I really don’t know what possessed me to take an all night bus from Inverness to London. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Save on a room, AND travel while you’re at it! Wake up rested and ready to go in a new city. I can pretty much sleep anywhere. Let me sit down for a few minutes and I’m sound asleep…a 8 1/2 hour bus ride is a little much though. Once I get to London My legs are both swollen and asleep, and then I have to spend another hour looking for my hostel. (I truly wonder if I will EVER just find a hostel first try.)
After a frustrating morning I catch the free tour of London. I know there are two very opposing camps on these tours, but I love them. They give a good overview of the city, and help me to find my way later, when I am invariably lost. There is just so much to see and do here! I’m not really sure of where to start.
I walk by Buckingham palace, and the Tower of London, Parliament, and Big Ben. In Hyde park I see someone actually speaking on speaker’s corner(an area known for its political speeches). And I go have a picnic lunch in Trafalgar square and people watch. (The giant lions here were carved by someone who had never actually SEEN a lion….look at they’re paws. He sculpted them using his dog as a model)
I go to the British natural history museum, and spend hours looking at everything. And they do have everything. Dinosaurs (even Nessie’s) rocks, jewels, animals…there’s so much!
Most of londons museums are free!
Then I make a trip to 221b Baker Street. The residence of Sherlock Holmes. They have it set up,as a cute little museum, with the top rooms looking as they would if Sherlock lived there. I managed a snapshot with Watson, a character actor. Downstairs is a little gift shop filled with all things Sherlock, including pipes and deerhound caps.
At my hostel I’m becoming more comfortable, and I make some new friends. The hostel itself is a huge old house, and I’m way upstairs in what I’m sure would have been servants quarters. It’s a 28 bed dorm, we have narrow beds, with lock boxes at the head, and no air conditioning, so I feel as if not much has changed in these rooms in the last 150 years. In one of my lost wanderings I stumble upon Abby Road, just blocks from my hostel, and take the requisite picture in the cross walk. (They’ve had problems with traffic here, since people are always trying to get pictures in the cross walk.)
I see Saint Paul’s and go up to the whispering wall, and find some random couple to talk to. (The whispering wall is just that. In the dome if you sit across from each other you can whisper against the wall, and they will be able to hear it, clear across on the other side.) I don’t go up to the very top of the dome…I have a real fear of heights and get vertigo, but it’s something I still regret…next time!
(Did you know it was one of the buildings that survived the blitz? The Nazis used it as a landmark to know where to bomb, so they left it intact)
On my last day in London, I decide to go to Shakespeare’s Globe. I wait in line for a bit, and get one of the cheap “groundling” tickets. It’s standing room only, and first come first serve. I manage a prime spot right against the stage. They are performing one of my least favorites: “The Merchant of Venice”, but here it is magical. I’m so close, I feel as if I am IN the play. All in all its a wonderful end to an amazing city.
I was right there against the stage, where the bridge comes out!