Now that I have had some sleep and can think a little bit more clearly, I will fill you in on my adventures in London! :)
After departing the plane, I was sure I was going to get lost. David was so helpful, once again though! He led me straight to customs. There we said our goodbyes and I thanked him for helping out. I walked up to the line, and before I knew it, I was talking to a really nice airport worker! Two surprising things about that: a line in an airport moving really fast and an airport worker being very nice. I asked the man that was stamping my passport what he would suggest for only having 8 hours before my next flight. He said to take the Heathrow Express to Pendleton and find something. He suggested I go bar hopping! He said a little day drinking never killed anyone. :P I took his advice on half of that, and I took the Heathrow Express to Pendleton. When I bought my ticket for that, they also handed me a ticket for The Underground. Being from Seattle where the Underground Seattle Tours are a thing… I thought I had a ticket for an underground tour! Not exactly what I was hoping for. I was more looking for a double decker bus tour, but I figured an underground tour would be pretty cool too!
Getting off the Heathrow Express, I had no idea where I was going. I walked around the station for a little bit before heading up to the street. I saw signs for The Underground, but decided that a double decker bus tour is really what I wanted. So I started walking around looking for a place I could buy a ticket! I walked for quite a while and didn’t find anything. I was starting to get overwhelmed and frustrated. I had no idea where I was anymore and I had no idea where to go to buy a ticket. I turned around and started walking back to the station. Before I found the station again, I found a sign that said The Underground. I figured I’d just go there and ask what it was. The guy that was working there told me it wasn’t a tour… So I was even more overwhelmed and confused!
I decided to get on it anyway and very quickly found out it was just a regular commuter subway. I stayed on it for a little bit and people watched. But I didn’t want to get too far away from the station. I decided to get off at a random station and walk around for a little bit. I walked up out of the station, walked a few blocks, and saw the Big Bus double decker bus tour hub! I ran up and asked a man how much it was and how long it would take to get me back to the Heathrow Express. He said it would take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours. 3 hours, I knew I’d be fine. 4 hours, and I wasn’t sure I would have enough time to get through security and everything before my flight. The guy ran after a bus that had just pulled away while he was swiping my card, told the driver my situation, and told me to hop on! The driver shouted back at me as I was walking up the stairs, “Don’t worry, pretty girl. We’ll make sure to get you there in plenty of time! Just enjoy the ride!” He was so nice I almost contemplated sitting down in the bus for a little bit to chat… But decided against that and continued up the stairs. I mean, can you blame me? I was on a freaking double decker bus in London!
I clumsily got to the top. Carrying a very heavy backpack, a ukulele, and a camera on a moving bus is very difficult! I found a seat, sat down, plugged in my headphones to hear the recorded tour guide, and started snapping pictures! The architecture in London is AMAZING. Seriously. It makes me wonder where the US went wrong! There were so many statues everywhere. From the smaller angelic looking ones on the sides of most buildings to the huge ones in parks remembering important people… It was gorgeous.
We apparently drove past Buckingham Palace! I was really excited about seeing that… But I’m not sure if I did. Either I was in a daze when it happened, I saw it and it wasn’t as extravagant as I was expecting, or it was across a park or something. I’m not sure, but I am still going to claim that I was near Buckingham Palace!
My favorite part of the tour was seeing Big Ben. It was even more amazing in person than in pictures!! That was when I really realized where I was. Another overwhelming moment! A good one though. I realized just how lucky I am to have this experience.
Another highlight was the London Bridge! It was a close second to Big Ben. We saw it from a distance, and it was gorgeous. Then later we drove across it! I was trying so hard to not sing London Bridge is Falling Down as we drove across… I felt that would just be bad luck or something!
The last hour or so of the tour, I was fading fast. My eyes were getting so tired and I just wanted to sleep. I stayed awake though! How, I have no idea. At that point it was about 24 hours with no sleep.
The recording eventually said “Now arriving at Pendleton Station”, so I packed up all of my stuff and made my way down the stairs (again very clumsily). The driver told me exactly where to go and told me good luck!
I walked towards the station, got on the Heathrow express just before it pulled away, and was off to the airport! This whole thing is kind of a blur already. Nothing too exciting happened, and I was already half asleep.
I got to the airport, and decided I should probably get something in my stomach. I didn’t eat much of anything on the plane, or while I was hanging around London. David had told me about a restaurant in London that he loved that is also in the airport. Wanna know what it was called? GIRAFFE. Yup, perfect. So I went there after I went through security and got a smoothie. It was the only thing that sounded good that I thought I could stomach. I think jet lag, nerves, and exhaustion were just hitting me really hard. The smoothie was delicious and it was from Giraffe… So I was stoked.
So there you go! My adventure in London! Sadly, I didn’t have time to get any kind of souvenir, but I have the pictures and memories that will stay with me forever!