After what seemed like the longest journey know to man, I finally arrived in London on Sunday afternoon.
The flights here were long and for someone who struggles to sit still for an hour on car trips, 12 hours was a challenge.
I met some lovely people on the plane trips, including a fascinating English woman who has spent time living all over the world (including Cyprus). She was a chatterbox so that flight (Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur) passed rather quickly.
At 5:15 on Sunday afternoon our flight touched down at London Heathrow (we could even see the landing thanks to fancy cameras on the tail!)
I was allowed entry into the country after being interrogated by a young immigration chap for about half an hour and convincing him I wouldn’t be camping outside the Queen’s house (aka Buckingham Palace) and causing any issues. By this stage I hadn’t slept for more than half an hour for 30 hours… I have no doubt I looked dodgy.
After a quick train ride I checked into my hotel in Paddington. It is 3 minutes walk from the underground which is fantastic. The hotelier was lovely and helped me carry my bag (only 11kg mind you – I packed light!) to my first level room. The hotel is clean and staff are nice.
I went for a walk along Bayswater Road (the edge of Hyde Park) and bought a meal at Marks and Spencer for dinner. I crashed and had the best night’s sleep ever.
Breakfast is included and is served in the quaintest little room. This morning I made my way there and enjoy a nice continental brekky. The Polish woman in the kitchen asked me no less than a dozen times if I wanted toast or more tea. It was quite funny!
After breakfast I set off on a walk to Oxford Street. This took a bit longer than I expected, but there was so much to see that I loved every minute of the walk. I witnessed some pretty epic road rage on the walk – one guy even got out of his car to abuse someone! Maybe his heater wasn’t working and he was cranky about being cold. It warmed up as I was walking but it was about 2°C this morning. It’s apparently going to get even colder! Luckily I have a lovely big jacket that is keeping me warm (thanks Jackie!)
I made it to Oxford Street and spent hours looking through the shops. The style is very different here to back home. I’m no fashionista, but I believe the clothes are probably like what we will have in Winter?
My main goal was to find some corporate attire appropriate for my visit to the City on Wednesday. I wasn’t having much luck until I explained my predicament to a gentleman in Gap who then spent some time helping me tee up a nice dress and belt.
I caught the Tube back to Paddington to have a quick bite to eat and then made my way to Camden to meet with Bernice, who was my neighbour growing up in Australia at her flat. Bernice was also my piano teacher for ten years and has the most beautiful grand piano which her son Felix kindly played for us. Bernice turns 90 in June but doesn’t look a day over 80.
After spending some time with Bernice, Felix drove me back to he and his wife Angela’s GORGEOUS house for some tea. The house was everything I have ever imagined an English home to look and the decor was phenomenal… it looked like it belonged in Home Beautiful magazine! A great night was had with all the family and I was so thrilled to have a home cooked meal with such lovely company.
The cab ride home was interesting and I was the one giving directions… mildly concerning. I managed to make it back to my hotel in one piece to write this first entry 😉