for over a year now. It was not the first time that she had the opportunity to guide friends around. London is apparently a quite popular city to visit. The good things about having locals showing you around is that they tell you a lot of other things as well. It’s not only sights. As you may imagine, Brexit was a hot topic during our day in London.
The Beginning of a Long Walk
We met Bea outside of a Chinese restaurant near the British Museum. We had stopped there for a ”light” lunch as it was close to our hotel near the British Museum. The prospects for a sunny day were looking good and our feet still didn’t know what was in store for them. Our travel plans usually include just walking and we don’t mind stopping too long in specific spots.
Part I: Covent Garden to Buckingham Palace
The was first stop on our tour was world famous Covent Garden with its shops, theaters and the market. Well, there was us and about a million other tourists. Maybe there was a local or two as well, as it was bank holiday. I liked the area very much -it was so very typically London. What used to be a red light district has turned into tourist wonderland. During the day I thought many times about the two faces of the city. On the one hand you find high-flying career people, and on the other you have the ”ugly” side of the city. It is very fascinating indeed.
After admiring the market for a while we continued to China Town with all its small stores and restaurants. It is a really cozy area to walk around in and it was tempting to have even more Chinese food.
On the way to Buckingham Palace we also took some photos of Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus before finding ourselves in one of the most beautiful places in London.
One of the most impressive sights in central London is Trafalgar Square. It is so magnificent with its monuments and fountains. This is where many important events have taken place throughout the years. Did you know that the annual Christmas tree on Trafalgar Square is a gift from Norway? This tradition is in place since 1947.
I have been to Buckingham Palace before. That time I saw a grey-haired lady in a wheelchair on the courtyard. This time we didn’t see anyone who bore any resemblance to the royal family whatsoever. Next time -and I hope that there will be a next time – we will have time to enjoy the parks.
It was about here that I noticed that a coffee inside a coffee shop with air-conditioning could be a good idea. Thus it was time for a well-needed break.
To be continued…