After circling London for a few loops, a whirlwind exit from the aircraft and through customs (halted only when Sarah’s pack was one of the 1st on the luggage carousal, mine one of the last).
Our plan was simple. Despite the fatigue, stay awake as long as possible this first day to get our body clocks straight back into sync.
I’m usually pretty handy at pushing on through little sleep, however for Sarah this is always a challenge. We were staying with a friend whilst in town, however he was going to be out until the evening. Queue our fallback option.
The day earlier, Sarah’s mum had actually arrived in London, so we utilised her hotel room to both store our packs for the day as well as shower and freshen up.
Now it has long been joked about in Australia, the misnomer of a term that is the “English Summer.” A few mid 20 degree days and then let Autumn and the snows roll on in. Not this year. The day we arrived it was a nice and sultry 30+ degrees and with the amount of stone and concrete in this city, it takes an age to escape. It felt as hot as home!
We’d arranged 2 day London Passes in advance for the Sunday & Monday, so for today it was all about me taking it in and getting my first taste of Europe.
Heat aside, first impressions were incredibly good. This place was gorgeous with beautiful buildings in every direction, easy to traverse by foot, bus or ‘the tube’ (once I got my bearings) and just oozing history. Perfect for me.
It was with some smugness that I was even able to reveal the nose on the Admiralty Arch to both Sarah and her mum, despite them both having been there before (reading certainly does pay kids)
Before long it was time for lunch in the park, a baguette from ‘Pret a Manger’ to be precise. With the amount of processed and packaged foods I’ve discovered in England, this place is sensational. Well priced, healthy and flavoursome (also perfect for the hot weather). This is something that should be in Australia!
In due course we found ourselves down on the embankment (the edge of the Thames) gazing on the houses of parliament and the clock tower that holds Big Ben (that’s right, Big Ben is the bell, not the clock) and i thought given how late in the day it is, it’s time for a beer.
Long mornings and changing timezones will do that to a man. It was actually almost noon. But beer I wanted, so beer I had (In my defence i had already been awake 11hrs). Besides, I am on holidays!
Some more meandering allowed me good sightings of the rebuilt Globe Theatre, St Pauls Cathedral (which brought back childhood memories of the old Thames TV logo on the ABC network in Australia http://www2.tv-ark.org.uk/itvlondon/thames-main.html) and finally a short tube ride to get to Portobello Road market (yes, this was another dream from the old movie Bedknobs & Broomsticks being fulfilled).
By the time we met up with our friend Andrew at his Fulham abode, ducked out for a few catchup pints and realised that it was still only just getting dark it was 11pm. Time for bed indeed after a long long day. We had however indeed beaten the jetlag!