Friday, May 10, 2013

Getting Around London for Tourists

Last year, my husband and I decided to take a year out of work so that we could see the world before we wanted to settle down and start a family. We’re from Arizona, and neither of us had ever left the US before. That’s why it was a very easy decision to take a trip around Europe for a few months. We wanted to see Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum...

Our journey started out in London. We flew to London Heathrow and then took our first ever London Underground trip into Central London where we were staying. We were surprised by how cold it was considering we’d barely left the Arizona desert!  Nevertheless, we were both extremely excited to start our exploration, and left our hotel immediately to find out more about the city.

We headed straight for the nearest London Underground station, King’s Cross St Pancras. We were amazed by how many lines seemed to use the same station and by how many people there were, even on a weekday in the middle of the day. The lines are colour coded, making it fairly easy to figure out where to go. Nowhere near as complicated as the New York Metro! We took the Victoria line to Oxford Circus. I’m a bit of a shopaholic and wanted to go on a spending spree to get lots of chic new Europe-wear!

As it turned out, I bought way too much. Nothing would fit in my suitcase, and I was starting to panic. We had lots of other countries to visit and nowhere to store everything. I ended up packaging most of the clothes I’d brought originally and sending a parcel to the US so that I could keep all my new things with me.

Later that week, we decided to go to the West End to see a show. My husband surprised me with a trip from the restaurant in a black London cab. I must warn you: they’re NOT cheap! However, it was fantastic to do something I’d only ever seen before in British films, and it certainly meant we were able to travel in style!

My favourite mode of transport, though, was the Thames clipper boats. We only realised on our last full day that we’d be able to take a boat journey from one side of London to the other, and it was a great way to see all the sights by water without having to pay a fortune for a special boat tour. We were traveling with commuters, so we got a true experience, and it’s definitely something I’d recommend to anyone else who wants to see London a bit differently.

Harriet Cranston is an avid traveller with a great deal of love for the British capital

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