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Thoughts of a wandering soul The "IT WAS TIME" Trip!

Tourists in London

UNITED KINGDOM | Friday, 18 January 2013 | Views [254]

I'm supposed to meet Luv at 11am at Green Park station. I think I have plenty of time to get dressed, but there are so many damn layers to put on, and then I have to top up my oyster card, so I only get on the train at 10.50am.

Doh! I'd sent him a message earlier saying I would be late, but he'd already left. Anyway, I finally get there and realise I can't send texts again, so I'm waiting at the exit he mentioned he would be at.

Suddenly I hear this voice, "Hey Dids!" He's here! He calls me "Dids" - I think it's meant to be a short/cool form of the word "didi" which means big sister in Hindi. He's very sweet. I mean, suave, sophisticated, with dashing good looks and a great career ahead of him, but with a kind soul - for all the girls out there! :-)

He has a guide book which he doesn't refer to at all, eventually putting it away. We just make our way around following signs and his very vague sense of two month direction.

First stop is Buckingham Palace. We walk through a park and there are squirrels there! They're huge! And again, seem to have little fear of people. As we walk along the river, he tells me there are swans in there and we come across these ginormous birds that you could almost sit on, but they're not swans. I think they are some kind of giant brown ducks.

Further along, there's a mass gathering around a guy feeding more ginormous birds, but these are white with yellow & black beaks. Still not swans, but again, possibly some kind of duck that have no fear of people - going right up to them! I want to grab one and take it home with me, but decide it's probably not a good idea.

Then I spot a lone swan in the water. It also comes over for bread and flaps its wings to clear away the smaller birds in the water.

When we finally arrive at the palace, there seems to be quite a crowd around the place.

How do we get closer? All the gates seem closed, so we climb over a stone fence to get to the other side.

Luv thinks the queen is arriving or there's a changing of the guards or something. We watch for a bit. Enh!

Then head off to find Westminster Abbey which he thinks is close. We pass a lot of beautiful buildings along the way, including Downing Place at which I exclaim and take a picture.

What's Downing Place he asks? Really! You call yourself a Londoner!

He's super smart at work though, ladies, and let's face it, who really cares where the Prime Minister is located?

We wander along and come to an impressive looking building and he says, I think that's Westminster Abbey.

Are you sure, I ask him, 'cause I'm gonna take a picture and say "Westminster Abbey according to Luv".

No wait, I'm not sure!

We ask a girl standing in front of a space tent in the courtyard. She tells us it's the Guard House. Okay!

We decide to have a quick look in this space tent - I think ONLY 'cause the entrance is free. Yup, we spend about five minutes in there and then wander out. It's basically about the use of satellites to predict trends so they can be prepared in areas where there is going to be drought or floods. Well, that's just one aspect of it according to the one video we actually watched. It's pretty impressive what they do, just not what I wanted to see & Luv was disappointed 'cause he was expecting video games - boys!

We wander out to the guards and continue on our way taking photos of everything. Rather, I take photos of everything. Apparently I am Luv's first visitor & so he's practising his tour guide skills on me. You're meant to be constantly offering to take your visitor's photo with everything, I tell him.

We arrive at what he's convinced are the houses of parliament. Yeah, I think I agree - only 'cause I've seen them blown up in "V for Vendetta".

It's great that neither of us knows anything for sure. Clearly it's been too long since I looked at my friends' holiday pictures of the same things over and over again. I do like the buildings. They remind me of a honeycomb cake. I assume the tall clock tower is Big Ben which reminds me of the brand of pies, and then we wander along and find Westminster Abbey.

Well, it's the third building that proves to be the right one. The other two were distraction churches. It looks huge! I think about wandering in, but then can't be bothered. We continue down towards Trafalgar Square before I see it from a distance and realise I was there the day before, so where now? Southbank? Sounds great!

We walk along a bridge before jaywalking across several lanes of traffic & cross over the river. Then as we walk along the river, we notice there's a Christmas market on with lots of street performers as well. I realise I'm starving and want to eat something. I spy lots of places, but nothing really takes my fancy and then I see a big sign saying "MARZIPAN"! Oooh! Is it real stuff? I look - yes it is! And what is that divine smell? Cinnamon candied nuts. Oooh! So many choices! I look at the cash I have. I take a mixed bag of almond & cashews and a big chunk of the pistachio marzipan. They are warm & taste delicious.

We continue walking & eating and come across a sausage place. Oooh! We could get one and share.

Luv has no cash, and he feels guilty about me buying everything. Don't be ridiculous I tell him!

