So, this is London! The line I uttered upon arriving at the airport at 6pm, March 31, 2009- the same day that Obama and other leaders of G20 arrived in London for the summit.
Catching the train to the next station to the underground, I had a good time clicking the camera as I feasted my eyes on the views from the train. If you’re a first- timer in London, you’ll wonder why houses here have small and few windows- a question mark that we’ve been querying since we stepped into this ‘has it all’ place until the lady tour guide told us about the Law on Window in UK.
Finding our way to the hotel wasn’t that hard. You bet. It was fun getting lost as always. The Underground (aka Subway) was also stressful. It was a maze of passages and tubes, literally. Anyone would need a crash course on it.
RHT. Despite having been to other countries (e.g. Thailand) that have the right-hand traffic (RHT), I still haven’t learned my lesson. For me, this system is still confusing and will always be. But that’s the rule of the road in London. It was a lot different from what I’m used to. No worries though- if you have been looking for traffic left to right (your entire life) before crossing the street, the signs can save your life.
To get in as much sightseeing as I could in my first day in London, I tried to get up the next day (April 1) notwithstanding the jet-lagged mind and body. We first visited the University of London to get some infos and hand-outs, and then set out to the underground to check on the gorgeous sights. First Leg: London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, etc. Do Brits realize how wonderful London really is? I hope so.
The things I’ve seen here lived up to expectations. Emmm… except for the Big Ben. It was a bit smaller than I originally thought. Well, it wasn’t my first time to experience such. When I first saw the Moulin Rouge in Paris, I was a bit disappointed. I thought it was a huge Red Windmill… it’s not.
A sense of direction. Unluckily, you can’t rely on me when it comes to maps. That’s the irony of me- a traveler who sucks at direction. Thanks Mik2, maps are just in the palm of your hands. To get a glimpse of the metropolis, we thought that it would be a great idea to take the Routemaster where we could sit-relax on the upper deck. This way, we could also go sightseeing by simply parking our feet on the bus minus a tour guide piloting us. But it turned out that taking the bus wasn’t really the best way for us to get to the planned destination. In the first few days we’ve gotten on the wrong bus and ended up much farther from where we were meant to go, not only once, but all the time. Knowing how to decipher maps from dot to dot is as essential as understanding what trains have transfer points to what lines. But even if they have the Tube, I advice you to take a Walk around London first and see what the Capital has to offer. With free maps and guides available at the hotel or stations, the routes in the leaflets will ensure you see all the sights and enjoy your moment in London.
Sightseeing is no doubt fun but marching to and from many places can be exhausting. My feet hurt and burnt so bad that at the end of a day I couldn’t walk. Everyday was a tour day- long walk, long street but worth every step.
You have to see the city for yourself. There’s lot to explore, lot to do. It’s not the cheapest place in the world, but it still rocks!
This is the London Trip Part One. More to tell.