Well, today being the 27th of December marks my 6th day abroad… It feels like weeks. I have crammed so much into my days here so far, a friend who I caught up with said she thinks I’ve seen more of London in 6 days than she’s seen in 4 months. I have taken to this city like a duck to water, like peas to carrots – I haven’t wiped the smile off my face since I got off that plane.
The only downer (and it is a REALLY BIG downer…) is that it’s just SO DAMN COLD! ALWAYS! EVERYWHERE! I know I am usually cold blooded but this is SUMFIN ELSE! I’m wearing two socks (that’s two pairs, not one of each foot…), thermals under my pants, 4 thermal tops (in an assortment of colours) over my singlet, a skivy, and then a big bulky knit… Then two puffy jackets that stow away in my hand bag just in case (that I mostly end up wearing, anyway), an alpaca wool shawl (my favourite purchase so far from the Spitalfields markets!), a snood (thanks Zia Maria!), two pairs of gloves (beggar gloves first then big long ones over my elbows to prevent any cold getting up my sleeves; Thanks Zia Mirella!), a beanie and Kathmandu handwarmers in my pockets…. AND I’M STILL COLD! I really have never experienced anything like it! I don’t know if I will ever get used to it. Today it was 2 degrees and I found myself saying, “it’s a nice day isn’t!” The cold has gone to my head.
Another thing that’s been hard to adjust to is that it gets dark at around 3.30pm – it’s just as well that the English know how to make the dark perfectly romantic. There are gorgeous fairy lights everywhere and they really go all out with the Christmas decorations! This is at the Southwark Christmas markets!
A couple of nights ago I was heading back to my hostel (don’t get my started on the hostel… I know this may shock some of you but it would appear hostel living is not for me… more on that another time, perhaps I will start a new blog just talking about my hostel experiences…) and I was feeling a bit sleepy and decided to pack it in for the night after a long day… Turned out it was only 4.30pm but the early nightfall really messes with you! Needless to say I went to bed anyway COS I DO WHAT I WANT!
On that note, it’s been quite amazing doing what I want when I want to do it! Don’t get me wrong, I was never prevented from doing anything I wanted to back home, but this is a whole new level… For example… I spent approximately 3 hours at a Jewish Museum that I just happened to walk past in Camden the other day. I got up and strolled around the deserted city at 5am the other day! Just because I could! Then, today, I spent 3 and a half hours drifting around the Tower of London! Isn’t that positively indulgent! I read every single thing I could lay my eyes on! It was fantastic!
I won’t go into detail because honestly, words and photos do not do this majestic place ANY justice at all, but since I have been here I have:
- Done a Jack the Ripper tour – SO AMAZING loved every minute of it, actually got to walk the same cobblestones where one of the murders took place!
- Been to the Southbank Christmas markets and had a white hot chocolate with Galliano… Oh. My. God. Get round that!
- Taken the wrong bus 40 minutes in the opposite direction when trying to get to a place that was 40 minutes away to begin with – needless to say that was a long afternoon
- Eaten my weight in both shortbread and Minstrels – but I figure that that’s ok because I’ve been walking about 20 km per day and haven’t had time to stop and eat … TOO MUCH TO DO
- Met amazing new friends – From Australia…. (and some from other places too but mostly Australia… how boring is that…!)
- Tried to go clothes shopping with 47 layers of clothing on and realised it probably isn’t going to happen…
- Taken myself out on a date to the West End and to see the musical Wicked for the 7th time. Hey. It’s the ultimate.
- Met up with some friends from Australia who have been here mere months but already sound like Brits… This fills me with such hope! I may return with an accent yet!
- Run out of phone battery so many times looking up tube maps and bus routes I have learnt to take my charger with my everywhere I go
- Learnt that English people can’t make a decent hot chocolate to save themselves (unless it has alcohol in it)
- Still made no progress in recognising the different coins and their values
- Been to Camden Markets and Spitalfields Markets
- Seen where Sir Thomas Moore was executed and found out where the expression laughing your head off came from… amazing amazing amazing story of irony!
- Eaten some more shortbread
- Drifted around Shoreditch and then eaten curry at Brick Lane
- Gave a pound to a homeless man because he said he was broke but he really just felt like a cuppa tea… bless
- Seen Harrods with my own eyes
- Visited most places from the Monopoly board; Oxford Circus, Piccadilly, Angel, Islington, Regent Street, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Bow, Whitechapel and Mayfare (My brother kindly sent me this map in case I needed help getting around…)
- I have been invited to an “orphan’s Christmas dinner” with beautiful people who were so kind and welcoming
- Drunk mulled wine and MULLED CIDER which is even more delicious than mulled wine if that’s even possible…
- Been picked up by an Italian Londoner when I was trying to buy his brownies from the Borough Market after I impressed him with my use of the word ‘spiccies’
- Had guacamole made for me fresh on Christmas day by a dorm mate
- Eaten some more shortbread
- Seen a totally pimped up Merc encrusted with diamonds in Piccadilly
- Been blown away by the price of… well… EVERYTHING…
- Taken a few selfies
- Seen the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London (see – proof of my two layers of gloves in this photo!!)
- Seen the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge which I always thought was the London Bridge…
- Had a minor leak at my hostel
- Found me some popcorn! Thank god!
- Done The Dungeons of London tour – WOW… It’s like a ghost walk but there’s a ride in the middle and real actors and it’s freakin scary and I had no one to hold hands with I just kept grabbing onto the poor people who were nearest to me….!
- Missed my family and friends on Christmas
- Received the most incredible Christmas gift from mum and dad – A mini copy of the polar express with a real life bell…. <3 #dontstopbelieving
- Seen Victoria station – IT’S SO BUSY!
- Taken a double decker bus
- Seen a big phallic building they call the glass dildo…. Hmm.
- Fallen even more in love with the English accent (if that’s at all possible)
- Missed my family like crazy; yes, already – not a great start I know
- Eaten some of my friend’s fish and chips… Couldn’t commit to buying a whole serve for myself, was too busy eating shortbread
- Tried to house hunt; unsuccessfully – went to an agent who barely listened to what I wanted and then proceeded to drive me (horrendously – if you think I’M a bad driver!) around London showing me these disgusting shoe boxes that were renting for an absurd amount…. I’m not a princess but these places were falling apart, stinky (!) and I would have to lay down to take my shoes off, no room for bending… and no living room… Where on earth would I write my blog from!?!
I think that’s about it…
So, all in all… I think I’m going to like it here!Honestly, the two problems I’m going to have with London are; the weather… and wanting to share every minute of everything with my amazing family. I think dad has already blocked my Viber messages. I’m sorry but it’s just so exciting and I have no one to share this stuff with except them… and I guess my readers! Lucky you! So once I find a place and get out of this godforsaken hostel that smells like feet and is growing its own species of field mushrooms in the shower block, I will be sure to fill you in on what happens next! Hope all is good back home… because I will be back there some day!
The Bug Xxx