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First daze in London

UNITED KINGDOM | Monday, 6 June 2011 | Views [638]

Flight number two of the long journey to London was equally uncomfortable. I did have three seats again which was lucky, but the loud air-con teamed with terrible Thai food meant very little rest. On arrival I was so happy to see Jay, waiting for me at the gate. He directed me toward the tube that takes us to his part of town, all a blur in my memory now.

His apartment in West Kensington is one of many, all the buildings faces look the same, so I was committing as much to memory as possible; tube exit and streets to take if I want to find my way over the next few weeks. Turns out to be all quite straightforward, so a few days on and I am confident finding my way around the city via bus and tube. Thursday I wandered along Kensington High Street in the beautiful, hot sun, and Kensington Gardens. That night my head hit the pillow on Jay and Marilu’s couch and I was dead to the world.

Friday I met up with a good friend, Steph, who I have known since Dunedin days. Excellent catch up over coffee, we make our way in the hot sun and end up in Trafalgar Square. We wandered through the National Gallery, admiring famous paintings by Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Renoir and more. Very cultured of us I thought!

Toward Covent Garden we wander to meet Jay for coffee. He met us and showed us some of the cool areas around his workplace, and after coffee we get stuck into the brilliant travel books in the shop attached to Savage café. I stuck around until he got off work and I experienced the vital tradition of London life that is a pint after work. Once again, straight after dinner I was out like a light, even before the lights were out!

Saturday I awoke with plans to hit the Paddington markets in Notting Hill. Motivated around 10am, I made my way with directions, and spent a good three or four hours wandering around, super hot. Feet well blistered I hobbled home to rid myself of shoes, sad at the lack of bargaining at the markets.

That evening I met up with Christa, a friend of a friend in Queenstown. She has lived here for 7 years and offered to take me out with a bunch of her geezer London mates. It was a fun filled night starting at Hampstead Heath park, dancing to funky beats and drinking in a Kentish Town bar, before returning to a house in Clapham, way out of London to the south. Our mission to get to Christa’s home happened around 7am, and would you believe it but the tube was PACKED at that hour on a Sunday morning, crazy London people! Finally after buses trains and tube rides we get to Christa’s home, in a boat! Rested for a few hours I find the buses that take me back to Jay and Marilu’s, where I rouse myself with an excellent kebab to get to the first of three hens nights. Very chilled out, a group of lovely friends gathered for chats and nibbles, all very civilized.

Today I am unmotivated as winter returns to London; the grey drizzle outside has so far kept me inside cleaning the kitchen and sorting out my expanding mess pushed to the side of the tiny living room. Only one more week to explore and enjoy this buzzing place, with a guarantee I will be back here for a longer time in the future.



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