Visiting London and living in London are two completely different experiences. So instead of one all-encompassing (and epic) post about the English capital, I’m going to spread my tales out a little.
Being a tourist in London can be a daunting experience, especially when you’re not used to living in a big city. If I’d arrived straight from Dunedin, I think I would have been more than a little overwhelmed when I arrived. Having spent two months in Melbourne, however, I was used to the crowds and the noise and the sheer number of sights that a big city throws at you.
Tall and I spent four days in London when we were first reunited. We stayed in a nice hotel in a pretty dodgy area. This was actually a good introduction to the workings of the city, as well as its inhabitants – I certainly had my eyes opened by some of the things we saw and heard.
We spent most of our time walking around the centre of London. We wandered from Trafalgar Square to Parliament, and marvelled at Big Ben (which is big. Very Big). We wandered along South Bank, across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern and The Globe Theatre. We walked past the London Eye and decided not to join the queue of people waiting for a ride, choosing instead to stroll along the side of the Thames. We joined the crowds outside Buckingham Palace, and remarked how we expected it to be grander, and we wandered down to admire St Paul’s Cathedral.
We spent a lot of time holding hands and regaling each other with tales from the eight weeks we’d been apart. We skipped lunch, in a bid to save money (thank goodness for breakfast buffets), and found cheap restaurants for dinner. We thought we were so English, eating curry and drinking ale, and we tried our best to blend in.
On our second visit to London, we went to Wimbledon. Even though there was no one else around, one of the marshals made us “queue” so we could earn our “I queued at Wimbledon” stickers. We shared strawberries and cream, but couldn’t afford a glass of champagne or Pimms. We’d splashed out on Court Two tickets instead, and enjoyed watching relatively unknown players such as Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic.
We were enjoying spending time with friends and Tall’s cousins, but were acutely aware that neither of us had jobs, and that we were mowing through our savings at an alarming rate. So we reluctantly bought tickets for the train back to Market Rasen, and headed back to Greenwood House and gin at 10am.