As our travel days pass by, and the cities start to blend in with one another, we found ourselves in beautiful and sunny London.
A good start, as I was fully expecting grey, overcast or drizzly days. But no! We were welcomed with the hot sun and lots of goodies to see around the city. After a little bit of confusion with our hostel booking…. (it was booked for the wrong month…) we had to find another room on the fly since the hostel was full. A little annoying at the time but we figured it out and got ourselves a cheap hotel right nearby our first choice. We did end up going back to the hostel on the second night since they had room and we had already paid for it….but it was probably a good thing that we got our first night in a hotel because the night at the hostel was terrible! Incredibly hot, 3-high bunk beds and an insane girl who was basically indesipherable.
Anyway, after we put our bags down in our hotel room, we went right back out to find our old friend Bola that we met in Australia 3 years ago at the farm school.
He’s been there since the day Robin and I met! He is originally from England, so when he saw that we were making a stop in London, he made sure that we would meet up! We were so happy to finally see him and catch up after so long….so we had a day together doing some city sightseeing! We walked the streets of London chit-chatting, taking photos, watching street performers and just having a great time.
I liked London, I thought it was charming and lively and I loved all of the old pubs and restaurants. Every street corner had a red telephone booth, every street had a red double decker bus on its way to pick more people up, and there were so many people on each street and in every park enjoying the last of the summer days. We stopped at all of the biggest attractions that one must see while in London.
The London Eye…
…which I knew was big, but not that big…
And Big Ben of course, which we were so sad to have missed his last ring by only a few days!
They have begun doing some maintenance so there was already some scaffolding around the bottom of the Bell Tower.
We spent a little bit of time in front of the massive Buckingham Palace, enjoying the weather and the view.
We came across Westminster Abbey, the huge gothic-style church that actually looks similar to Notre-Dame in Paris.
As we walked along the water, we saw dozens and dozens of crocheted and knitted hearts that people have made with tags on them saying things like “Take me home, I’m made with love” and “I’m free! With love from Emma”.
One thing that all of them had in common though was the hashtag #aheart4ldn. I looked at so many of them until I found the perfect one to take home…
Go ahead and search that hashtag on Instagram….it’s an amazing group of people who are doing nothing more than spreading love and remembering those who were killed in the recent terror attacks in London. It’s so beautiful, there were hundreds of these hearts all around the city, along with a name on each one of who donated it.
Overall we had a full day of doing touristy things, and Bola even treated Robin and I to a lunch out at a pub! That was so nice, nicer than Bola probably even thinks since we are on an extremely tight budget and don’t get to enjoy meals out in these cities! A wonderful day spent with a really special friend whom we’re lucky to have.
The next day was just a little more sightseeing and exploring. We made our way to the Tower Bridge which was a really cool experience.
We stood and enjoyed the view for quite some time, it’s one of those things that you see photos of online, but until you see it in person you just can’t fathom how huge and striking it is.
We strolled across the bridge and to the park on the other side and just sat down and took in the sights for a while. We watched hundreds of people all over the place walking, taking pictures and selfies. We watched a family having a picnic overlooking the bridge, and friends laying on the grass soaking up the sun. We enjoyed our last afternoon in London, bought some cheap dinner at the supermarket, made our way back to our hostel and tried to get some sleep before waking up the next morning to catch the next flight.
Which brings me to my last little rant about saving money while traveling. When we booked all of these flights some months ago back in New Zealand, we saw this flight from London-Paris for super cheap and instantly thought we should book it. The times were perfect and it was dirt cheap.
Mistake #1: we did not pay attention to which airport it was that we were flying out of.
Tip: check which airport you’re flying out of/into.
What started out as a cheap 40 minute flight from London to Paris became a full day, train and metro filled, money extravaganza. We had to take three methods of transportation just to get to the South End On Sea Airport.
South End On Sea which is almost all the way to the coast. We were not happy, but we learned another lesson in travelling. Three years traveling the world and we are still learning every day.
So, now you know. Don’t fly into the South End Airport, it only has 4 gates and is in butt**** nowhere. Just don’t go.
And on that note….very pleased with London and it’s pretty little streets and alleys.
When we have more time and money, we’d love to come back and experience the nightlife here, and of course take a ride on the London Eye. But for now, we’ve been able to see the city in all of its glory and had a great time there.
See you again soon London,