London (25 – 31 August 2008)
If I could give a small bit of advice to anyone doing a round the world trip – make sure ALL of your website posts are up to date before returning back home. Family and friends kept us so busy with catching up and feeding us all the food we have longed for that we had no time to finish the final posts for the website Therefore, this final post on our trip is published a bit later than planned – rather late than never!
So we arrived in London for a quick visit to Melindi, a friend who I haven’t seen in almost two years. She moved to London a while before our trip started and I was super-excited to see her. As could be expected from London, the weather was miserable – grey skies and a cool breeze that seemed cold to our Egypt-adjusted bodies. We spent the first day in the comfort of Melindi’s home, where we got to meet her four all-girls roommates.
We had only one week to explore London and also catch up with some other friends who have moved to London from South Africa. So the following morning, we had a quick breakfast and set of to “do” the typical tourist attractions. As we walked out of the tube station, I saw Big Ben and pointed it out to Eon who was still in awe of the way of the London people. We walked over the bridge and then along the Thames River towards Tate Modern art gallery. This massive architectural masterpiece holds various artworks that kept us occupied for about two hours.
The next day we made our way to Buckingham Palace to witness the changing of the guard. From there we strolled through the St James’s Park towards Trafalgar Square. First up was the unimpressive Photography Gallery; Eon was very excited about this gallery and with the limited exhibition ended up being very disappointed. At least we then had some extra time and we decided to go to the National Gallery. I was amazed! We got to see all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. Some of the other big names included Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Rembrandt Van Rijn and Van Gogh.
The following day it was time to see the ever impressive St. Paul’s Cathedral. This massive cathedral dates from the 17th century. St Paul’s was used for the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
We explored London during the day and Melindi entertained us in the evenings with various activities. One of these was an evening out at a Brazilian club where we learned to salsa. Melindi took a day’s leave to show us around the intriguing and not-so-touristy parts of London and they turned out to be the highlights of our London trip. She introduced us to Borough Market – Jamie Oliver’s shopping spot. I immediately fell in love with the market and its many stalls selling all kinds of delectable goodies. My favourites were the selection of fresh berries, the many, many different cheeses (even one called Drunk Cheese – cheese drenched in red wine) and the various different freshly baked breads. We bought some bread, cheese and pesto and had a little picnic on the lawn next to the market.
From here we went to Camden, the punk and Freaky Jason mecca. I walked around with my mouth wide open, staring at all the incredible hair styles – I could not help to wonder where they buy their hair gel from. Last on this days list was Primrose Hill – a beautiful little hill amongst the flatness of London that sports spectacular views of the city’s skyline. That evening we met up with a long lost friend of mine. He took us to a South African pub and spoiled us with some biltong and droë wors – Thanks Henk and Gerda!
Even before we started travelling a year ago, Eon wanted to buy a Nintendo Wii and on the Saturday morning in London, he decided to fulfil his dream. Of course, this new toy had to be tested out straight away, so Eon and the housemates jumped at the opportunity. After a quick test of the controls we were on our way to meet up with our two Irish friends that we met in China two years ago. Ursula and Ann flew to London from Ireland for the weekend to meet up with us and also for a bit of retail therapy.
London was all about and catching up with old friends and typical tourist attractions. One week was enough for the sightseeing, but not nearly enough for visiting our friends.
And that was it – an entire year has passed. As we were packing our bags to take our final flight back to SA, we nostalgically looked back on the year gone by. We had an absolutely fabulous time – and if we could do it all over again, I’ll start tomorrow. Okay, maybe in a month’s time, we first need to recharge our batteries back home