GET AROUND LONDON EASILY
It’s been almost a week since I got back from the UK and was hit by a ton of work waiting for me at the office and, the freezing Johannesburg cold I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Now as promised I said id share with you guys a little bit more about my trip and here it is. As some of you guys already know, Leicester was my home for the time I was in the UK and only managed to go to London for a short while but it was awesome none the less.
The day started off at 4 AM when I had to catch a bus from Leicester to London which took about 3 hours. Left Leicester at 5 AM and was in London by 8:15.
My cousin, Memory, was supposed to meet up with me by 8 AM but was delayed so I panicked. I had a UK number that wasn’t recharged and a South African number that was roaming. I did however remember that there was a MacDonald’s nearby which had free WIFI. But before I could get there a stranger greeted me sitting in his car by Victoria station. He said hi, I said hi back and moved swiftly along. While waiting for the robots (traffic lights as the Europeans call them) to open I noticed that the man that had greeted me had followed me! I was a bit scared but in my mind I’m thinking… if he tries to do anything weird, ima beat his ass. But that wasn’t the case: Thank God! He asked if I needed help, I said I needed to call my cousin and he offered I use his phone, I called her and she met me by MacDonald’s and he went on his merry way.
Seeing Memory was pure bliss. She reminded me so much of me. I loved what she was wearing; she looked so stylish and so chic.
The plan for the day was to buy some clothes, shoes, later visit our gran and eventually go back home. As you can see I was wearing confortable boots which unfortunately took their toll on me after 9 hours of wearing them. I was ready to walk bare foot around 4 pm lol.#prettyhurts
This post is after all about how to get around in London easily, quickly and effectively so if you’ve never been to London but plan to visit keep on reading.
- Have a tube map with you at all times. Memory topped her oyster card and I bought a day ticket which cost me 12 Pounds, roughly R240.00. The good thing about this train ticket is that you can use it to go anywhere underground, over ground as well as on busses. Memory and I went everywhere and we visited almost every shop, we took the train at least 10 times underground but the ride to her place was over ground. My tube map was Memory, she knows London Underground like the back of her hand. But for some of us who didn’t grow up in London and who might not have cousins and family living in London, a tube map is very important. Know where the train is going, which direction it is going to take and where you are going to get off.
- Do not look like a tourist. While I was like a little kid looking at everything and absorbing every moment and bits of sunlight I brought my African mentality along and kept my belongings to myself. Although the UK is relatively a safe place, crime is everywhere and better be safe than sorry right? Right. Tourists are usually the ones that get targeted by thieves. If you take a camera, make it a small one instead of a large SLR and try to put your belongings into a more casual bag instead of a backpack. Well I was far away from home anyway but we were safe,
- Look for the little places. It is very tempting to just see all the big attractions in London during your visit, but there are thousands of small shops, restaurants and parks that are hidden treasures of the city. They are always less busy than the large tourist attractions and give you a real feel of London. Our prerogative was to spend the day in London and have a good feel of the city so we did the usual, visited the London bridge, we got around to seeing the palace and we partook in the daily activities of taking pictures and having fun. We sat at the park next to the palace and bought sandwiches that wear ridiculously expensive but all in all, was a good day and last but not least;
- When in London check how much your spending. We had some cash on us but it’s always better to use a credit or debit card as those are less easy to steal. More importantly always know how much you are spending. The rand to the pound is roughly 1 POUND = 18 RANDS rounded off 1 to 20. Yep so if I was buying a shoe for 30 Pounds, I was spending roughly R600.00 but if you have an unlimited budget this might not apply to you.
My bus was leaving for back to Leicester at 10:30 PM so we left Memory’s place around 8:00 PM, got to the station and I boarded my bus but before boarding the bus I bought airtime of 10 pounds and loaded it into my O2 sim card so I could call a cab from Leicester station to my place. We arrived in Leicester around 01:00 AM and I was in bed at around 02:00 An entire day well spent in London.
The below images were taken in London city center where we later stopped by Lancôme to get our makeup done then carried on with our day. Images courtesy of : Memory
Finding Mandela brought flash backs to back home, Mahatma Gandhi was a plus!
We then finally moved to the palace, some people asked to take pictures with us as we wondered if the palace gates were made of pure gold. Thoughts that brought us to the conclusion that if they were made of real gold they would be at a safer place than on the gates.
The next bundle of images were taken by the London bridge and the London eye. We couldn’t get clear shots without other tourists in the back ground but we managed, taking turns at the camera.