Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 22; London (again)

Well I left Dublin this morning to head on over to London and the airport process was so much easier this time around. The last time I flew Ryanair I experienced the most hectic lines I've ever stood in (but everything was good becasue I had 5 hours til my flight when the lines opened). It took me about 2 hours to get through the lines to fly to Dublin so I got to the airport really early again for this flight to London...took about 1.5 minutes this time. I was the only one at the counter and handed the lady my flight info and passport, she turned and handed it to another lady, that lady looked it over and stamped it and handed it back to me. "That's it?" I asked. "That's it," she responded.

So then I sat in the airport for a couple more hours. I just don't get Ryanair. How it could be so hectic and then so easy?? I'm not gonna complain to them though because this last flight I took literally costs $5.99. Yup, five dollars and 99 tax. I don't get it, but I love it.

Upon arriving into London, about 3:00 p.m. I had to take the 30 min tram into the city center from the airport...$33 U.S. dollars. :) traveling is so funny. $5.99 for a flight from Dublin to London but $33 from the airport to the city. I have an enormous love/hate relationship with London. Now comes the love part.

I had roughly four hours until I met up with my couchsurfing host, Lucy, so I decided to walk around London for awhile. London is gigantic. I first headed to Parliment Square where all the biggest tourist stuff is; Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Thames River and the London Eye. Always an eye-opening little square of famous "history-book"buildings.

After I left Parliment Square I tried to make my way on over to Hyde Park, without a map. Bad idea...well, bad idea if the priority was Hyde Park. My actual priority was a park to spend a couple hours in while I waited til 7:00 p.m. for my couchsurfing host, Lucy. I got way lost. London is a very cool city. So much history, so much to offer, so much to see that even my four days total here really doesn't scratch the surface (that is another "love" part of London). But, London is a big pain for the traveler (me) who like to walk from place to place because London is gigantic!! I would love to place the London Underground (the tube) on a map of Oklahoma City and see exactly how far it spreads out on a map that I'm familiar with (there are many smart people out there reading this that could convert the scale...let's talk).

So, after I realize just how lost I am (by the way, doing this sort of trip where you are in a new city every two days you are constantly lost, and very frustrated often) I start asking people where Hype Park is. Now, for as popular and big as Hyde Park is I figure that to be an easy question, it's not. London is THAT difficult to walk around (rephrase, very easy and quite a great walk if you have no destination and just want to wander around) but I got many vague points to Hyde Park, some"not too sure of the streets" and a few "I'm a tourist and have no clue"'s so I decided to settle for the closest park I was too, Regents Park.

Great park and made some friends with a very couragous squirrel and the scary pigeon that wouldn't stop staring at me.

So, now that it was near 7:00 p.m. I decided to head to the couchsurfing host's house. I end up getting off a stop too early (definitely my own fault) but since the price of a one-trip underground trip costs $6.75 in American (New York's is $2.00...another one of my "hate" parts of London) I decided I would walk from. Remember how I mentioned how huge London was?? It took me 45 minutes to walk there. Now, part of that was because: 1. I didn't really know where I was going 2. London doesn't like to label their streets with signs very often because that would be too convenient for tourists and 3. Even if they did name the streets the name would change every two blocks because that's a good way to label streets....geez, ok that was the hate part of London coming out in me, again, sorry.

So, I get to Lucy's and things were great from then on. She was a lot of fun and a great person to sit and have a long conversation with. She works for the BBC too so we had a lot of good conversations about media and TV...she works in the "Event Coordination" department...we talked about soooo many cool things... how come the U.S. media never really talks about anything but the United States? The European Union has some great news going on right now; great time to be here and learn.

Well, bed time. Tomorrow, London again and maybe Wimbledon. Cheers from London.

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