When planning this trip and activities to do on it (merely one day beforehand), I got overexcited as to how much time we would have on hand. It was a lot like online shopping, where, with the wide range of options, you tend to want everything.
After my first flight that provided decent dinner (penne and tomato sauce), we attempted to buy UK sim cards. Unlike South Africa, pay-as-you-go UK sims come automatically with international roaming. Unfortunately this means that they don’t explicitly state this on the packaging, resulting in us taking ages to choose which network to go for. We ended up with a £10 Vodafone sim each which has proved reliable and easy to use.
We experienced London peak-hour traffic, an inconvenience that did nothing to dampen Daniel’s excitement about being overseas for the first time. I realised how comfortable I was overseas, almost like I’d forgotten how good it was, and foreign lands were my home. It’s been 2 years since the last time I went on an international flight, and man, it felt good to be back!
We had heard the accommodation was going to be tight – but never in my life had I met someone living in such tight conditions! It was a charming little studio flat near Kilburn, with one room divided into 2 by a partition. Kirsten and I would be sleeping on a blow-up matress in the Kitchen, with Dan on the floor in the bedroom with his cousin, Nick, and Nick’s wife. Relief that it was only for one night…
After a quick addition of warm clothes (extra stockings, socks, boots and a scarf), we head out to make the most of a day in London. We rode at the top of a double decker bus to the tube station which we took to Baker street to retrieve our prebooked Madame Tussaud’s tickets. While I hadn’t been keen for the museum initially, it was definitely worth the trip. The statues are always fascinating in their life-like-ness, and posing with the hot actors and sportsmen never fails to amuse me. They also incorporated things such as rides showing the history of London which were entertaining and informative. The moving figures were somewhat unnerving at times though… But it was all in good fun.
A walk down Regent and Oxford streets had Kirsten and I in our elements, but it did produce a rather grumpy Dan. We almost couldn’t wait for the end of the holiday to spend our Pounds, but we were dragged past the shops to Trafalgar Sqaure which surprised me by being very much bigger than when I was there 12 years ago. I was surprised by a visit to The National Gallery which lasted a lot longer than I expected due to the company of Kirsten, Miss @Arty2Farty. I learnt that I’ve matured enough now to appreciate art, we saw some incredible pieces, and some that were crazy-famous: seeing them made me feel very cool and privileged.
Around 3 hours later, by which time I had appreciated plenty of art, nevermind the millions of galleries ahead of us on the tour, we attempted the London Eye (just to check out, not ride) and we visited Big Ben with perfect timing to hear it chime. It was a lot quieter than any of the 3 of us expected.
Dinner at a “traditional” England pub preceeded a night-life walk through Soho before the other 2 went to watch Nick performing as the lead guitarist in Rock of Ages on Shaftsbury Avenue. Both of them absolutely loved it. I went for a Tapas starter at Jose’s in Bermondsey. Having never had tapas before, I was pleasantly surprised: it was delicious! Just down the road from there we had dinner at a fancy restaurant where I began my experimental and exotic food exploits. Goats cheese starter was fairly decent, but not my cup of tea, while the roast chicken with potatoes may have been the best chicken meal I have ever had!
This dinner with the best godfather was a perfect way to end off a busy day in London, a microcosm of the next few weeks on tour.
Tagged: bermondsey, big ben, daniel lindeque, england, europe, eurotrip, heathrow airport, houses of parliament, kirsten roberts, london, london eye, london underground, madame tussauds, nelson's column, nick kendal, oxford street, regent street, rock of ages, the national gallery, trafalgar square, travel, virgin atlantic