I’m in LONDON! It still feels so unreal! I feel like I’m going to have to leave soon and take the subway back to my house. Maybe after a solid night’s sleep (I’ve maybe had 3 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours) I’ll realize this is really happening!
Before I spazz out about London (!), let me start by explaining my awesome time on Sunwing. If you haven’t flown them before, you should. Top 10 Reasons I Love Sunwing:
1. The amazing deal I got on my flight!
2. A representative called me about a week before my flight just to see if I had any questions. How thoughtful!
3. Super speedy at the counter and through security.
4. Fastest boarding I have ever seen. Ever. I went to use the washroom when they announced pre-boarding and when I came back there were 3 fast-moving lines and no one sitting around anymore.
5. All the announcements are in English! Don’t get me wrong, French is beautiful. I’m proud we have two official languages and that I parle un peu francais but double the announcements are downright annoying! Sunwing does it right by only having English announcements. And unlike WestJet, they don’t bother with lengthy announcements to prove they’re cool and casual. My pilot didn’t tell me what cruising altitude we were at 15 times throughout the flight, and I was fine with that.
6. Despite not having individual monitors (I was really excited for 7 hours of movies), their universal in-flight movie was a good choice (Sherlock Holmes) followed by some of my favourite sitcoms (How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family).
7. The plane was EMPTY! I had a ton of space to sleep and would have had even more if the family with two babies hadn’t caught wind of the empty rows and moved there. It’s okay, miraculously both of their babies slept the entire time!
8. Sunwing accepts cash on board (not just credit) and of various currencies.
9. They still give out meals! Unlike some airlines (cough, Air Canada) that make you pay for your meals despite being in the air for at least 5 hours, Sunwing gave out hot pizza slices when we got on (11pm) and breakfast before we landed in London free of charge. Granted, I refused the pizza and slept through breakfast, but it’s the thought that counts!
10. And the absolute best part about Sunwing: complimentary champagne! Every customer, regardless of if you’re sitting in business or economy, received a free glass of champagne!
So I made it to London! After a clearly amazing flight, I managed to figure out the train and the tube. I actually really enjoy the tube and kind of get the hang of it! It helps that it’s all in the same language…my other countries will be a lot worse. I stopped at London Bridge station, visited the Borough Market for lunch and ate it in front of this weird pirate ship. Then I journeyed on and finally made it to my hostel! It’s a little outside of Central London but it’s right next to a tube station and a nice neighbourhood which is good. And so far – nothing horrible to report! The place is spotless, the bed is comfy enough, the wifi works and there are lockers! So far- so good! We’ll see how this “complimentary breakfast” goes tomorrow morning. From the remains of today’s it looks like nutella and toast.
After I dropped off my stuff, I headed out to Regent’s Park and Camden Town. I walked through the park and it was beautiful. I kind of felt like I lived here, walking alone and all. It was really nice. I guess I’m kind of surrounded by parks in Vancouver too but you never seem to notice it until you’re travelling. Camden Town was a little sketch but they had some nice shops. Their market was tacky but I’m glad I checked it out. I was hoping to make it to King Cross Station for the Platform 9 and 3/4 photo opp but I think that will have to wait until tomorrow. I did, however, grab the quintessential fish and chips dinner! Sadly, it was gross and I left most of the fries and all of the batter. Oh well!
I walked through Queen Mary’s Gardens, a beautiful flower garden, to get to the Open Air Theatre to see Rag Time, The Musical. I got there early and soon realized my thin scarf and cardigan were not going to cut it for an outdoor show. I tried to buy a sweater from the merch table but they only took cash so I ventured out to the closest tube station. I ended up purchasing a horribly tacky and ill-fitting hoodie with the Union Jack symbol across the chest. It screams “tourist”! But it was better than the “I <3 London” sweater in scary shades of pink and neon blue.
Sweater in hand, I ventured back to the theatre. The show was interesting. Definitely not my favourite musical but a cool concept to do it outside. Most of the time I was distracted by how cold and wet I was. The poor actors – a couple of them were slipping on stage because it was so rainy! At intermission, I chugged a hot chocolate, pulled my sweater tight and went back out there. Unfortunately, about twenty minutes into the second act a voice came on the PA saying, “Actors, please exit the stage.” We were told the weather conditions would only be getting worse and they had to cancel the show. It was sad for the actors but we gave them a nice standing ovation. I have a pass to come back and watch another show but I’m only here 4 more days. Plus I don’t really care how Rag Time ends… I saw enough of it!
I ventured back to my hostel in the cold and rain, managing to find my way all right. I got to meet my roommates, charge my lap top and try to figure out where I’m going tomorrow. Hopefully google maps isn’t leading me astray and in 13 hours I will be on the set of Harry Potter! I can’t wait! It’s only been one (wet and cold) day but I’m already a little bit in love with this city. I can’t wait to see more of it!