So after a short delay in Oslo, B and I arrived into Heathrow around 8:30pm. For the first time, going through UK customs was a breeze. Usually I get the twenty questions and suspicious looks from cranky old Pommy men who can’t be won over by a smiling, young Aussie girl but this time the young woman was super friendly and stamped me into the country with no hassle. We grabbed a few groceries before heading back to B’s house to pass out.
B had to go back to work the next day so I had the whole day to myself and I wanted to use it to my full advantage. Now I know I say that I fall in love with every city I visit and in all honesty, I do – but London has my heart. The big, welcoming city is just like no other. Its not as intriguing as say Budapest, and not as beautiful as Switzerland but theres something about London that has me completely smitten.
I started my day with an obligatory Starbucks stop before working the Underground like a pro to get myself to Westminster. I guess one thing I love about London is that its like walking around a life size Monopoly board. The thrill of seeing Bond Street or Piccadilly never gets old. If only I could land on GO for the much needed 200 dollars! Coming out of Westminster station and it feels as though I’ve been reunited with an old friend. In one direction there is the London Eye spinning slowly and the other direction is my personal favourite, Big Ben. Walking down the street a bit so all three landmarks are in the picture and I feel at home. After catching up with Benny Boy and Westminster I jump back on the train and head towards the Tower of London. I wander around for a bit playing tourist before making my way towards the place I’ve been meaning to see for a long time – Brick Lane. I recently read a book called ‘Brick Lane’ by Monica Ali, which was about a Bangladeshi girl who was sent to London to be married to a man. It tells her story and how she deals with moving from Dhaka to London and whilst quite sad, its a very interesting read. After walking in circles for awhile I finally find Brick Lane and take my time to wander down the street. It is filled with curry houses, vintage shops and amazingly designed graffiti that covers the otherwise dull brick walls. As I walk down the street i can’t help but think about the book and how life must have been for the Indian girl. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house without her husband and had to be fully covered whenever she was in public. I pass other Indian women dressed in their elaborately beautiful sari’s as I walk and I wonder if they are leading similar lives to the girl in the book. I pondered about this, silently thanking the universe for
giving me the privilege of having my own freedom to live as I please, until I reached Bethnal Green station where I realised I was starving so I set off in the direction of my second favourite place, Camden Town.
A quick train ride and I’m walking down Camden’s crazy, quirky and jam packed street. The shops selling everything and anything, the guys on the street with the signs advertising tattoo parlours or free haircuts and the smell of all the delicious food cooking from market stalls are what make Camden such an interesting and fun place to be. I browse for a bit before munching down a spinach and mushroom crepe and doing a spot of people-watching for awhile. Camden is brings out people from all different walks of like and thats what makes it a prime people-watching spot. I do a bit more browsing but with the afternoon speeding along I jump back on the train and head towards shopping central – Oxford Street – to spend some moolah.
Oxford Street is a hustling and bustling street full of all the best clothing stores and the pushiest of people. I grab a coffee and a brownie for some energy before checking out the shops and even braving the ever- busy Primark to spend some money that I really shouldn’t. After getting my shopping fix I jump back on the tram and head back towards Shepherds Bush where B’s house is to get ready for our final evening together.
I beat him home so I jumped in the shower and get dinner started so we can make an early exit for tonights event. Tonight is a night I have been looking forward to ever since we planned this trip. Dare I say it, but I was more excited about this than Tromsø. Tonight we will be seeing the theatre production of the Lion King and I literally was nervous with anticipation. I absolutely adore the Lion King, I have seen the movie a hundred times over and have been dying to see the show ever since it started and finally I was! We got to the Lyceum Theatre about half an hour before it was due to start so we had a glass of wine and settled into our seats. The theatre was full to the brim of people and there wasn’t a spare seat anywhere. The lights dimmed and the familiar tune of ‘Circle of Life’ began and already I was on the edge of my seat.
The show was phenomenal to say the least. The costumes were incredibly detailed, the actors were amazing performers and the stage and set was flawlessly designed. There was only one fault I could pick out and it was mainly me being anal but they changed some of words to the script, which only put me off because I was saying all the lines in my head. Before I knew it, the show was over and i just wanted to press the rewind button. It was absolutely perfect.
After the show, B and I walked around the city for awhile, past Australia House and St Paul’s cathedral before heading back towards his house to call it a night. It was a really lovely night and i’ll be sad to leave London town tomorrow.
The next morning B had to work again so we said our goodbyes, we’ll both be in Dublin for St Patties in 3 weeks but not sure if we’ll see each other. Fingers crossed. I got myself packed and stopped by Starbucks before making a quick dash to Whole Foods where I was in heaven – you can make your own nut butter, ‘nuf said. And then back to grab my bags to head to Victoria Coach station for my 9 hour bus ride to the City of Luurrrve, Paris to catch up with my favourite American C, for bulk croissants and playing tourist.
From the girl who doesn’t know her north or south, but can find her way around London like a boss.