Almost everybody travels once in his or her lifetime. Some start loving it and some are just glad when they come back home again. Destination plays an important role on the outcome as well as the way one gets there and the duration of the stay. Well, London was really not my first time to travel, although it was definitely something special in all regards.
The very first argument for it is the manner I got there. 17 hours in a bus is something one must like or the trip is going to be a catastrophe. Lucky me, I had absolutely no problem with it but many others were moaning pretty loud. Finally arrived at about 11 am after having left the day before at 6 pm, the first thing we made was a sightseeing tour through the city.
Seems to be something nice right at the beginning to get to know London and what it is famous for. The clue is that we haven’t yet arrived in the hotel and, to be quite honest, after these seventeen (!) hours travelling by bus, one can imagine anything better than doing a sightseeing tour which was about two more hours – in a bus!
Most of us were still overtired after that kind of night, so I guess no one really enjoyed the first whereabouts in the capital of England. I can only remember the most famous sights like Buckingham Palace (saw it out of the window as we drove by), Elizabeth Tower better known as Big Ben or the Tower Bridge. And believe me, I was one of the fittest as I was able to sleep before. Nevertheless, the first thing I did after having arrived at the hotel was to fall in “my” bed and to fall right asleep.
Finally woken up again, the weather was great (I mean it’s London and it was spring), so we decided to go back in the city. Using the underground was when I got a culture shock. I did not expect London being such a melting pot where I felt that people from every country on this planet lived together, which is amazing in my opinion. Still not having decided where we plan to go, we got out on a pretty random station and thought of a near place where the rest of the evening could be spent. Next to London Eye with a view over the Thames to Westminster Palace with Big Ben turned out to be amazing!
Especially the sunset and London’s skyline turned in a breathtaking light are things I will never forget. The lovely atmosphere is something I can hardly describe. It was almost hard to leave again, but somehow, it got dark with the time and somehow, we were still kind of tired.
Our first stop the next day: Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, we were just allowed to have a look on the impressive palace from the outside, but even then it appeared majestic and simply royal. Especially the traditional Life Guard was worth seeing and a real show! Still very impressed, we left in order to reach our next stop. The contrast couldn’t be any bigger!
Just three words: Hard Rock Café. In one word: Opposite. Or contrast. Does not matter, but in any case, two completely different worlds. It has to be stressed, the very first Hard Rock Café all over the world. Anyway, nothing I was interested in for long, so we continued our trip. Still having royal Buckingham Palace in my mind, the series of opposites was not over. London Dungeon.
No need to say much more, as this “museum” shows all sides of London’s history, but the focus is on the dark of it (not very surprising). The actors were fantastic and illustrated everything with visual scenes, we met “The Great Fire of London 1666” as well as Jack the Ripper in person. We had much fun although the very scary touch! Getting hungry, we thought it is a must to make a stop in Whitechapel, the quarter Jack the Ripper lived and murdered. One can still see that this quarter is one of the poorer.
As we have started our day royal, we ended it royal as well. The name of “royal two” is Harrods. A huge department store where you get everything with no exceptions if you have the money (and orientation) for it. Definitely a must-see, but not a must-buy.
Oxford Street is a name everybody knows. The famous shopping street offers nearly everything. I will let this just as it is with no comment, only this: it is unique and everyone will find the things one needs or searches for. And one will spend hours being there, having fun and shopping. And one will not only spend hours, but also a lot of money.
Been everywhere we wanted to be, only one highlight was still left: London Eye. We had to wait in the queue for ages, but it was worth every second of it. Being half an hour on the famous Ferris wheel, the view over this metropolis was breathtaking! Just this little “on-top-of-the-world-feeling”… But the bus awaiting us at midnight to bring us home again really put us back to the ground within a few seconds! Last but not least, a walk over the famous Millennium Bridge (or former Wobbly Bridge) got us straight to the bus after having enjoyed the warm evening on the Thames again.