My time in Turkey came to an end quicker than I had anticipated and before I knew it, it was time to leave and meet my parents in the UK. A solid 15 hours of travelling including three airports, five hours sleeping on an airport bench, two dodgy airplane meals, one expensive box of Turkish Delight and several screaming babies, I arrived into London Luton Airport.
It was noon once I got out of the airport and Mum and Dad were due into Heathrow at 2:50pm, I had almost two hours to find them. I caught the National Express to Heathrow and waited at Arrivals. Another hour later, I spotted their familiar faces in the crowd. After nine months apart, it was so good to finally see them again.
We headed for the Underground towards Hammersmith where our new home was for the next three days. After a wrong turn (first of very many!) we found our little AirBnb place, in a quiet street just five minutes from Hammersmith Station. We settled in and made ourselves at home by quite literally empting our bags everywhere. Not sure whether we just had too much stuff or we’re just messy, but we sure spread ourselves around! As it was about 6pm by the time we got ourselves relaxed, we headed out for dinner by the Thames River at a pub called the Rutland Arms. It was a typically English pub, with plenty of Union Jack flags and a menu full of hearty dishes, which delighted Mum and Dad no less. Mum and I shared a steak and Dad went for a chicken potpie and we washed it down with cider and beer. The jetlag was starting to kick in for all of us, so we headed back to our place and got ready for bed.
The following morning we all woke up early due to us coming from different time zones. After stuffing around for awhile, we set off into big old London town for a day of sightseeing. As I’ve been to London several times, I self-appointed myself as tour guide, which is potentially a scary thing. After getting slightly misdirected we headed for the Buckingham Palace, to see the much hyped changing of the guards.
Following the crowds to the Palace, we found a place between the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Palace and waited patiently for the guards to change. Honestly, it seemed to be a lot of fuss for what is was. A group of guards marched in with their fluffy hats and apple red coats, followed by a brass band and a few guys on horses.
We didn’t actually get to see the changing because the crowd was too large. It may have been the lack of coffee in my system, but I wasn’t that fussed on the event. Mum and Dad seemed to be in the same boat so we pushed through the crowds into St. James Park and wandered through the much more peaceful park. Finding a little café in the middle of the park, we refuelled our caffeine tanks and continued on.
Heading in the direction of Westminster, we first stopped at Horse Guards Parade and got the obligatory photos with the guards on their regal black horses. Walking on, we reached the Thames past the Battle of Britain Memorial and to my all time favourite, Big Ben.
I could have sat all day and admired old Benny Boy, but the list of things to see was far too long for dawdling. We made our way through the busy streets to Westminster and St Margaret’s, where we had a sticky beak at the old church. Finding a red double decker bus, we rested our feet and did some sightseeing from the bus. Stopping at St Paul’s Cathedral for another quick look before crossing the Millennium Bridge, past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and found some lunch by the Thames.
Jumping on another big red bus, we crossed over the Thames on the Tower Bridge and stopped off at Tower of London.Another favourite spot in London, the grass surrounding the Tower was covered in red ceramic poppies for the anniversary of WWI. It made the Tower look like it was placed in the middle of a blood red sea. Both haunting and beautiful, the poppies represented every soldier who died in the war. It was a truly astonishing memorial.
We had a stop in Starbucks before making our way to Trafalgar Square to see the blue rooster and watch some very talented buskers. Continuing on to Piccadilly Circus, I dragged the parents through M&M World, which I was much more excited about than they were and past the many, many posters of theatre productions.
It was nearing dinnertime by the time we caught the tube back to Hammersmith. We met up with B, who was staying with us for the next two nights, and had a quick bite to eat at Tortilla, a rather delicious Mexican chain restaurant. Worn out from a hardcore day of playing tourist, we all headed off to bed early ready for another busy day tomorrow.