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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

London Callin'

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 16 March 2008 | Views [880]

Tower Bridge @ 5:30 AM

Tower Bridge @ 5:30 AM

Today was my second day in London and a rather rough one. I woke up at 2:30 AM because I fell asleep so early last night. Since I knew that I wouldn't be able to fall back asleep, I went and showered and then decided I'd tackle some of the attractions early before all the crowds got there. I saved half of my Red Bull last night, so I drank that and had one of my devon custards to energize me. At 4:00 I set out on my bicycle while it was still dark and wet. Again I got lost trying to find Edgware St. so I can get into town. London is a beautiful city with great architecture! I got into downtown at about 4:45 and was trying to get the perfect shot of the Westminster Palace. At 5:00, Big Ben rang and I got a video of the "gong" sound. I then rode my bike along River Thames and was determined to see the Tower Bridge. On the way I inquired about a ride on the London Eye, but it's £15. It would be a cool ride but I think it costs too much. I'm sure I'll be in London again someday when I have a higher-paying job. I cycled away and It was bitterly cold, passing the Globe Theatre. It's not the same Globe Theatre that Shakespeare performed in, but a newer version. Most of the businesses were still closed, so I couldn't duck inside anywhere to warm up. The Tower Bridge was all lit up and I got the absolute perfect postcard shot. It is incredibly beautiful! I rode around to the Tower of London, which is where prisoners were once held. Admission there is £15, but it wasn't open yet. The Tower of London was built in 1066 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I've been lucky not to spend a lot of money, but the sky is the limit when it comes to money in London. I was cold and I started to head back to downtown. Cycling is a great way to see London and many other great cities. It's cheap too! Back in the city center, I stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. I was talking to these guys about my plan to ride my bike all the way to Munich. Next door at the grocery store, I got two croissants. Grocery store food is pretty cheap here. I think one thing that makes traveling super expensive is when you eat at restaurants everyday like some people do. Afterward I started to head back, and I got lost again. I get really frustrated when I get lost because it should never happen to me! In one of the side streets in Bloomsbury, I noticed many of the homes are connected to each other. You don't see many of them like that in the states because of fire codes and things like that. At 8:00 I was back at the hostel because they have free breakfast there. In London or anywhere, it's good to take advantage of free food. I ate cereal, toast, and drank a cup of tea. I was talking to these girls from California and one of them even went to an elementary school that I also attended. I didn't know her though. After eating, I went to the kiosk and checked my email, but the keyboard sucks!. I then rested for about a half hour and got directions to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. That was next on my list, because I was all excited about the chance to have a foot in each hemisphere. I put my raincoat and pants on and started out toward the observatory. I didn't get so lost this time, and I was in downtown in about 15 minutes. There was a marathon going on, and I noticed this girl wearing a Red Bull jacket. She was passing out free Red Bull to the runners and she gave me one since I was doing something sporty. I got a photo with her before taking off. I started cycling along the Thames and as I was riding this guy walked out in front of me from behind a pillar and I hit him. He proceeded to call me a "fuckin' idiot" even though I apologized to him. Some people are just so cruel. He's probably like that to his children and other people. It was really windy and at one point, the absolute low point of all my travels happened: my camera fell and broke. I set it on a self timer to get a picture with me in it, and a strong gust of wind blew and it went right off the platform I had it on. The lens was jammed and I managed to pop it back into place, but it wouldn't work. With the trip to Greenwich scratched at least for now, I was then set on finding a camera repair shop, and I searched and searched and searched. So, finally I stopped at a hotel, and they told me a place in downtown; I had to cycle all the way back and I found out that fixing my camera would probably cost about £150. I thought for a few minutes whether to buy a new one, and I realized they had the same camera. It was £189! I was going pretty good with my money until now. I was a stupid idiot for doing that self timing thing in the wind. Armed with a new camera, I then set out toward the observatory. I kept getting lost and couldn't seem to get on track. There was a German tourist who was also lost and I looked on his map, but I then got lost again! Finally I got on track and started out toward Greenwich. I was really hungry, so I stopped at McDonald's again. It's rather cheap out here, so it's good here for if you're on the go. I got a cup of hot cocoa and it really warmed me up on such a blustery, gray day. My girlfriend, Teressa was supposed to go with me on this trip, but she wasn't able to go with me. She would keep me so warm! Finally at about 3:00 I was at the Royal Observatory. I had to walk up a huge hill to get to it. I had to leave my bike outside and I didn't bring my lock, so I took my wheel off and carried it with me and left the rest of the bike near a fence. Admission is free to the observatory, and I walked through and out to the area where I could be in two hemispheres. I was really excited. I got photos with a foot in each hemisphere and another where I'm sitting on the Prime Meridian. Next up should be the Equator! I hung around for at least a half hour. At about 4:00 the green laser beam came on; it points in the direction of the Prime Meridian. The Royal Observatory was the one place that I really wanted to visit in London. It's so cool to have the opportunity to be on both sides of the world! By 4:15, it was extremely cold. Now I know why no one comes here in March. I was hoping to catch a double decker bus back to London, but there are no bike racks and bikes aren't allowed on the buses. I cycled all the way back into town and stopped to listen to Big Ben. Then I rode through Soho. Someone at home told me Soho is like "London's Hollywood." It kind of is because people are walking all over the place and there is the ultimate plethora of places to shop. There is United Colors of Benetton, the Nike store, and many others. London, along with New York and Milan, is one of the world's great cities for fashion. I've never really been a fashion connoisseur; I wear clothes 'til they wear out and then I get more, and my fashion sense usually doesn't go past Salvation Army. Traffic was really bad, but I was able to ride between all the cars. Up on Edgware St. I stopped at the internet cafe. I was trying to find a bus from here to Brussels but I had no luck. I rode back to the hostel and by then I was really exhausted. I put my bike away after a long day of 55 miles. In two days in London, I've cycled more than 75 miles; that's how big the city is. I'm so upset about breaking my camera today, but I have to smile because I'm in London. For this trip I really wanted to start off in Oslo, Norway but London has been just as rewarding! Downstairs I met a young lady named Erin from Perth. She now lives in London but is only staying at the hostel until she finds a place to live. I really wish I was with Teressa; I love her so much and she'd snuggle with me and keep me warm. It can't be more than 40 degrees outside tonight. At 8:00 I went upstairs and lay down. I'll see you tomorrow wherever I'm at after another fun-filled Europe day. 

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