Entering London (Day One: Part II)

Trip Start Aug 16, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, August 17, 2012

The First Capital Connect train to London St. Pancras from Gatwick was spacious, had small tables, and even a bathroom! The ride into London wasn't particularly scenic, but it was interesting to see the progression from countryside to suburban housing, to tenement buildings, to apartment buildings and towers. Mini freak-out #2 occurred on the train as I forgot where I put my passport and Eurail pass, which I was sure was given back to me at the airport. I quickly found them stuffed inside my messenger bag - I guess I was in such a rush to leave the airport. I should have been more careful.

As we entered the City of London, commuters came on board and I felt bad for taking up space on the train. I was going to get off soon, St. Pancras was not too far away. Once I got off and out of the station, I had a hard time searching for the hostel. Exits aren't clearly labelled and street signs are on the side of buildings. My only hope was to look for the McDonald's and try to locate it from there. I spotted it and walked past like the directions said. I eventually found my hostel, Keystone Kings Cross, down the street. I checked in at the counter and found my room on the third floor (four storeys up = lots of stairs). I am sleeping in bed 16 which is tucked away in the farthest corner making it feel safer and more private. The bathrooms aren't great, but at least there is one full-sized one next to our room.

I thought I was going to stay at the hostel for the rest of the day (it was around 6pm) but surprisingly felt energized and ready to explore London. I headed out towards Kings Cross and took the tube to Waterloo after purchasing my Oyster Card (which I loaded with 25). I wasn't sure if that was all I'd be needing, but I figured it should last at least a few days. The tube trains are very efficient at getting me to where I wanted to go. Waterloo station is in Southwark and I walked west along the River Thames. I saw the London Eye, crossed over a bridge, and walked past the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. It was a Friday night so the streets were lively and packed with people. Satisfied for the night, I traveled back to the hostel to get some rest. It's midnight London time and I haven't slept since I got up on Thursday!

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Jimmy on

Despite being up all that time, I too am excited when I finally settle in; usually go for a exploration walk just to see what's around is so interesting. London nightlife doesn't get started til 1 am but there's lots of pre-drinking going on beforehand. Did you see the portable outdoor urinals in the club areas? Careful shaking hands! I should've warned you about the street signs..seems to be the convention over there having the street signs (if any!) plaster on the buildings on the corners...and the streets aren't necessarily in grids but all willy nilly directions and starts & stops suddenly so watch out for that..I guess that shouldn't be surprising given these streets were laid out way before vehicles and even horse & buggies!

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