Day 1 – Are we there yet?
Melbourne > Abu Dhabi > London
27 – 28 March 2015
At around 11PM, we flew from Melbourne bound for London with a stop over in Abu Dhabi. This was going to be the longest flight I’d ever be on in my life (so far) 8 hours to Abu Dhabi and then another 14 hours to London. I drank my ‘meds’ half an hour before the flight and didn’t feel sick at all! It worked! I even ate plane food (this is an achievement in my books). We flew with Etihad Airlines and I was pretty pleased with the service. The only annoying thing on the flight was being seated near a baby who was crying most of the time, but I just drowned that out with my headphones watching the in-flight movies.
We arrived in London 12:30PM the next day. As jet-lagged as we were, we made our way to the ‘tube’, London’s railway system. We did some research before the trip and it was a whole lot cheaper to go the city by train (around £6 per person), plus our hotel was only a minute walk from a station. The train was quite ‘cosy’. Riding through the suburbs, looking out the train windows, it felt a bit drab. Must have been the weather too, it was very cloudy and cold. And so during this time, all we could think of was getting to our hotel as soon as possible.
We reached our stop, Gloucester Rd. We got off the train, found the exit and didn’t find an escalator or lift from the platform. We had to carry our 20KG luggages up a couple of flight of stairs before finding a lift closer to the top. We got out of the station and had our first proper glimpse of London. “This place looks old.” I said to myself in an British accent of course haha. We walked to our hotel at the Holiday Inn, checked in and absorbed the fact that we were finally there.
We were only in our room for about an hour and we had to get ready to go to church. We took a taxi to Battersea and got to see more of London including the Thames River. We attended church and saw a friend from Melbourne who ended up taking as out for dinner #score at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. He’s been living in London for a few months now going back and forth to Australia as he was a flight attendant. We asked him of his experiences so far and he said apart from the weather, London is a great city.
After dinner, he was nice enough to take us home as we were quite tired from our flight and was eager to get some rest for some sight-seeing the next day.
Day 2 – Rain, rain, go away!
29 March 2015
We had four things on our check list for this day:
1. Look for Platform 9 and 3/4 (Harry Potter fan I am haha)
2. Visit Trafalgar Square
3. See Buckingham Palace
4. Check out at 12PM and check in to our other hotel which our tour booked for us
Before leaving in the morning, we’ve already planned the train lines we were to go on and stations we were to change lines at. It wasn’t that hard to understand how the tube works. There was light rain in the morning, quite chilly too. First stop was at King’s Cross Station where a replica of the Platform 9 and 3/4 train station in the Harry Potter book/movie is located. I am a Harry Potter fan and so I had to see it for myself. It was quite early when we got there but there were already a few tourists lining up for a picture.
Since we haven’t had breakfast yet, we found a place to eat at the station called “Giraffe Cafe”. I had the big breakfast #fatty.
Next stop was Trafalgar Square and was greeted by the rain which was pouring harder around this time and we didn’t bring an umbrella! There were not a lot of tourists around because of this. I didn’t bother taking out my camera as I didn’t want it getting wet and so I had to rely on my trusty iPhone 6 instead. Because of the rain, we didn’t end up staying that long, took a few pics and decided we’ll come back the next day if we have time.
We reached Buckingham Palace, even in the rain the palace gates were filled with people taking photos, I assumed they were waiting for the “Changing of the Guards” but I heard that they don’t do it on a rainy day. We did see a parade of guards though. I was imagining the Queen sitting in a warm bath while we all shivered in the cold. The palace was grand of course. As much as I would have loved to get a closer look at the palace, the amount of people plus the rain hindered this idea and so we only got to admire it from a distance.
Walking back to the station we saw some lovely daffodils in bloom, which were no interest to anyone but us. As we near the station I realised I have lost my train ticket and so we had to retrace our steps back to Buckingham Palace hoping to find it again as it was a daily ticket worth £12. I was losing hope thinking that someone would have picked it up already but luck was on our side as I found in near the Palace gates #blessed.
We made our way to our hotel, gathered our belongings and made our way via the tube to our new hotel, Novotel in Hammersmith. In the pouring rain we walked with our luggage, ended up getting lost as we went the wrong way. One of the wheel of my old luggage broke which made it twice as heavy. What should have taken 7 minutes from the station to the hotel ended up being 40 minutes long.
The rain eventually stopped and so we decided to check out the town of Hammersmith for a feed and bought myself a new luggage.
This day would have been better if it weren’t for the rain but we were in London after all, just part of the experience :).