After a couple of weeks settling back into a normal life structure and working routine I was already itching to scratch those infectious little travel bugs I caught in Europe. After travelling to so many diverse places it was quite shocking that I had never been down to the English hub, London. Having Rachel to visit and two good friends from home passing through at the same time on a holiday it seemed like the perfect time to whizz away and lose myself for a couple days on my first solo adventure.
After becoming extremely lost and missing my bus I had finally made it to London where I was totally bamboozled by the hustle and bustle of this beautiful city. From get go I was on the run but I wasn't alone. It seemed the entire city was on one big amazing race. No one had time to stop and smell the roses, this wasn't Manchester this was London and friendly didn't seem to fit into most peoples around the clock busy schedule.
Staying on the opposite side of the river right near the London bridge my plan was to make my way back across whilst seeing as many sights as possible. Its seems that with every turn of the head there is something new to see.
London bridge [✓]
London tower [✓]
Big Ben [✓]
London eye [✓]
Double decker buses [✓]
Westminster Abbey [✓]
Trafalgar Square [✓]
Buckingham Palace [✓]
St James Park [✓]
Oxford Road [✓]
By the end of the day I had covered so much ground, yet there was still so much of the city to see and explore. Meeting up with Rachel she took me on a night walk down to Southbank to have dinner and a few to many bottles of wine. Southbank is definitely one of my favourite areas of London. As you stroll along the waterside you are greeted by many young talents. Photographers, singers, skaters and movie makers performing as if the boulevard is there stage. Theres random little book stalls and an array of food vans all offering something different and delicious. Street venders line up ready to trick the next willing soul into placing bets on finding the ball under the cup. Its some what chaotic and relaxing for me all at the same time. Its a place my mind will race as it absorbs in everything so new and free, yet I can feel nothing but tranquility and peace in amongst it all as I savour every moment.
The next morning was the changing of the guards down at Buckingham Palace. I had seen many different changing of the guard ceremonies throughout my time in Europe but the changing at the Royal Palace is said to be something rather spectacular. Getting there extra early to get a good spot in amongst the crowd I waited patiently in the rain watching the band set up and the mass of people flock in. At that moment I missed James by my side more then anything. He loves going to castles and palaces watching these processions and I knew how much he would have loved to join me. Instead I was greeted at the palace by my darling friend from home Kellie and her two travel companions Aleshia and Hayden. After waiting for almost an hour we were told by the police that todays changing of the guards ceremony was to be cancelled due to the down poor. My disappointment soon subsided as I was to excited to finally be reunited on the other side of the world with such a close friend. We took off to lunch where we were to meet another friend from home Bronte, who was also holidaying with her friend Sophie. Dining in a cosy traditional English pub there was so much to catch up on. It had been seven months since we had seen each other yet it felt like it was just yesterday that we were together in Australia dancing in the sunshine.
From that moment on our day was like a repeat of my last, completely non stop. After wandering around the streets aimlessly soaking in all of London's good vibes we jumped on the tube and made our way down to Kings Cross Station where we were to full fill our long awaited childhood fantasy of entering Platform 9 3/4 from J.K Rowling's Harry Potter. Holding onto a trolly in the middle of a hectic train station pretending your jumping through a wall into another dimension was actually some of the most fun I have had. We looked insane, but we weren't alone as the line up to have a turn playing the role of a Hogwarts student snaked its way through the station. I imagined at this point what it would be like living in London with a tourist hotspot around every corner when all your trying to do is live an everyday normal life. At that moment I got a pang deep in my stomach, its the first time ever that I had a feeling of missing home, I miss Manchester.
The rest of our day was spent down in Camden exploring the neighbour hood and its well known markets. Although we were scared off by a torrential downfall that just wouldn't quit I of course still some how managed to make one sneaky purchase. Soaked to the core and with throbbing feet we jumped on the tube going in no particular direction as a plan merely to escape the wet. Popping out somewhere down Oxford we decided to call the day quits as the rain just wouldn't subside. Finding a little coffee shop we embraced the warmth, finally sitting down and our last final moments together before the girls Contiki tour officially started and I was to hop on my bus back to Manchester.
What a manic 36 hours I had just encountered. I could have spent weeks loosing myself in and around this buzzing city life. As hard as it was to say my goodbyes already to my friends I counted my lucky stars that I was able to have the opportunity to see them at all. As I climbed aboard the bus and waved off the gleaming lights in the now dark night sky. This isn't over. See you soon London, I will be back to visit you again.
The Wanderer's Daughter xx