More wandering in London, England – England & Wales trip part II.II

When I was chilling in Trafalgar Square, the weather was beautiful–sunny and warm. I even took off my coat! After lunch, however, the weather was a different story. Clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped by a few degrees, and it rained (though luckily not too heavily since I didn’t have an umbrella). I wasn’t going to let the weather stop me, though!

Because I could see where the London Eye was while in Trafalgar Square, I decided to head off that way. Just before the pedestrian bridge, I got distracted by Whitehall Palace and the gardens, so I wandered over there and took some pictures.

I then had my first awkward moment while in England, hurrah!

I took a picture of some flowers and when I put my camera down, I saw a guy staring at me. He smiled at me so I smiled back. He then started to walk away, but we kept looking/staring at each other, and at one point he looked like he was going to say something to me but he didn’t.

It was awkward. But hilarious. I love moments like that.

After this awkward exchange, I walked across the Thames for the first time. It took me forever to get across the bridge because I kept stopping every five seconds to take pictures of/stare at the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament (aka Westminster Palace).

When I reached the other side of the river, I started walking towards the Houses of Parliament. There was a little amusement park area near the London Eye, and in this area was a ton of people dressed up as characters.

Not going to lie, they were quite creepy.

There was a Mickey Mouse that wasn’t quite Mickey Mouse, people dressed up as Grim Reapers and skeletons, an all-gold man who didn’t move at all, and other characters who have been repressed from my memory because I was so creeped out. I all but ran through that section and avoided eye contact with all of them.

I walked across a different bridge towards the Houses of Parliament, and when I was just across from Big Ben (fun fact–Big Ben is the name of the bell in the tower, not the tower itself, the tower itself is just called the Clock Tower), I took the tube to my hostel.

I’ve ridden the tube in three different cities and countries now and thus consider myself an expert at tubes. London’s underground system is pretty complicated, though. For example, all lines of the Oslo tube run through the main downtown section of Oslo, where the palace and Stortinget etc. are. Not so in London. Sometimes if you want to get to even a main station in London, you might have to change lines multiple times depending on where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Thankfully there are maps in all the stations otherwise I would have gotten lost.

It took me a while to find my hostel because street signs seem to be optional in Europe. I had this problem in Stockholm too–street signs aren’t always displayed, and when they are, it’s not always obvious where they’re placed. In the US the street signs are on the posts at the street corners. Most of the street signs in Europe are on buildings themselves. Anyways, I got all turned around and lost for a while because I couldn’t find the street sign for the road my hostel was on.

But I found it eventually!

It wasn’t the greatest hostel I ever stayed in, especially the showers. If you rate shower pressure on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, the water pressure was a 0. It wasn’t even one stream–it was just kind of a mist.

Took me forever to get the shampoo out of my hair, let me tell you.

Anyways, after I dropped my stuff off I went back to Westminster Palace to walk around there for a bit. I then headed over to Westminster Abbey.

After that I tried to walk to the Tower of London (I had walked to everything else previously so I thought it was doable) before realizing that I wasn’t even sure I was walking the right direction down the Thames. So I just took the tube to the Tower Hill station, assuming that was where the Tower of London was (correct in that assumption).

The Tower of London was definitely not what I was expecting. I was expecting more of, well, a tower. It’s actually a palace/fortress castle.

And then I found Tower Bridge, conveniently situated by the Tower of London. Tower Bridge was the first landmark I saw in London (on the plane flying into London in January) so I was very excited to find it again!

After that I went to Starbucks and got a strawberries and creme frappuccino. YUM. It’s the first one I’ve had since leaving the US back in January, since there’s only one Starbucks in Norway (in the Oslo-Gardermoen airport) and it’s horrendously expensive. And I had fish and chips for dinner, which I’ve been looking forward to for so long 🙂

By this time the sun had set, so I went back and took pictures of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge at night. I then made my way back to the hostel and slept like a log.

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