He says, I'll ask if they take credit card. I don't think so, and don't worry about it!

We get a sausage and split it in half. Only ketchup and mustard here - nothing else. But it still tastes delicious and is warm on this ridiculously cold day! We continue along and watch those still street performers & a kind of reggae group with an incredible contortionist! We walk into a food shop to eat (and get out of the cold!) only to discover they have sold out of their hot food and only have goulash soup left. Bleah!

We continue on and come to a pub! It seems like a really nice place and we go in. I'm drawn by the chocolate bread & butter pudding. We find seats & order. I get fish & chips (kids size) and Luv gets a cajun chicken burger. He's happy 'cause they take card here so he can pay for lunch.

Ladies - he is super sweet!

When my meal arrives, it is huge! Did he tell them kids size? He thinks he did.

Hmm...we eat and talk about his time here and how he's found it all. It's fascinating to listen to and apparently I'm getting "great insights" into how guys think! At least that's what he tells me and I tell him I'm already aware of this.

We continue from there across Millenium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral, although neither of us is aware of the significance of it. Just that it looks beautiful and is even more so at night! We continue along towards London Bridge and I recognise where we are 'cause I was there only a couple of days ago!

My office is right here he says. Say...can you get into your office now I ask? Yes...And they have toilets there, right? Yes, you can come up and use them. And I want to see where you work too!

We head in & Luv hands his card over at the desk. I glance down and there's a white object hanging out of his mouth. What, were you smoking a joint when they took the picture? The guy at reception looks up.

No! It's just the stupid way the picture was taken.

We head up, and surprise, surprise, it's empty! Except for one person I think. Well, it IS sunday. I quickly use the bathroom and come back out.

That is the one place I haven't been in Luv tells me. Hmm...I'm relieved to hear it?

He shows me where his team sits. He doesn't have a desk as such, but they all have a mailbox/locker kind of thing where they can keep their stuff while out of the office. That's pretty cool. He tells me their main building is even nicer and we go to take a look. As we're walking, we come across an awesome building made of black glass and curved. It's the PricewaterhouseCoopers building. Might almost be worth changing firms to work here! :-)

Okay, where to next? It was getting a bit dark by this stage. Luv's flatmate had suggested Hyde Park. Oh, they have this Winter Wonderland near there, I tell him. Everyone's been suggesting it. We catch the train over. Oh, this is where we started!

The path is relatively signed and besides, there's a crowd of people walking there as well. We tried to look for Mayfair which Luv thought was near there, but settle for Park Lane instead. We kept walking for what felt like ages, passing an arch along the way with a driver with four horses on the top. Gabriel? The archangel? Maybe!

Finally we see the place. There's a massive crowd of people outside. I've been told that it's quite a wait to get in. I'm not queuing up, I tell Luv. If we can get in straight away, we'll go. There seems to be not very many people at the entrance itself which is a bit odd, so we walk straight in. I didn't realise how big this thing was! There are so many rides! All different types. Rollercoasters, spinning seat things, a flying fox, those rides that take you up and then drop you down. So many! Then, there's several funhouses, and a circus!

Not to mention all the craft & food stalls, as well as several areas that are just for food & drink! For example, there's one area that simulating a German Christmas market! It's all pretty cool, and Luv & I just walk around checking it all out. Not once am I tempted to stand in the freezing cold for 45 minutes waiting to get on a ride! I can't get over the number of people who are though!

After a while it seems like we've had a look at everything & I'm keen to get home. Plus Luv has work the next day! Exiting is almost harder than getting in, but finally we spot it and head back to the station. Seems to take much less time for some reason. Always does when you're heading home, Luv tells me. Yeah true. We're heading in opposite directions so catch different trains.

You've been an awesome tour guide I tell him, and I'll make sure everyone knows! :-)

I get home not ridiculously late and no one's had dinner. Well, except for Darcia.

What to eat? What to eat?

Then Davina suggests this Malaysian place that makes the best satay chicken main. Sure!

Nick calls and orders and we settle down to wait. A short while later we get a call and it appears that they can't find the house, but no, the delivery girl is just giving Nick a call to tell him she's almost there. Interesting!

Dinner is good, although again, Nick serves an ambitious portion for me. I think he's doing it now 'cause he knows I'll put half of it back onto his plate! It wasn't a terribly late night - we watched QI, which was hilarious with Stephen Fry. And then it was time for bed.

I'd now been a tourist in London.

 

Tags: big ben, buckingham palace, westminster abbey, winter wonderland

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