Europe ~ United Kingdom ~ London
So long Asia, now we’re back to the land of English – or rather the Motherland… Arrival was full on, we got into the airport and lined up for immigration. We haven’t had any problems in any other countries getting through, but after 12 hours on a flight from Hong Kong, they decided to be difficult. After getting through the line (took about 2 hours), we got to the front, only to be questioned and then sent off for a health check!!! Turns out that as we had travelled through ‘tropical’ countries (Thailand and India), there was a possibility we had TB, so they had to check us out. In the end we didnt need to get X-rays or the like, as the nurses decided it wasnt worth it!
Our hostel is in Earl’s Court, nicknamed ‘Kangaroo Court’, due to the abundance of Aussies who have made it their home. The hostel is full of Aussies, Kiwi’s and South Africans. Most people are friendly, but there are a lot of politics flying around the hostel – such as who gets the kitchen first and so forth. We’re at the very top of the stairs – five flights up, everyone else complains about the climb, but we reckon its nothing – compared to Huang Shan!!! We’re sharing a room with a South African guy and an Aussie guy. Both are long termers and the room is decidedly male – from the sign on the door (‘MEN!!!’), to their choice in posters. All day they have a fan going, pointed at their shoe collection… But they’re nice enough, and the room is alot cleaner than some of the ones we’ve been in.
On our first day we caught a train (‘the tube’, hehe) down to Westminster, to wander around. Imagine us, we’ve just stepped off a plane from Hong Kong, tired and jetlagged, and we’re wandering around London, seeing famous sights such us Big Ben and chasing pigeons through Trafalgar Square. I feel as if I’m trapped on a Monopoly board!!! After wandering around the National Gallery for a couple of hours we set off back home to plan our next day. Ended up teaming up with a pair of Kiwi girls and a pair of South African girls and made plans to go out the next day. We sat on the steps of our hostel drinking the local drinks – we like to think that we looked like the old guys on Sesame Street…
2nd day was spent SHOPPING on Oxford Circus, and then we toodled off to the Tower of London, to see the sights. The Tower of London has a 900 year history as a Royal Palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, mint and jewel house. Lucky us got to see the crown jewels, and even sit on a royal gardenrobe (read: loo!)
Since then we’re been to many wonderful and amazing places – and of course done our fair share of shopping. By shopping I of course mean browsing, as the prices over here are so so so expensive that we can only afford to look! We went to Westminster Abbey to see all the famous graves – such as Queen Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII, Oliver Cromwell, and Thomas Parr, a guy who lived to age 152 (?!). Also went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard, lots of red guards with fluffy black hats running around. The London Dungeon was a bit different, bit like a horrorhouse, we got to see the more spooky history of London, from the black plague to Jack the Ripper. King’s Cross Station was worthwhile, we all got our pics taken standing in front of ‘Platform 9 3/4’, pushing a trolly through to the platform where Harry Potter caught his train to Hogwarts.
Shopping has been fun, we’ve wandered around the main shopping districts – Picadilly Circus, Oxford Circus (All have ‘circus’ attatched, any ideas?), and even Camden Town. Camden Town was interesting, magic mushrooms and marujana lollypops are sold everywhere. The mushrooms come in many different types (flavours?!) – from Cuban ones to good ol’ Tassie ones!
Apart from the sightseeing and shopping we’ve just been chilling in the hostel, and partying with our fellow backpackers. Nightlife is great, and everyone is so friendly. Only trouble I’m having is wrestling the remote control off the Aussie boys on the weekends – no-one here seems to care how much I HATE watching sports – oh well, they’ll learn quick enough. Take care all, am about to jetset off to the U.S., so if you’ve over there, watch out for me!!!