When shopping for tickets home I realized that it was much cheaper to buy my own flight to London, then back to the USA, instead of letting the airlines do it for me. (About $500 cheaper, so I’d check that out if you’re studying abroad at some point). I figured since I had control of when I left I should spend a couple days seeing London before I left, so thats what I did.
The hostel was a little outside the city so I had to take the underground quite a distance to get there from the airport. This wasn’t a problem until the 3rd transfer, when one of the underground lines was out. They had buses that would take you to the stations, which was nice. However, I didn’t actually know where to catch the buses, so that took me about an hour to figure out. Once I did though it was smooth sailing. I met up with a couple friends at the hostel and by early afternoon we were all checked in and ready to do some sightseeing. We started off with Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament. From a distance I could see the London Eye.
We walked over to Buckingham Palace, which was neat, but structurally not all that impressive. We saw the guards marching around outside through the gates, which were surrounded by people. After that we walked through the park and saw some interesting trees while on the look for a statue of peter pan, that even though it took us over an hour to find, we finally did. The park was really nice, and really big. If I had the time I know I easily could have spent a day just wandering around. The pigeons and squirrels were very brave because people feed them all the time. One lady was feeding them when we walked by and we were able to get the squirrels to eat out of our hands and crawl on our legs. My friends from Brazil had never seen squirrels, so they thought this was really cool, as did I.
After that we walked down to take a look at Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. I heard a few people commenting on how the Tower Bridge was ‘The London Bridge’ which apparently is a common misconception, as the Tower Bridge is much more impressive looking than the London Bridge. We milled about there for a while before heading back to the hostel to sleep early, as we had all been up since early morning.
The next day had us going to Camden Town, which is just an area full of markets. At first it was pouring when we got off the underground, but the weather finally turned and we were able to walk around in the sun and look at everything. They had everything at these markets, and all for a pretty cheap price. It was a huge area, but really cool just to walk around and check out everything it had to offer. We also went to the free museums that are offered in London (most are free) and I saw the Rosetta Stone and other really cool and interesting artifacts. It was another place that if you had the time you could easily wander around for the entire day. After that we just walked around the city some more and took in the view, trying to enjoy a relaxing last day. The next day, we got up early, headed to the airport, and I boarded my flight back to the USA.