After 10 days of driving around England, it was time to come full circle and go back to London. I was staying for more than a week, exploring on my own. Totally exciting!
London is a pretty big city; there are so many sights to see and things to do in this lovely metropolis. Two weeks wasn’t clearly enough to cover all the sights, but you work with what you have. So right after dropping my bags at the hostel (I was staying at YHA Oxford Street), I went on my way towards Trafalgar Square. But I took a wrong turn and ended up going to Convent Garden Market. :P
At Convent Garden, I saw a lot of interesting performers worth of your money. I spent a good 20-30 minutes there, just staring at these performers, clearly amazed.
After a while, I began to retraced my steps so I could go to the famous Trafalgar Square because it’s the nearest pick-up point for the HOHO bus. At this point, I started snapping away while savouring the culture and beauty of the city. :)
I think we all agree when I say London is one expensive place to visit but at least a lot of its museums and attractions are FREE. To see Big Ben in its magnificent glory? Free. British Museum? Free. V&A Museum? Absolutely free.
But I did tell YHA that I wanted to see the famous Crown Jewels, so they were kind enough to provide a one-day London Pass for me to have access to the Tower of London, a paid attraction, and possibly other attractions covered by the pass.
What’s a London Pass?
The London Pass is a sightseeing city card which gives you fast entry to over 60 popular tourist attractions in the city. Some of the attractions included in this pass are the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and Westminster Abbey.
Visit http://www.londonpass.com/ for more details
Since the Crown Jewels are safely kept inside the Tower of London, I used my London Pass to skip the really long queue outside. Too bad the London Pass doesn’t cover the queue for the Jewel House but that’s okay because I only had to wait 30 minutes to get in. :) Crown Jewels were quite exquisite, and how I wish I could share photos but photography was not allowed. Inside, you’ll see the crowns used by monarchs during their coronation and other special events. But the most magnificent piece of jewellery that made an impact was the Koh-i-Noor diamond. The Koh-i-Noor or “Mountain of Light” is set on the Crown of Queen Elizabeth and has 793 carats when uncut. It’s a really big stone, but it was the prettiest I’ve seen in my entire life!
After visiting the Crown Jewels, I wanted to explore further and hoping I end up at Tate Modern but a major blooper happened: I dropped my SLR!!!! But luckily, it was the filter that received most of the damage (the glass cracked big time!). That incident brought so much stress that I just went back to Oxford, searched for a camera/electronic store to purchased a new UV and went back to the hostel. Haha!
But overall, my first day in exploring London wasn’t so bad. I was alone and was constantly getting lost (I somehow end up taking the wrong turn even with the assistance of Google Maps, so unlike me) but I always end up discovering something new, and that was quite a refreshing experience. :)
Barclays Cycle Hire, London’s self-service, bike-sharing scheme. How I wish I was able to ride these but clearly, I am not tall enough