We spent 6 days in London being typical tourists, something that neither of us had done much off in previous trips. Basing ourselves in Camberwell; it was cheap, with quick access into the centre of London, but not much else going for it. Our days were spent exploring the different areas of london and its many landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Soho, Notting Hill, the Portobello Road markets, Abbey Rd (Don being a Beatles fan), the fresh produce markets at Shoreditch and just wandering around soaking up the atmosphere. London is conducive to walking and we did a lot of it, eager to reverse the effects of the generous eating and drinking we did in South Africa. The good weather followed us and we had 6 sunny days, with the daily temperature around 15′ to 17′, “balmy” the poms would say, as they stripped off in Hyde Park to work on their tan for the summer.
We bought discount tickets to the musical ‘The commitments’, which was great fun and we could have been tempted to see many more productions. On Sunday we watched the London Marathon run by and the city was alive with supporters, buskers and people just enjoying the spring weather.
The best recommendation we can make to anyone visiting London is to jump on the hop-on-hop-off bus – we hopped on and didn’t get off for the day! It was a great way to see the sights and avoid the queues. I don’t remember London being so busy and it may have been the combination of the Marathon and School holidays, but everywhere was crowded.
We had a lovely day out with the Kemps exploring more of the city and splurging on dinner at ‘Little Social’ just near Oxford Circus (thanks to James Brest for the recommendation). It was great to spend time with friends from home and catch up on the news. The Kemps are travelling in a different league to us (care of Ross’s work) with first class air and 5 star hotels, and whilst it would be nice, it would be a much shorter holiday for us if we took this route.
Don trekked out to High Wycombe one night to see Lloyd Cole playing and then caught up with him again to play a round of golf at Woking Golf Club. I took the opportunity to have a shopping day in London – window shopping; London is expensive and I have convinced myself we will find some great bargins in Europe. None the less, window shopping was fun and something Don (like most men), does not have the patience for.
It was a 5am start to make it out to Luton for an Easyjet flight to Nice, where we are collecting our car and beginning 5 months travel through Europe. London transportation is far ahead of ours. Buses and trains run frequently around the clock and we connect with the Easybus pick-up at Baker Street Station with ease and arrive at Luton with time to enjoy an airport coffee (never good) and toast. One thing to note is that flying in and out of small/regional airports does reduce the hassle factor; less distance to terminal from drop off (or car rental), fewer flights = fewer people, less time wasting!