Wednesday, March 12, 2014

First Impressions: London

I've been in the UK now for about a week and I just can't get over how familiar everything feels in this beautiful city of London. I'm so incredibly comfortable here!! 
From the moment I stepped foot into the tube I felt like I knew where I was and exactly what I was doing.
Which is crazy, I dont even know where I am back home.
What follows is a record of my first experience of London, I apologise in advance if it bores the shit out of you. 

Getting through customs was such an anxious experience. I just wanted to finally see London, and this waiting game was getting rather painful. 
Maybe it was because of this that Heathrow unimpressed me. There was something really unfriendly about terminal 3. 

All that didn't matter once the airport disappeared from view.

Amy had given me the most incredible instructions from Heathrow to her stop, so this first trip on the London tubes was super easy. 
The tube is incredibly efficient, actually reminded me a lot of the subway in NYC, except a bit friendlier, more over ground travelling which was nice! Great views! I must have looked like a bit of an idiot with a constant grin plastered across my face!

Jetlag affected me far more than I could have expected. I can't remember having felt anything like it travelling to America. It sucked.
I didn't have too much trouble sleeping, but during my waking hours all I wanted to do was nap.
The worst of it was when I stood still, constantly feeling like I was on a boat, swaying, like I was seriously about to fall flat on my face. 
So I kept in the move, and after a nice wee sleep in the next morning I took myself off to see what London had to offer!

London seriously amazes me.
I trained into Waterloo for a look around the river, not really knowing what to expect. I followed the crowd out of the station and down the street and just stood there in awe. 
I mean, I've seen the London Eye heaps in pictures, but seeing it in person was something else!!!
It is such an amazing and beautiful structure.

And then there was Big Ben!! Words can't even describe the intensity of this building.
I'm pretty sure 'wow' came out of my mouth numerous times.
That clock.
The river is such a cool buzzing area and makes for an amazing walk, these two structures taking over the skyline!!

Amy took me on a wee tour of the streets and we stopped off at the incredible St Pauls Cathedral. There is this amazing viewing platform at one of the restaurants around the corner from St Pauls where we stopped and took many photos.
Again, I couldn't wipe the grin off my face the entire evening.

After this initial venture into the city I couldn't wait to see more. The next day I ventured around the suburb of Putney and soaked up the spring sunshine!
 Putney is stunning.
I walked part of the "Riverside Walkway" and spent some time at the park.
This is the first time I've truely noticed Christchurch's heritage. I think it helps that it is spring and the blossoms and daffodils are in full bloom, you can probably imagine my excitement in seeing these beautiful spring plants scattered around the place.
With one more day left in London before heading off to Bristol I decided I wanted to do the token touristy experience of Buckingham Palace, so on thursday I jumped on the tube to Victoria Station and did just that!

I couldnt have been happier. It is such an amazing area and an incredible building, I cant even describe.

After an embarrasing amount of selfies (and a few serious photos too)  I continued on my adventure, wandering aimlessly through St James Park.
I spent far too much time here.
It is so beautiful. And I think because the weather was amazing it made it even better! I couldn't get enough, it was incredibly inspiring.
It reminded me of the Botanic Gardens in Christchurch quite a bit, walking along the rivers edge with daffidols planted in the grass! So familiar, so beautiful. One side of the river, I found this  incredibly interesting, is set aside for wildlife and is fenced off from human use. I thought this was such a great idea and a wonderful way to encourage wildlife in a city as busy as this!
The views here are also astounding. From multiple points along the river you get glimpses of the London Eye and other impressive English architecture!!!
 I could have spent hours here, but there was more to see and I was running out of daylight hours.
I walked all afternoon, to the Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square, the Bristish Museum, Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Hyde Park, and then gave in and jumped on the tube at Marble Arch and made my way home, leaving the rest of London for another day, another adventure!!


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