I landed at Heathrow International Airport in the late evening. I groggily went through the airport, got in a line, a very long line, watched the business men get mad at an employee because the express lane wasn't open, and made my way through customs. Luckily, my bags were checked through to my final destination, so I only had to haul around my carry-on. I jumped into a cab and went to my hotel. A good night's sleep awaited me and a day in London was soon to come.
I got up at 7am, and prepared for the day. I packed my over sized purse, checked out, asked for directions to the train to take me into town, and on my way I went.
After getting off the train at Waterloo Station, I walked out into a sunny London town and made my way across the Hungerford Bridge. I was quickly distracted by a strange sight. To my right, below the bridge, where the bridge supports rest in the river, were dozens of skateboards and shoes. They were sadly abandoned, resembling a sort of skateboard apocalypse, or at least what I imagine such a thing would look like.
I noticed a yawn slyly escape from my mouth, so I quickly looked around for some caffeine. I not only found it, but discovered the cutest, most comforting little coffee and tea "house". The barista greeted me with a big smile, and asked in his enchanting Italian accent what I would like. I opted for a "sexy latte". He meticulously babied that beverage during every step of the latte making process. Finished with a heart, the drink couldn't have been more perfect. I couldn't help but allow a smile to stretch across my face, as I said "grazie mille", popped a tip in his jar (how could you not?), and sat down along the River Thames on the Albert Embankment. I took my time, sipping slowly, and enjoying the view of Parliament, whilst (see what I did there) people watching.
I walked over yet another bridge, this time towards Parliament. As soon as I saw Winston Churchill I knew I was in the right place. The giant building to my left was also a big hint. Churchill's statue is quite pronounced and he maintains a presence that is difficult to explain.
Big Ben was looking magnificent with the royal blue sky and scattered white clouds, dancing behind it. I would love to climb up to the top and explore it's history. I bet the view isn't too shabby either.
I continued on my jaunt around town, this time to the London eye. I took a ride in it with friends four years a go, and it was neat to see the city from above, but I think doing it once is enough. I just walked by, dodging the school children running about wildly, who must have been on some kind of summer field trip. I saw a strange, yet familiar looking man out of the corner of my eye. "Name's Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin!" He waved me over and we took a few pictures together. I tossed some coins in his hat and said "au revoir" as he blew me a kiss.
I decided it was time to head back towards Waterloo Station to take the underground to Heathrow. I took my last stroll along the Southbank and enjoyed the installment of the Queen's Walk Window Garden. It's a project designed with reclaimed windows, to pose the question, "what's growing in your window box?". It's quite nice.
I took my last London photo's and enjoyed my ride to the airport on the forever clean, yet very warm, underground.
Once through security, I found a restaurant where I could enjoy some proper fish 'n chips. This meal is often also accompanied by some mushy peas. I've never been a fan, and nothing changed this time. Yuck! I pushed them aside like an eight year old and happily munched away on the rest of my fried lunch. There's something quaint about enjoying a meal solo at a nice airport restaurant, while reading a magazine and checking emails on your phone.
I took my last bite and went to my gate, from where I took a long flight home, but already started planning my next trip.