London, 8 May (a.k.a. literature, royalty and a fangirling Ross)
It’s been a dream of mine to head to the motherland since I was a little girl. This year, I got to realise that dream by travelling to London, Scotland (and Paris) and I am SO happy I waited until I was in my mid-twenties to go. Why? Maturity. A finer sense of sacrifice and, thus, a higher appreciation for what I was experiencing. I was in London from 5-9 May.
5 May – This is Spring?
6 May – My legs are about to drop off
7 May – To market, to market
Highlights of the British Library
Ross and I went separate ways this day, because we decided that we don’t have to smother each other and do things we don’t want to do. Go us!
I headed to the British Library, which was absolutely magnificent (see my highlights and tips post for the full rundown) and spent some time admiring historical artefacts, Shakespeare first editions, and letters from regents.
I walked through St. Pancras station on the way back to King’s Cross. I wasn’t really sure where I was going and I figured I had some time to just wander aimlessly. St. Pancras is the station that international trains come into and go out of. Other than seeing some cool train designs, there’s a beautiful statue of a couple greeting each other. It is massive! But don’t let the enormity side track you: the lower layer has intricate details that only add to the statue’s impressiveness.
Travel tip for London: Look at the finer details of statues and artworks. They’re things you can’t appreciate in pictures.
After appreciating the statue, I went to the King’s Cross tube station and decided to just get on the first train that I saw. It ended up being a train on the National line. Knowing that I could easily catch a Central line train from one of these stops, I got on and was heading back to the Airbnb. But then I noticed a little poster that showed me a tourist attraction at each of the stops and I decided to do some more exploring.
I got off at Knightsbridge station after seeing that I was close to Harrod’s. Unless you are all about luxury brands and shopping, don’t bother with it. Waste of bloody time. I then walked around and found a beautiful, but locked, park and caught the tube to Notting Hill Gate. If you’re looking to take some pictures of some quintessentially British rows of houses, this is the place to do it. It has some beautiful avenues with big, green trees framing them. I was relatively close to Kensington Palace so I made the walk there to appreciate the gardens and have a look at another place of royalty. (I had just had a feed from KFC, so I need to up my classiness.)
While I was walking back towards the tube, I noticed that some police had just gathered on an oval. There was also a really fancy car. As I was walking, the police (who had quite large guns) all moved to secure the perimeter of the oval. I decided I would wait to see what was going on. Not long after, a helicopter with some sort of royal crest landed, and two figures got out and were ushered into the waiting car. People bowed to the figures. I have researched and cannot for the life of me work out who it was. But, hey – royalty!
I walked back to Notting Hill Gate station, which was stupid because Queensway was closer and on the Central line to Leytonstone.
Ross and I had showers and he told me about what he had done – visited St. Paul’s Cathedral to take photos, visited Baker Street, and got a coffee – and then we headed out again for we had tickets to the theatre!
One of the only things I wanted to do while I was in London was go see The Book of Mormon in the West End. We’d looked up tickets a day earlier and I’d thought that we’d bought them… Apparently not. We looked them up on a dodgy internet connection and Ross wasn’t comfortable with sharing his credit card details online – good idea! Then he kind of… forgot. However, he found a much, much better option. The Book of Mormon is playing in Melbourne at the moment and is due to come to Sydney (and thus much closer to us) soon. Don Juan in Soho starring David Tennant, however, is not. So that’s what we went to see.
I WAS IN THE SAME ROOM AS DAVID TENNANT.
Ross knows me very well. He knows that I love David Tennant and he thought the play looked cool. So, instead of seeing a huge, mass-produced production, we saw something a little smaller and so much more London.
Travel tip for London: Don’t just go and see the big productions. Look for something smaller that you’re less likely to ever experience back home.
We hung around at the Stage Door afterwards as the cast came out. They were brilliant and very generous with their time. However, I find the whole ‘selfie blockade’ a little daunting and it’s just not something I want to be part of. If I only have five seconds with someone I admire, then I don’t want to be staring at my own phone for it to try and scrounge a photo with them. So, I hung back and watched the crowd faun over David Tennant. And Ross. My goodness, did he fangirl something shocking.