I really can’t seem to stay away from London for too long this trip. I had only planned on staying 1 night then heading off to Belgium, but my plans frequently change and ended up spending another 6 days there. By now, after spending almost 3 weeks in London between last summer and this trip, I’ve basically seen all the tourist sites so I needed to find other stuff to do. For the first 2 days I was basically just hanging out in London with my friends from Palmer’s Lodge (basically my 2nd home now). When Phil and I went to Regents Park to play Frisbee, we saw a giant yellow helicopter land maybe 500 meters from us across the park. We kind of wondered what it was, but didn’t really think much of it. The next day, though, while reading the free newspaper, it turns out that might have been President Obama. I had gotten back to London just in time for the G20 summit and all the riots that went with it. The newspaper said that because of the low visibility in the sky, Obama had been forced to take a military helicopter from where he was staying near Regents Park. The next day, I met up with my friends Natasha and Ashley from our Highland tour. They had stayed in Edinburgh a couple days longer than me, but now had come down to London. Natasha convinced me to go see the Jason Mraz concert with her on Saturday, even though I’m not a huge fan. The show wasn’t bad, but he reminds me of a less-energetic Dave Matthews. After the show, we came back across town to the Kensington area where we were staying. I never realized how big Hyde Park is because during the day you can walk straight through the center of it. However, at night the park is closed. We walked around the one side of the park, which didn’t seem so bad, to where her and Ashley’s hotel was. You would be amazed how hard it is to find coffee at 1am in London on a Saturday night. We must have tried 20 different places! After Natasha and I split up for the night, I had to walk around the park back to my hostel on the exact opposite side. Since we had walked around the one side before, I thought I would go around the other way this time since it seemed to me to be somewhat shorter. My perception was completely off! It took me about an hour and a half to walk around that way. I think I walked by about 10 tube stations along the way (too bad they were all closed). I finally arrived back at my hostel around 2:30am and had to be up again around 8:30. The next couple nights I was going to stay in an apartment with Natasha, Ashley, and their friend Ryan who was just getting in that day. This was Sunday and I had booked a Eurostar ticket from London to Brussels for 6am on Tuesday.
The next day I went up to Greenwich (pronounced Grenitch) while my friends went on a tour of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. I didn’t go on the tour because it was kind of expensive and I really didn’t care to see 2 out of the 3 things. Greenwich is a cool little city a few stops outside of central London. I was surprised at how touristy it was seeing as how it takes a little work to get there. First I went out to Greenwich Pier to take a few photos.
After that, I walked around the campus of the University of Greenwich. They have a building called the Painted Hall which was pretty amazing inside.
The National Maritime Museum is one of the big attractions for Greenwich, so I went over to see that as well.
Next on the list was to walk through Greenwich Park up to the Royal Observatory, which is set up on a hill to give a great view of the town.
Also up there is the Meridian Line, which is the zero longitude point running from the North Pole to the South Pole. Greenwich is the home of the Prime Meridian, basically meaning it is at the center of the world.
I got back to the apartment and I wasn’t feeling good at all. I think I may have had some kind of food poisoning, but I don’t know what it would have been from. I basically slept the rest of that night hoping that I would feel better in the morning when I got up to catch my 6am train. Well there was a small problem with this. I woke up at 4:30am and still felt like crap, so I went back to sleep until around 9am. Obviously I missed my train, which put me in the hole about 60 pounds for the train and the hostel I was supposed to stay at that night in Belgium. So London for one more day.