Our second and final day in London, the alarm was set early. We wanted to have plenty of time to fully enjoy the city before we had to head to the airport. We chose to spend that night in the airport since RyanAir so kindly scheduled us for a 6am flight and we didn’t want to pay to sleep in a hostel for three hours. More on that later.
Feeling very refreshed after many hours of sleep, I already knew today would be better than yesterday. I had to make a conscious decision upon waking up to not let anything bring me down. No worrying about our luggage sitting in the hostel luggage room, no worrying about what time the bus was to get to the airport, no worrying about whether the airport would be open and heated. We would be okay because we always are.
We started our day off right, in the closest Starbucks we could find just outside Picadilly Circus. With our muffins and Toffee Nut Lattes we sat down, map in hand and decided what we wanted to see that day. We ended up more or less planning a different route to see some of the same landmarks we’d seen the day before, hoping to give them another chance. After getting cozy and having an idea of our route we headed out into the London mist.
We walked from Picadilly Circus to Hyde Park, and I was so happy to bask in the fresh air of a green space. More than anything; more than cheddar cheese and Peanut Butter, I miss the green space of home. There are a few big parks here in Florence but they don’t quite compare.
We took our time wandering through Hyde Park just enjoying the scenery. Inside the park the Winter Wonderland theme park was still set up and running, so we busied ourselves watching the little kids and the talking giant tree.
From Hyde Park we ventured out and from there were a little lost. We wanted to find Harrods, so we wandered in the general way that the map directed us and we landed on a street lined with shops, which turned out to be the street that Harrods was on. Harrods in itself was an adventure. Of course, in these days I couldn’t even afford a coffee in this fancy store, let alone any form of clothing, but we made it a point to wander the entire store, or maybe we were just really lost. It was a little of both, it’s a maze in there! We enjoyed browsing the ski-wear and the handbags and luggage and we looked at the decorations while Lorenzo made sure to always place himself between me and anything breakable. I have a habit of breaking things.
After a while we got tired of seeing all the nice things we couldn’t buy and wandered back down the street. At the end of the street we found the back entrance to St. James Park and headed back to see Buckingham Palace in the daylight. At Buckingham Palace I had more fun watching the tourist taking jumping photos and watching the guards than I was interested in taking more picture but I got a few in the daylight anyway.
The next mission was to find Fish n Chips, because believe it or not I had been in England for 3 days without having any! We found a nice little pub on an empty street and sat down. I have to say that resting after a day of sight-seeing in a pub is one of my favorite things to do when traveling! It makes you feel like you are part of the city, it’s warm, there’s food and there’s beer. Perfect.
We decided to get one last adventure in before heading back to pick-up our bags. We hopped on the metro and took it to NottingHill. Lore has been to London about seven times, and although more for work than pleasure, he still has had a pretty good chance to see much of the city. We decided to try to see a neighborhood that he hasn’t seen yet. We walked around the quiet neighborhoods of Notting Hill and it was a peaceful and welcome change from the bustle of the Old City. In the end, as the sun set, we ended up in Starbucks again chatting with the local barista and discussing our feelings on London.
Although still not the most eventful trip, I enjoyed being able to walk the city. I love the big open space and I’m well-aware of the fact that I’ve not even scratched the surface of what this city has to offer. I didn’t get to hang with the locals this time around. I didn’t get to visit the famous pubs and best restaurants in London. I didn’t get to listen to the history.
Next time first and foremost, we’ll give it more time. I would love to take the free walking tour because even if it is guided, I haven’t had one I didn’t enjoy and didn’t learn from. Maybe next time around I’ll see if I can couchsurf, that will give me a whole new insight into what the city has to offer. And of course next time, I’m will better research my dining locations; because I’m in desperate need of some Pad Thai and Fish n Chips!