Finally it’s xmas vacation and this means 3 weeks of pure bliss in Europe. Of course this isn’t going to be so light on the pockets, but it is refreshing to think that I’ll be in the western civilization, eating foods that I am used to with people from home.
First stop is London, to meet up with my friend Maria who is currently studying in uni there. I have been staying with her at her ‘flat’ in Uxbridge, a suburb that is about an hour and 30 minutes from central London by ‘tube’. Although I have spent a summer in the UK before, I only spent a total of a few days scattered in London, and that too only in the tourist areas of central. So this really does feel like my first real time experiencing London on the whole.
Of course what is London without the party scene?! This culture truly is ‘pissed’ and I mean that in a good way – they really can handle their alcohol! It’s a social custom that is accepted by everybody. My first night was spent braving the cold in ‘fancy frocks’ finding a club and then trying to figure out how the heck to get back to Uxbridge at 5am. It truly was an adventure because Maria and I ended up at Heathrow airport just in time to meet our friend Neeshu who was arriving to join us.
Even though there is a 24 hour info line that you can call in London to get bus route info, at the end of the day they do seem full of ‘rubbish’. We were no where close to where we had to be but in due time, we did find our ways. My second night was spent partying it up in Leichester Square where all the tourists and locals go to mingle and dance. It’s very lively on any given night and the place to go for cheap theatre tickets and excellent, cheap food.
Sightseeing is something you can’t avoid in London. It’s filled with so many things to do and see, it’s really hard to get bored although the commuting can take a toll. Also, the sun sets in the winter at about 3pm so by the time we woke up and were ready to enjoy the day, it was night time!!
We still went out our way – first Buckingham Palace by night. I do believe it’s over-rated but it was a must-see. The guards and blah blah blah. But now I’ll never have to go back again!
The highlight of today was Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The park is lit up in colorful Christmas decor with rides, skating and loads of stalls selling hot foods and cider! We spent a few hours walking around and it really highlights the festive spirit. It’s an excellent place for a date OR to hang with your girls.
My only gripe with London would have to be the bloody cold!! You’d think as a Canadian I’d have no problem but even with my down filled winter coat I’ve been freezing. This is partially due to the fact that the heating system in London is definitely faltering. The tubes are not heated enough at all so you still need to keep your hat and mittens on for the duration of your ride.