So, to kick off my very last vacation as a TAPIF Language Assistant before I sadly have to go home and get a job that pays actual money, I decided to take a trip to London, Cork, and Galway. First on that list being two full days and three nights in London. I did the cheapest route possible from Strasbourg, which was to fly from the Bale-Muhouse airport to London Stansted. Now, to get from London Stansted to actual London, I had to take the Stansted Express, which is a train that takes about an hour to get to the center of London. After getting to the center city, it was about a twenty-minute walk to the Wombat Hostel, where I would be staying.
The entire first day, I explored everything that was within walking distance to the hostel. After eating some toast and coffee at the hostel, I walked down to the Tower Bridge, which was only about a ten-minute walk. I spent the first part of the morning exploring the bridge and the water, taking photos and taking in the views.
Afterwards, I walked along the water, and stopped by the HMS Belfast, a former battleship that is now a historical exhibit. It was interesting to see the inside of the ship, as well as to see how everything would have been used in its prime, so if you have a few extra bucks and some time to kill, I would definitely recommend it. Maybe not if you aren’t interesting in history at all, though.
After I was done there, I continued my walk, going by the London Bridge and stopping by the Southwark Cathedral while I was in the area, and continued on my way to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (well, a reconstruction of it), just in time for the afternoon tour. The tour was really interesting, and the tour guide gave a really nice introduction and background to the theater. I was very lucky to be able to take photos of the inside of the theater. It was tech week and there were rehearsals going on, but all of the actors were at lunch, so it wasn’t an issue.
When the tour was over, It was past time for lunch, so I stopped somewhere I could sit down and get a bite to eat before continuing. After I was no longer hungry, I stopped by to explore St. Paul’s cathedral, where a very nice old woman offered me her headset (for the optional tour), and informed me that I was standing in the place where Princess Dianna once stood. Unfortunately, In most Cathedrals photos are not allowed inside, so I tried to stay respectful and followed that rule. I took my time in the cathedral, and took the opportunity to get a cup of coffee afterwards, window shop a bit, and returned t the hostel to clean up and charge my phone, and make dinner.
My second and final day in London, I tried to do all of the things that I could not access by foot the day before. Once again, I started the day with the hostel’s offered breakfast, before heading out toward the metro to try and score a place where I could see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. I got there fairly early, which was good, because I was able to stand in the front of the crowd and see pretty well. Check out the video below, to see a part of it that I filmed, if you’d like! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any good pictures of the palace itself, because there were way too many people around. Toward the end of the ceremony, it started to rain, and in true English fashion, continued to rain for the rest of the day.
I then took a short was to the Westminster Cathedral, explored that a bit, and sat down for a simple sandwich for lunch, and waited out the rain a bit. After the rain had lightened up a tad, I moved on toward the Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, I did not buy tickets in advance, so I had to wait in a rather long line before getting in, but the views inside were worth the wait and the price in my opinion.
The last place I went to see before heading back to try off before dinner, is the Westminster Palace and Parliament. I took a walk from the Abbey, walked by the palace, took some photos and took in the view, before continuing toward Big Ben, only to find it completely covered in scaffolding. I’ll have to come back someday and see it in its full glory someday. Before hopping on the metro, I walked to the Westminster bridge and took some photos of the water and the London Eye. After that, It was time to go back to the hostel, dry off my wet clothes, get some dinner, and pack my things for my flight to Ireland the next morning.