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Jenn and Sanja’s diary: London
Away We Go…
Sanja and her friend Jenn decided to take some time off from the work and all daily routines here in Edmonton, and travel the world for a while. I will publish blogs about their traveling adventures, so return to this site again to read more. They left Edmonton in mid July 2010 for a short visit to London, and than headed off for capital city of Croatia – Zagreb.
London: Before crossing the street… warning for tourists!
Travelers & bloggers: Sanja & Jenn
They left Edmonton in mid July 2010 for a short visit to London, and than headed off for capital city of Croatia – Zagreb.
July 14-16, 2010
We arrived in London separately. Both of us were still groggy from my muscle relaxants (I injured my back a few days before the trip). Since Sanja had arrived an hour prior to me, she was awaiting my arrival past customs.
Sanja seemed to get past customs no problem, yet myself, well lets just say I was lectured for 25 minutes on who the UK allows into he country “I am sorry Miss, but we are unlike Canada and their customs, we do not allow just anyone in”. I got off with a warning and was given 48 hours in the country. I am not sure if he was just giving me a hard time because I stated “unemployed” or that I had no idea where I was going.
Once we collected our 140 lbs in luggage (no, this is not a joke), we proceeded to the trains. We had been advised the train system was tricky, so we wanted to give our selves plenty of time to get there without rushing. Since I was still injured from my back incident, poor Sanja was responsible for majority of the luggage handling throughout the airport. I must say, the airport wasn’t half as big as I thought it would be. We managed to get to the trains in less than 10 minutes from collecting our luggage, even with the luggage being delayed from being taken off the plane. We had time to rest before taking the train to Downtown London.
We were surprised when our train pulled up completely empty. As I was getting onto the train, I had the pleasure of the door shutting on me. Since I was unable to lift the luggage in time, I let go of my handle and watched the luggage fall toward Sanja. I gave a small wave to Sanja as she stood there in shock with all bags at her feet. I think we both had a mini panic attack. Once we both realized the train was not going to leave either of us separated, we could both breathe.
We struggled to get on the train with all the bags. Sanja was getting yelled at by some man to get on the train, not even taking a look at all the bags she actually had to get on the train with. We did it though. We came to realize that we work very well under pressure. We rode the train to the last stop, London Victoria. We managed to get our luggage through the huge train station to hail a cab to our hotel.
We have been in disbelief on how not one person would assist us with any of our bags, not that we expected help, but an offer would have been polite. The cab driver didn’t even help us get everything into his cab, he just sat there waiting impatiently as we loaded all our stuff in his cab.
About 5 blocks later and 5 British pounds we were dropped outside our hotel. Once again removing all our luggage on our own with no assistance from the cabbie. As we looked into the hotel we realized we booked a budget hotel, which didn’t have an elevator nor a bell boy. So once again, there we are struggling to get all our bags up the 2 flights of stairs. We laughed so hard when we tried to open the door to our room to realize the room might have been as big as most of our bathrooms back home. Once again, not joking. As we managed to fit ourselves and our bags into the room we sat in a numb state that yes, we had made it.
We found the nearest pub to our hotel and had some lunch. Familiar foods like nachos and grilled cheese/ham sandwiches. Can’t go wrong. As we were paying our bill we noticed the “snacks” on the bar counter – pickled olives, popcorn, mixed nuts and a scotched egg. (don’t ask).
Since we were both exhausted but didn’t think going to bed at 1 pm in the afternoon would be smart, we decided to go check out some sights. When I say some sights what I mean is one. We managed to make it to Buckingham Palace. I think because we were both so tired, we didn’t get too excited as we stood in front the Queen’s home. We snapped a few pictures and proceed back towards our hotel.
We made a pit stop for the basics, water and chocolate digestive cookies. Then headed straight to bed at 4 pm. We awoke at 10:30 pm well rested and ready to take on London, or at least that’s the idea we had for the first 20 minutes of waking. As I sat here to type out this first excerpt I watched Sanja struggle to find a plug in to charge her camera battery. She sat there all confused that all our plugins were child proof but soon to realize she just was using the wrong adaptor. Yes people, she was using the typical standard European adaptor but London has their own 3 prong adaptor. Now we are off to hit up London like originally planned. In true Canadian form – lululemons all the way!
Day 2 (July 15, 2010)
So, turns out, that a combination of muscle relaxants and jet lag is a bad idea. Day 2 started at 13:40 when I finally made myself sit up in bed, look at the time and say, “seriously Jenn, we need to get up”. We clearly missed the included breakfast at the hotel, so in search of a good breakfast place we went. Although, first stop needed to be an exchange office where they would assault our Canadian dollar once again. So, we randomly chose a direction to walk in
search of the nearest exchange office. After 30 minutes of strolling random london streets we finally came across a post office that was a little nicer in the exchange rate, than the previous day at Victoria underground station. Once we stuffed our pockets with the 60 GBP we were off in search of food. But, turns out we accidentally came across all the biggest sights London had to offer, such as Big Ben, the Parliament buildings, London eye, and a few large cathedrals. We kept walking and eventually got a little lost (although my inner compass was definitely guiding me in the right direction), so we stopped and asked for directions to Victoria station just to get our bearings. The guys completely pointed us in the wrong direction, but not to worry, we found our way anyway. We finally made it to an area that was familiar and grabbed a quick bite to eat in a very nice park at Buckingham Palace. Having walked for two hours straight we decided to sit down for a nice coffee and read our books. It turns out we both really enjoy not being on a schedule and having nothing to do. So after about an hour at the coffee shop we strolled back to our hotel to freshen up a bit before dinner.
We decided to treat ourselves with dinner, and by that I mean, actually sit down in a restaurant and order a meal. The sign outside this cute little italian place said “pizza and a glass of wine 10GBP”. So we thought that sounded great and took a seat. Well, one glass of wine turned into a few and of course couldn’t pass up dessert once we were a little tipsy, so our budget went out the door and a credit card came in handy.
So now, it’s 2AM, and we’re both wide awake thanks to our early afternoon wake up. We need to be on the bus to London Luton airport in two hours. I guess we won’t be needing that wake up call we asked for.
To be continued…
Have a good and healthy season.
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