It is an experience to travel these days. Not like it was in the old days (she says pulling at all the bags and wrinkles under her eyes). There are few to no humans involved in the check-in process anymore.
You flash your passport at a computer, it spits you out a boarding ticket, and then you put your suitcase onto a conveyer belt, puling down a screen door in front of it and off go your worldy possessions, and you hope for the best.
We’ve been away. Can you tell? We’ve been adventuring in the land of the Tube, Black Cabs, and Double Decker Buses!
This is a trip I had wanted to make for many, many years. My Dad used to travel to London all the time for business, and it had built up to quite a large extent in my head as an amazing and magical place! I had a long list of things I wanted to see, and places I wanted to visit, and spent a long time in the weeks before, figuring out a timetable to fit it all in.
The very first morning we woke up early and headed off to Buckingham Palace. Because “They’re changing the guards at Buckingham Palace, and Christopher Robin went down with Alice.” So of course I had to go!
I had only ever seen this statue before on television. And as we came around the corner, there it was. Right in front of me. My mind was blown.
I’d been warned that you needed to get to the palace by at least 10am to get a good spot, and I was determined to get a good spot. We got there in time to be up against the fence (just, with some squishing) and then we waited. Along with everyone else. For an hour and a half.
We were glad we did though, because by the time things started, it looked like this …
If we’d been any later at all I wouldn’t have been able to get this …
It was an amazing spectacle. Full of pomp and pageantry! Just what you’d expect from Buckingham Palace really. The two bands played off against each other, beginning with the theme from Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and I was enraptured from then on!
We spent another hour there, and by then we were feeling the chill in the air and need for more substantial food than we’d eaten, so we headed off in search of food and the next entertainment. Up around Constitution Hill and the Wellington Arch …
… we headed towards Harrods. We may have spent hours (and hours) ((and hours)) in Harrods. Possibly not the most sensible itinerary organisation I’ve ever done. We may have dropped some serious £££s. But, we didn’t buy the £199,000 bathtub. I’m not sure why. It was shiny AND sparkly!
But Himself remained unconvinced.
We possibly did stop off at the milk bar and have milk shakes. The ice creams were spectacular masterpieces of ice creamery confection, but I haven’t eaten that much ice cream in my LIFE, so the thought of it all in one bowl made me feel ill just watching the other patrons.
We did head down to the Food Hall though for the first (of many) Neverwhere fan moments. (More of those in future episodes.)
And Wow. David Jones has nothing on this bunch. It was phenomenal. Himself even bought a string of dried Nora Chillies for his paella makings at home. These have become difficult to find in Amsterdam, so now we have them hanging on the kitchen window along with the smoked garlic. Problem solved!
We spent a lot of time walking the first few days in London, and one thing that I found ever amusing while there was the penchant for only having the building façade on the first floor of the buildings.
It’s like someone thought; “It’s not like anyone will ever look up! Let’s just make it pretty to eye-level!” As you can see, just above the clean white facades, the bricks are often brown, dirty, and grim looking. *shudders*
Once we’d eaten a hasty dinner the first night we decided to take ourselves off on a little wander around the space in which we’d be living for the next week. We’d found a really good deal on a studio in Chelsea, just down from the South Kensington Station; so the Kings Rd was calling my name, and it was probably safer for our wallets if the shops were closed at the time I discovered them!
Near the end of the first day on our Adventure, I’ll leave you with what is possibly the best shop name ever.
Goodnight London, sleep tight, and we’ll be back in the next exciting blog post for further adventures!