So I decided to take on the task of adventuring into the city on my own again. I had some doubts and a lot of anxiety, of course, but I had a ticket to a sightseeing bus tour and I was going to take it–no matter how much my anxiety tried to talk me out of it.
I woke up at 6:30 am (I know, I am shocked at myself, too!) and got ready. The first tour bus was leaving at 8:20 and I was going to try and make it on that one. I left my flat at about 7:30 and headed for the tube station. I had my screenshots of Google Maps, and I was ready. Calm, cool, and collected. Well, it only took me a block to realize that there are streets on Google Maps that don’t exist in the real world, so it took some mental rerouting and deep breaths to find my way. And when I saw that red sign above the entrance, I was so happy I could cry. It’s the little victories.
Before I knew it, I was out on the streets of central London! Just wandering. I came out of the tube station all turned around, so I just kind of walked until I saw signs that pointed me in the direction of Buckingham Palace, which was where I wanted to go. At this point I was too late for the first bus. I knew they run every ten minutes or so, so I was okay with strolling. The front of the Palace was deserted–not surprising once I remembered it was barely 8:30 on a Wednesday. Everyone was off to or at work.
After a few snaps of the Queen’s official London residence, I found a map in Green Park that pointed me towards the first bus stop on the tour. I was excited to be in the city and see all the sights, but this park was also pretty fantastic, so a leisurely stroll was in order. I had time.
Onto the tour! I am trying to think of things I did not see on this tour, but even just the Red Line loop that I did was a lot. From Elizabeth Tower to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge (London likes Towers, apparently) to Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. We drove down Oxford Street and Regent Street, and let me tell you, I was ready to hop off right then and shop my bank account into the dust. But I have three months to do that–I can’t get too crazy yet. And I did eat lunch at the (very first) Hard Rock Cafe, which was very cool. My musical heart was happy, but it was a little pricey (I knew that going in, though).
I didn’t hop off the bus at all or take the river tour (which were options available to me). I just wanted to sightsee. I didn’t need to go and see the attractions quite yet. Plus, I was alone, so no one could take my picture. I have about a billion photos now, but I am in zero of them. My selfie game isn’t too strong, so I couldn’t really do that either. (Insert some laughs here). But the pictures I got were great! And I drowned my Snapchat in them–with fun commentary, per the usual.
All I can say is that I love this city. It is weird to think that just a few days ago, I was feeling so frustrated with it–and myself. I was worried that I had gotten myself into something I could not handle, once again pushing myself too far. I thought I had failed, but I just figured out what not to do when googling directions. I have to trust my instincts and stay calm.
The city was amazing, and I cannot wait to go back. It’s so close that I can go anytime. But I think for the next few days I am going to take advantage of my own little neighborhood and explore some more. I live a hop, skip, and a jump away from a cute little park (with a mini zoo–not kidding). And like I said in my last post: everything is brick and I love it. Love.
I still don’t really feel like any of this is real. I’m in London? I adventured in the city by myself and my anxiety didn’t swallow me? I ate lunch at a restaurant by myself? I took the tube confidently? I feel like I might be living someone else’s life. I would not trade it for anything, though. What my first day here taught me is that I have a lot to learn and have a lot of growing to do, and this city is going to be very good for me. This day being the polar opposite of the one just a few days ago means that there is a lot of work to be done. Not all my days are going to be like this one, and I am not expecting them to be. Tomorrow I plan on staying in bed late and then going for another walk in the park. That will be just fine with me.
I just still can’t believe I did all that, rode home and walked over to High Street to buy outlet converters (since mine broke–THREE DAYS it lasted) and an extra blanket, and still got home to my flat before 8 am California time. Crazy.
Treating myself to some Netflix and Stephen King now. Thanks for keeping up with me!