I was meeting up with a friend in London, and she had given me recommendations on which areas of London to stay in, so I obviously too those into account when I booked our Hotel. Turns out we were in the middle of nowhere, and I had listened to no directions. I landed at Heathrow just after 3pm, waited in the customs line for over an hour, left the airport at about 4:45 and eventually got the hotel just before 7. I had to take the Express in, switch the underground twice, and then take the Docklands Light Rail to the hotel. The area was weird – we were attached to a convention centre (ExCel London) but also looked over a marina which was quite nice. The area was more industrial/commercial though. Our room was quite nice, and overlooked the marina. At night the view was lit up and nice, but by day it was a little grungy across the Marina.
The first morning before I met my friend, I wanted to go see the Olympic Venues and go to one of my favorite Malls, Westfield. Westfield was in the West part of the city, and the Olympic Venues were more East than we were and we we’re quuiiiiiiiteeee east. I decided the Olympic stuff was probably a better choice, so I got on two wrong trains and made my way there. I left the train station and end up in the middle of the other freakin’ Westfield Mall, that you have to walk through to get to the Olympic Venues. Coincidence? I think not. I was born to buy things for myself. The Venues were really cool, and it was cool to see where everyone would walk on TV when you watch the Olympics in 2012. I was surprised at how not busy it was, especially considering it was a Saturday. I thought everyone would want to go see them. I wasn’t sure which ones I could go into or not, but the Aquatics venue is where Tom Daley trains so that was really neat. I had a delicious lunch at Jamie Oliver’s and then headed into town to meet my friend. The transit system in London is spectacular/terrifying, but I made it. After Sophia arrived, we went to a couple Christmassy market type things, walked through Trafalgar Square, down by the London Eye Christmas Market (where we discovered a new singer that we are convinced is the next big thing) and then had supper. It was a really nice day and was cool to see some atypical London sights.
We were up bright and early the next day and headed to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. I had no idea what to expect but it was absolutely huge. It was a big Carnival with rides, a circus, games and every food imaginable. It was really cool. We walked through town a little bit, trying to find Buckingham Palace (which was unsuccessful and everyone we asked didn’t know either). We had Sushi for lunch – yes I had Sushi (vegetarian and chicken, but it counts) and went through Harrods which was absolute insanity. Harrods was huge, obnoxious and ridiculously busy. A cool experience though – seriously so lux for what seems like no reason other than to be obnoxious. We walked around some more (I think I got more steps and miles in here than anywhere else), and went to Canary Wharf – which was sort of the Financial District but was really nice and chill. We went back to the hotel and watched the Sports Personality of the Year and the finale of the British Apprentice – which I’m hooked for next season.
Our last morning we desperately tried to get breakfast again, in between rain spurts. We strolled through some market for quite a while, which had some legit stores and more booth type things – and a wide variety of ugly Christmas Sweaters. We then soakingly walked to another restaurant and had some bevvys, and then walked to Leadenhall market and had fondue and Port, which was exceptional. The grand finale was walking down the London Bridge, and then back across the Tower bridge. Not a lot fo the night photos turned out well, and none of them remotely did the city justice. London is normally beautiful, but having everything decorated and lit up in Christmas Lights was exquisite. I really had a great time here and it was awesome to meet up with old friends!
Anyways, going home for Christmas and really looking forward to it. Had another great European Adventure. This one was by far the most unique – going in winter and going to some far off places. Makes you appreciate everything that you have, and to work hard to keep going. Thanks for following all the adventures! Now back to training, and figuring my life out!