I downloaded this app that told me I had been to 80% of all European countries. I found that pretty impressive given that I had only been back since 2011 and it was only then when I began travelling to our neighbouring countries. But I couldn’t help thinking I was missing something, and it’s something big. And it had been the UK!
Now, there’s probably nothing I can tell you about the great city of London that you don’t already know. Chances are, you had been there yourself, so I’ll only talk about my experience here.
From collecting nights on Hotels.com, we were able to afford a (still relatively cheap) windowless hotel room just a short distance away from King’s Cross Station (yes, the one from Harry Potter, we’ll get to that later) for five nights, the fifth night was for free. It was far from luxurious but it was clean and staff was friendly. We would have been forced to pay more for an Airbnb and probably wouldn’t have found one in such a central location anyway so we took it and, thankfully, didn’t regret it. From there, we had access to public transportation going to practically anywhere.
Day 1 – Stonehenge
We had breakfast nearby then we headed to town to go to Skygarden, which is close to Monument Underground station. Visiting is free of charge but they do require reservations. We did have typical London weather, though, so it didn’t help much for pictures but we didn’t have anything better planned that morning anyway and we were basically just killing some time before we leave for our Stonehenge tour.
So at noon we headed to Victoria coach station to catch our bus to Stonehenge. It’s a two-hour ride going there, where we then independently toured the place for 1.5 h. It was, as expected, absolutely fascinating.
Day 2 – Freud Museum
We had another reservation today on top of one of the towers, and this time it came with fancy breakfast. The place is called Duck & Waffle. It was less cloudy and the sun actually shone for a little while!
We’ve already been to a Freud museum as part of our trip to Vienna last summer and it’s there where we’ve learned that there’s another one in London. Like the one in Vienna, it’s the old home and practice itself where the museum is at. It’s also here in London where you can find his famous psychoanalytic couch.
Another reason I came to London was for books! Used english books are hard to come by here in Germany so I grabbed this opportunity to update my bookshelf by finding a proper book exchange, which came in a very cute form of an english telephone booth. We took the commuter train all the way to Lewisham for this, and I even brought some old books from back home in exchange for new ones.
In the course of five days, we also went hunting for second-hand bookstores and one I can recommend is Book Mongers which is located in Brixton. You could spend hours just browsing for books there, which we did, because they really have a wide selection — but another reason is because they are not arranged in alphabetical order by author (a luxury we have at bookstores here in Germany probably because, well it’s Germany). The shelves are labeled by genre but the books are all in random order, which made it challenging to look for titles by a specific author. Believe me, though, I’m not complaining. I like to be surrounded by books as much as I can. 🙂
Day 3 – Just walking around
Today while looking for even more books, we stumbled upon a store called Stanfords that doesn’t only sell books (although new), they also sell maps! And I had been looking for a specific one for so long, and I knew I had to get it.
Day 4 – Movie night
We ended the previous day in a pub with a new friend and we had a little too much fun that it messed me up just a wee bit but that’s fine because it’s not everyday that we’re in London and in good company as well. But sadly, for this reason, I used up the best part of the next day treating my massive hangover. Good thing though, we didn’t have anything planned until past dinner, which gave me enough time to recover.
This was our last night in London and we were to leave early the next day. We had tickets to Backyard Cinema in Mercato Metropolitano where we watched Sister Act (a classic, really) while sitting on a beanbag in a room full of beanbags! It was a new experience for us and it was a nice way to end our holiday in this great city.