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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 Eye and the Channel Tunnel

UNITED KINGDOM | Monday, 17 March 2008 | Views [1439]

Today was the third day of my trip. I woke up at 7:00 and showered. It's St. Patrick's Day, so I wore my green turtleneck. I should be heading to Ireland today! But I had to cancel that part of the trip. I then walked over to the store and got a Red Bull, Nutella and some devon custard, since I planned to leave today. My plan was to cycle to Dover and take the Channel Tunnel, but it is much too cold to take a ride that far. Anyways I went downstairs for breakfast, having two bowls of cereal, a cup of tea, and some toast with jam. I made some Nutella sandwiches for on the way later. I saw Erin again and I was talking with this girl named Sarah who was on her way to Spain to study Spanish. Then I went up to my room and packed up all my stuff. If I was going to ride to Dover, I would have to leave early. My bag was far too heavy and it was freezing out. So, I made my way toward Victoria Station to see about buses to Brussels. I got lost on the way as usual and I was there at about 10:00 I suppose. The agent told me that the only bus that allows bicycles is the bus to Amsterdam. So I was thinking: should I brave the cold and ride to Brussels, or should I take the bus to Amsterdam? I went over to the internet cafe and tried to find a cycle route to Dover, but I was unsuccessful. I emailed everyone and just surfed the net. The Lakers haven't won a game since I've left. After leaving, I cycled around trying to take a decision. I decided to get the bus ticket to Amsterdam and I was thinking maybe I could get off somewhere along the way. Maybe there'll be a snack or rest stop somewhere in Belgium. Even if there isn't, Amsterdam will be fun! It's a bicyclist's paradise and has fascinating architecture. I'll sure miss this amazing city when I leave. London is definitely a gem! The bus ticket was £30 (about $60). The cold weather really screws everything up in terms of traveling. I'll probably ride from Amsterdam to Brussels if it's not too cold. It's only 133 miles. After getting my ticket, I decided I wanted to ride the London Eye, which is the world's largest ferris wheel. It looks like a giant bicycle wheel. First I rode around the exterior of Westminster Abbey. It is really amazing! I cycled on over to the London Eye and the line was super long. My ticket was £15. Outside, I donated £1 to get a Lindt chocolate bunny. The proceeds go to a charity to benefit disadvantaged children this Easter. I then got on the London Eye, and it was an awesome ride. As I went up, I met a couple from Norway; one of my dream travel destinations. This way I was able to get a bird's eye view of one of the world's most beautiful cities. The London Eye was built in 2000 and was not intended to be a permanent monument. It is also called the Millenium Wheel. It was well worth the £15. Visiting the attractions here is expensive, but I often feel like I'm too worried about saving money when I travel. Yesterday I decided I didn't want to ride the London Eye because I thought it was too expensive. However, I have to realize that I'm not traveling to save money. I've missed out on a lot trying to save money. In Peru I decided not to go rock climbing because I didn't want to spend the money. A lot of times when I do spend the money on something when I travel, I realize it's totally worth it. I went across the street and took more photos of Westminster Palace and then got a London magnet. I rode my bike across the Westminster Bridge and then got McDonald's for lunch. As I rode my bike, I thought I'd hang out in Trafalgar Square for awhile. There is a statue of Napoleon and four huge lions in front of the National Gallery. I got a photo with one of the lions. I hung out for maybe 10 minutes or so before I kept cycling. As I rode my bike through Soho, I passed Picadilly Circus and then I rode up to Edgware St. in Bloomsbury. I stopped at the internet cafe for awhile and talked to my friend Nora. I've told you about her many times; she's the friend that inspired me to go to Australia. I wanted to stay longer, but I had run out of pounds sterling. I stopped at another internet cafe to see if they took credit cards, but the owner got all mad at me for bringing my bike inside. There are some pretty rude people out here! So, I exchanged some pounds and got £12 for $25. I went back to the internet cafe. I mostly took it easy in the afternoon, because I've cycled nearly 100 miles in the past three days, and my back is hurting from carrying a huge backpack. I'm staying for free in Brussels on the 19th, so I'm not sure where I'm staying at tomorrow night. I may try to make it to Brussels and stay there 2 nights. I left the internet cafe at about 7:30 and it was bitterly cold out. I rode toward Hyde Park and stopped and got a postcard for Teressa. At a small cafe in the bus station, I was talking with these two middle-aged British ladies. I was telling them about my travels and one of them mentioned that her son lives in Connecticut and works 14-hour days. America is one big rat-race. Everywhere else people seem to be so relaxed and have a lot of free time. They thought it was cool when I opened a can of my devon custard, and they took a photo of me opening it. They said it's a classic English thing. At 8:30 it was time to say goodbye and head toward the bus station. I dropped Teressa's postcard in the mailbox and then checked in for the bus. The attendant told me that bikes normally aren't allowed on the bus, but it would be up to the driver. In line I met a young man named Geoff from Chicago. He was here for spring break and is studying in Amsterdam. He didn't have a reservation and if he couldn't get a bus tonight he'd have to stay with his friend in London, but his phone was dead and his friend's number was on the phone. So I let him borrow my converter adapter to charge his phone. At 9:30 the bus was ready for boarding and I was allowed to take my bike on the bus. Geoff was able to get a seat on the bus so he could get back to Amsterdam tonight. At 10:00 the bus ride was underway. I fell asleep for about an hour before we reached the Channel Tunnel at about 11:30. French Customs collected our passports, and I had to ask to get mine stamped. I was thinking with the European Union, there wouldn't be any border controls. However, I hear that the UK is normally difficult. We had to wait for about an hour for the train to be ready. It was probably 35 degrees out and I warmed myself up by getting a cup of tomato soup. I took the time to wash up and relax. At about midnight, the train was ready for departure. The buses drive into these huge train cars and they are brought through the "Chunnel" that way. It's a real novelty being in a tunnel below the English Channel. One of these days there may be a tunnel spanning the entire length of the Atlantic Ocean. That way I would be able to drive to Europe. Geologically, there is one way to drive to Europe from North America and I've done it; just drive from Reykjavik to anywhere in Eastern Iceland (crossing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge). I'm going to get to sleep now, but I'll see you soon if I can get some sleep.

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