“There’s no place like home”, Dorothy definitely got that right. Now home is a very subjective word though. I follow the philosophy “home is where your hat lays”. Traveling days seem endless. It is with this desperation and perspiration that Christine and I arrive at Carolyn’s flat. Having a bed to sleep in with friends surrounded me sent me into a deep slumber. Waking up the next morning I was ready to greet London with the same strength we took over Spain. First things first… food. We hop onto the 25 bus and take the tube towards Piccadilly Circle to Bella Italia right outside of Top Shop. The spring breeze cools us as we exit the tube station and walk onto the street. Large signs of SALE and 50% OFF fill the shop windows. The first week of July is Europe’s sale time. Thousands of Brits enter shops pounds burning in their wallets.
After a delicious lunch of spinach dip, bruchetta, and linguini and mushrooms we carry our full bellies over to the shops. We cross the street looking right then left, which was totally awkward. Top Shop has to be in it’s own postcode because of its size. With 20-foot high ceilings we maze through rows of accessories, purses, earrings, necklaces, and hats, bear in mind this is only the part of the first floor. Escalators can be found everywhere taking you to shoes, lingerie, jeans, and sale sections. I was entirely overwhelmed and probably could of spent 2000 pounds there so I left empty handed.
Our British guides aka Carolyn and her friend Kat, leave us outside Top Shop and send us down the street with wise words of wisdom about Centers we will walk into. Semi confident we walk down the street, at least we speak the language we can’t get that lost. Levis, Apple and other higher priced stores line the streets. We stop into a Starbucks to get a drink to enjoy as we sight see. Unlike Spain, the British walk the streets eating and drinking. Nothing is Spain was “para llevar” meaning to go. With an iced latte and black tea in hand we walk towards the unknown. We find Piccadilly Square, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. The last square had to be my favorite with 2 huge fountains in the middle of a large oval sitting in front of a large Victorian building.
A convenient map in front of the square shows us the way to Buckingham palace. We walk towards the palace leaving Big Ben in the horizon. Walking down the streets I see parallels to Washington DC. Wide sidewalks large trees every 100 feet follow the white buildings similar in architect of DC offices. I can definitely see where the influence came from. St James Park leads us towards the palace. Swans, pigeons and squirrels are along the pathway. From a bridge we can see the London Eye and an impressive palace. The park ends and we find ourselves at Buckingham Palace. After some classice pictures of the guards, building, flag and seal we walk on. The signs in London easily instruct the tourists where to go. While looking for a bar to watch the Brazil Chile football game at we find Westminster Abby, Big Ben and Parliament. Outside of Parliament hippies chill in tents with signs saying positive motives about change.
Crossing the London Bridge we find the Dave n Busters of London. With a Foster’s in hand we watch the game. As the sun sets we take the tube back to Mile End stop to see Carolyn and to begin our first night in London. Our night in London features Tiger Tiger, a popular club near Piccadilly Square. The night ends with the sun rising over the canal near Carolyn’s flat.
Another city conquered another great experience and as always tomorrow is another day…