After returning back to Dublin after spending 2 weeks traveling around the States, I unloaded and repacked my suitcase and set out for my next destination – London. I always wanted to make it over to London to see life through the British eye. Do they really eat mostly horrid food like fish and chips? How does the Tube compare to the El, Subway and DART? Can I navigate around easily enough so that I don’t get completely lost?
With those questions in mind, I set out by myself for a four day journey to see the sights and sounds London has to offer. First, having been without a car for around 4 years and having to rely on public transportation, I can confidently say that London has it down. The city is so well connected by the Tube. I’m also impressed by the amount of staff surveying the entrance gates and attending to customer needs. Public transportation is one area London has definitely invested in heavily, which pays off for a person such as myself who lacks any sense of direction.
My accommodation wasn’t anything 5 star, but it was a hostel in West Kensington that I would recommend to anyone travelling to London who wants to be in a great location at a low cost. The hostel is called the Ace Hotel http://www.ace-hotel.co.uk/ and has the friendliest staff and great amenities including a bar, game room and internet. I stayed in a 4-man female only room (two bunk beds) and roomed with two very sweet Italian girls who spoke very little English.
When I arrived, I changed clothes and went for a run to get my bearings down. I took in the sights of the Natural History Museum (later toured), Harrods historic department store and Windsor Castle. That evening I headed to the West End to hand out with the other tourists. I stumbled upon a sushi shop and grabbed a little dinner and then bought a ticket to see the play, The Lion King….which was spectacular! Here’s me at the Sushi shop pre-showtime.
The next day I toured the Natural History Museum and other parts of Kensington, which was great because there were no ques. Next on the list was Buckingham palace and Westminster Abbey. Both were hardly crowded at all, so I got to check things out up close. I took a stroll over the bridge (don’t recall which one) and saw the London Eye; a gigantic Ferris wheel. Finally, on my way home after dinner, I strolled by London’s one and only Whole Foods!
Day three of my holiday in London included a trip to Vinopolis, a wine museum, and dinner out at a nice Italian restaurant. As long as I stayed away from the chipperies, I figured I should be able to find some decent food. At the wine museum I sampled wines from Israel, Argentina, France, and Spain. The one that stands out is a desert wine from Israel, but unfortunately I don’t have the name.
My last full day in London I only had time for one event, so I picked the Tower of London. It was a drizzly day, which distracted visitors, and enabled me to avoid any ques. The Crown Jewels were the best part of the tour, but the towers themselves brought a lot of history with them both inside and out.
After hopping around London, I set off for Surrey, England, which is just south of London. I decided to try out a Yoga retreat and see what it would be like. Well, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, but nevertheless I had a great time and got in some much needed rest and relaxation and learned how to cook some delicious Indian dishes. I learned all about Ayurveda medicine and found out that my dosha is Vata-Pitta. Apparently I have some imbalances which can hopefully be stabilized with herbal medicine. The retreat is called Herbal Ayur and is run by a man who left his job as a CFO because he wanted to spread the practice of Ayurveda medicine to the Western world, hoping to help others find peace and balance. (http://www.herbalayur-retreats.co.uk/)I intend on going on another retreat, but instead of for relaxation purposes, I hope to improve my yoga techniques, especially with the Astanga Yoga practice.
Taking a trip by yourself can be a scary thing, but I seized the opportunity to discover a new place and found a new city that I love.