I arrived in London Gatwick Airport on Sunday, March 20, 2016. not the best airport I’ve been in, which was interesting. Could be the renovations they’re under. Any who as was the plan I took a Terravision bus to Bayswater in London. Although not without waiting for it to show up for more than an hour contrary to their sales pitch of every half hour. The sitting and waiting around seems to have been the theme for my travel to Europe. ALso, I think the streets are narrower here. The bus certainly seemed very close to everything, granted they do drive on the wrong side of the road.
Arriving on Bayswater it was only a short walk over to Inverness Terrace where my first hostel awaited. I booked this months ago on good recommendations and not awful pictures. I should have know better. I’m not great at descriptions but imagine a hallway now line it with 6 sets of bunk beds 3 high. Then fill the floor with all the people’s belongings. This was my room to share, the en suite was smaller than an airplane loo. But I sucked it up. I picked an available bed, middle or the stack by the balcony that we couldn’t go on. This was fine I though, I won’t be here much anyway. Ah, my naivety. Because it was already 3 p.m. by the time I got everything sorted and the time difference was unfavourable I decided to take it easy wander the area and go to bed early.
Inverness Terrace is paralle to Queensway which is full of shops. I already knew I needed to find a Carphone Warehouse to get my phone sorted. The guy who helped me was excellent, I’m now set up with Lebara for international calling and data. Spotty service over Zone 1 in London, but it’s working just fine on the Train up to Edinburgh. Terrible service, no service, on the Underground but I can’t have it all. It’s been important for me to have a connection home. As I’ve been experiencing, not homesickness, but just a feeling of being overwhelmed.
So, I got my phone sorted walked Queensway up and down, decided to turn in and do some online stuff. This is when I discovered my roommates were terrible and odd people. Probably not all of them, but unfortunately the ones that were there the same time I was. The fellow in the bunk above me is was noises, wiggly, and perpetually causing the beds to shake. I don’t know what he was doing and I don’t really want too, but it was horribly disturbing, and wouldn’t you know it he’s the one who got up at like 4:30 a.m. the next day with an annoying alarm to boot. The only other guest I saw was the strangest (so far) European man with a historically outdated haircut and a tendency to walk about in his little briefs. The debate is settled, only men I ever want to see should be wearing boxers at least. Urg. Needless to say,, I didn’t sleep well or long. which didn’t help my already tenuous grasp on my emotions. I’ve been easily on the verge of crying for three days now. It’s getting slightly better, but I’ve made some saner chooses, like leaving London early and booking Private rooms in Edinburgh.
I had already planned to walk from my hostel to Trafalger Square via the nearby parks (Hyde, Kensignton, and Green). I took off in the morning, coat pockets full of all my daily carry (intended to buy a bag somewhere along the way). Walked past Buckingham, took a picture in front of it. No changing of the guards this day, just the next. I wasn’t committed to seeing that happen anyway. Also it seemed a little underwhelming? I’m not sure I ever looked too closely at what my expectations were for the historical sites in London. Certainly I expected larger, but then when I consider the site of old buildings it makes sense that they are smaller. Moving along I traversed many intersections with seemingly no direction and I think I ended up just short of Trafalger. Never made it as I walked down whatever street I was on I bought a ticket to ride on the Big Bus London tour. Which also took me too long to find the bus stop to get on for. I am not good at directions here. Streets are not so well labelled and I am gps-less.
This tour was worth it. I enjoyed being ferried around the major landmarks of the Cities of Westminster and London. Although there were many opportunities to hop off (and on again) the only one I took was to pass through Harrods and stop at Accessorize to buy a lovely mustard yellow satchel which like the Tardis is turning out to be much bigger on the inside than expected. Also now when I wear my red boots, a green shirt and the yellow-ish satchel I have all the major condiments covered. Ketchup, Relish, and Mustard. 😀
Back on the buy it took me all the way back to Bayswater, at which point I had had my emotional melt down and come to the conclusion that I needed to get out of London and re-evaluate my entire trip. when I make a planning mistake I make a big planning mistake. In this case, lack of planning.
On the Big Bus tour the recorded audio quoted Samuel Johnson “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. If his is to be true then I am tired of life. While London has, perhaps, all the things that life can afford they may not all be worth seeing or doing.
I cancelled my next two nights in London, booked a hotel in Edinburgh, okay, fine it’s still a hostel but a single room at Argyle Backpackers. It sounds promising. I arranged to stay at an Airbnb in Kilbarchan on my quest to visit the Weavers Cottage there. I’m only now learning that it may not even be onpen until April! Another thing to deal with later today.
Then to end off Monday on a better note I visited Kings Cross Station at the Harry Potter Shop at 9 and 3/4. This as good. I used the Underground to get there, which I loved. I knew I would. I greatly appreciate good public transit.. And conveniently I purchased my train ticket to Edinburgh at Kings Cross. Being able to scope out the next location helps with my anxiety about the unknown.
The final cap to the day was eating at Nandos for the first and likely last time. Cheeky Nandos. It was exactly as spicy and interesting as expected although not the best digestive choice.
Didn’t sleep well again. Guess who and why. I did have a solid three hours from 1-4. Then the alarm of the guy on top went off every ten minutes for at least half an hour, why he wouldn’t just turn it off is still an aggravating mystery. THis is also when my, don’t want to miss the train, should be early paranoia kicked in, I could only doze from then until 6:30 which is when I gave up and got up. Dressed, packed, and checked out just after 7 a.m. THrough the underground at at Kings Cross by 7:40 another hour before the train leaves. So, I had a chocolate milkshake and a ham and cheese crossing, as one does, from the Giraffee Cafe on the second floor (what the British call First) at the station. Made me think of Cheri, my lovely Giraffee-like friend.
Am now sat on the train about an hour from Edinburgh. It’s a very good journey, no one next to me. I’m getting my electronics charged and a long and rambling post written. And I smile every time we pass another flock of sheep.