No introduction to London could be complete without the obligatory viewing of the sights – Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the London Eye… Personally, I don’t think your mind believes you’re in London until you’ve seen them!
This morning I had the pleasure of showing Carl & Regina my favourite city. My usual habit of avoiding tourist spots was pushed aside and we hit all of the above in little over an hour. Londoners take the beauty and history of this city for granted, so it’s always great to view it with fresh eyes and remember again just how lucky we are to live here!
From the South Bank we made our way to Wapping to visit the building the community is hoping to acquire. The excitement at crossing Tower Bridge and discovering the Tower of London was palpable and didn’t dwindle as we made our way towards Wellclose Square. British inculturation was completed by a trip to Waitrose to pick up groceries for a community meal tonight.
It’s fascinating watching people get to grips with this city and it’s so lovely getting to know them too!
– Liz Clutterbuck
Just for a little entertainment, although I’m not sure how entertaining it will be to you, I thought I would give a short update on some of my adventures as a tourist!
I got seriously lost for the first time last week trying to get the bus from an area called Angel where my friend from Texas lives, to another area where I was to meet Shannon and Cathers for dinner. In my book, the bus system in London is far more complicated than any other form of public transportation. Regardless of the opinion of others, it has proven to be difficult for me to figure out!! I wound up on the right bus going in the wrong direction – in my defense it had been a long day and I wasn’t thinking too clearly. The whole ordeal lasted about two hours but I finally arrived at my correct destination. Evidence of the sense of humor of God, earlier that same day I was bragging to Shannon about how I had mastered the London bus system…….serves me right.
On a more positive note, last Saturday Cathers took me to Greenwich where I visited the Royal Observatory and stood with one foot on each side of the Prime Meridian!! It was pouring down rain most of the day, but Greenwich was beautiful and I can now say I’ve stood on the Prime Meridian – pretty cool, huh?
After the Royal Observatory we went to the Greenwich Market and had ‘proper’ afternoon tea followed by some delicious Paella – so culturally diverse of us. For our homebound transportation we chose to take a ferry on the Thames (we tried to take a ferry on our journey TO Greenwich but the system was delayed due to a rowing race). The ferry ride on ‘The River Thames’ might have been one of my favorite things I’ve done in London so far!! It was sunset so that made the whole experience all the more picturesque. Even more thrilling, our route took us right under the Tower Bridge enabling me to snap this frame-worthy photo!!
Early Sunday afternoon, August the 28th, Shannon took me to the Columbia Road Flower Market. Flower vendors come and set up shop in the middle of the street, lining the entire width and length. Behind the flower vendors on both sides of the street are countless adorable shops filled with fantastic furniture and art. Occasionally there are coffee or food shops – my favorite being the restaurant that puts fried calamari and shrimp in small paper cups that are grab-and-go. Delicious and convenient. After the market we had a picnic in a park called ‘Jesus Green’ with one of Shannon’s friends, Rachel. I’m not sure why or how the park was named ‘Jesus Green’ but He was right there with us I have no doubt. After a few minutes of beaming sunshine – in typical London form – it began to rain on our picnic, but not on our parade! We just continued our conversation at a cafe down the street, and the Jesus from the green went with us. I loved having the opportunity to get to know Rachel and to see a little more of my new neighborhood!
The next day was a ‘Bank Holiday’ – no one seemed to entirely know why, but it was nice to have my first Monday available to play! I saw some things I believe to be worth sharing (especially if you’re a girl). I met my friend Caroline in South Kensington and we had a delightful picnic in Kensington Gardens, where we could see Kensington Palace – the humble abode ‘Will’ and Kate inhabit when they are in London!!! I was really thrilled about that, naturally:) We walked from there to the famous Notting Hill – yet another girly thrill due to the reason for its fame; it was the setting and title of the feel good chick flick that made most women want to move to the UK in search of Hugh Grant…..or their own version of someone like him.
These were just a few more fun things I was lucky enough to get to do and see my first week in Londontown! Great way to start out this 10-week adventure. Next blog post you’ll read – it’s work time!!