Sometime in early 2007, we decided to go to Europe for the very first time. What few pictures we took were later erased, and in reading my journal from that trip I find it annoying how clueless I was. But, whatever. That’s what I’m blogging about today.
“June 30th 2007. Were super-bored at the Winnipeg airport, seeing as we arrived at 11 am, and our flight was scheduled for 3:20 pm. Our plane was then late to arrive and late to take off, and we missed our 7:45 connection in Montreal. The flight we were able to get out of Montreal left at 10:30 pm. All of this was awesome. (No it wasn’t.) We tried to sleep on the plane but this proved difficult. Also, I felt sorry for the lady beside me, as I kept wiggling and moving around. Arrived in London July 1st feeling very crusty. Took a black cab to our hostel in Shepherd’s Bush, zipping through tight London traffic, it was insane — it only took the driver 20 minutes! We were WAY too early for check-in, 11 am, so we walked around the nearby park, then had lunch at a nearby pub. When we finally gained access to our room, we were thankful to have our own toilet and shower, but could feel the springs of the mattress. Anyway, we showered and then headed out again, because we had tickets to see Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’ at the Hammersmith Apollo!”
“With the girls’ choir and small symphony, it was truly amazing. The encore was then ‘Sweet Jane’, ‘Satellite of Love’, and ‘Walk on the Wild Side’. Incredible. Long standing ovation.”
Um… I’ll be honest here: I fell asleep. I know! I’m a monster! Ugh. That could almost be a theme of this blog, all the magnificent places I’ve squeezed in a nap.
“Afterward, we walked back to our hostel. It was maybe a 10-minute walk. Andrew did a really good job booking that. We went straight to bed. So tired. July 2nd Monday London: Woke up early in order to get to our red bus tour early. In the underground, we were delayed 20 minutes — it was crowded and HOT. Our tour began at Piccadilly Circus, and we saw the major sights such as Big Ben, Trafalger Square, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, and got off the bus to walk around at Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, and had lunch at a nearby pub…”
Also… that pub that we stumbled into, turned out to be on Knightrider Street… and it also turned out to be a favourite haunt of David Hasselhoff. There were all these pictures of him in there. This greatly annoyed me. So much so, that I didn’t even mention it in the travel journal. (But I still remember it… the scars run deep.)
“We then took the Thames cruise from the London Eye to St. Paul’s. At St. Paul’s, we went to the Tate Modern. Then got on the bus again and went to Kensington Palace and to the British Museum.”
British Museum? Check!
Buckingham Palace? Check!
“It was a very rainy day, but standing under trees sheltered us just fine at Kensington Palace. KP proved difficult to find for us, because, well, it just didn’t look like the tremendous palace we were expecting. I guess when you build things up in your imagination…? We then returned to Piccadilly Circus and had dinner at an Indian restaurant, which was uncommonly good… especially the shrimp and veggie curries (Andrew’s favourites may differ). THEN we went to Monty Python’s ‘Spamalot’ at the Palace Theatre, which was quite grand.”
And yes… I barely mentioned the Tate. I barely mentioned the British Museum. I barely mentioned any of these things. We were racing around like frenzied ants in a kicked-in ant-hill, all while missing an entire night of sleep.
I remember the end of the evening — I was exhausted, it was raining again, my sloppy jeans were absorbing water as I walked, and, well, I had a meltdown. It was the opposite of pretty. THIS is what I was talking about in my first post ever — about how travel can reveal the true ugliness within you — you have to face it. And face it we did.
Not sure if this was on the Thames or the Seine. We did both on this trip.
We returned to London last summer, and this time were much more calm about everything… and we stayed much longer, too. It was strange to see the hostel we’d stayed at that first time (we just went by on the bus, and stared in wonder: “Wow, that’s where we stayed in 2007!”). And you know what? Even though it may have been the worst hostel we’ve ever stayed at, I had a warm, nostalgic feeling toward it. We grew to know each other better there, and love and accept each other more.
Sorry London, for not giving you the time and attention you deserved on our first visit, all those years ago. You were good to us.