My flight home from Bangkok transited to London and Los Angeles so I decided to stay in London to see the land of Pomp and Monarchy. The plane I took from Stockholm to London was all by Norwegian Air. The flight was so impressive.
I was sitting by the window so I could see and feel how the aircraft seemed to glide through the clouds. I thought, "This plane is so good - the best I have ever flown." I was so impressed that I looked at the leaflet in front of the seat to see what kind of aircraft it was. Guess what? It was a Boeing 737 Max 8. I'm not sure if I'm still impressed, after the Ethiopian Air incident.
We landed at Gatwick Airport. On the way to pick up my luggage, it looked like I was in a sort of a cave rather than an airport. The Bangkok and Singapore terminals are far nicer. The line for foreign passports at the immigration counter had only one customer - me. All the passengers on my flight must have had EU passports. The immigration officer must have been bored, so he took time to talk and exchange jokes with me, which was nice and made me feel at home.
Taking the train from the airport to the City center is easy, as everything was marked with a sign and also the ticketing counter explained which train to take and how. It was the opposite of Italy - maybe because in Italy we spoke a different languages. London is vibrant, the opposite of Stockholm. It is crowded and lively. There are different species of "monkeys" - some looked like me.
I checked in at the first hostel I found with breakfast and few rules. I had a small room with 4 others, 1 of whom took all the spaces for luggage, as if he owned the place. The room had its own bathroom so it must have been a double room turned into a dorm to make more money; nevertheless, it was nice.
I heard a lot about Westminster Abbey - the place where Royals get crowned, married and whatever else, so I took a public bus to see it. After more than two hours the bus came to a complete stop, with me as the only passenger left. I asked the driver, "Where's the Westminster Abbey?" He said he didn't know and this is his last stop.
I took the same bus back then noticed a small sign that says, Westminster along the road. I followed the sign but it didn't look like there were any tourists except me - "Must be a boring place," I thought.
I came to a bridge over a big river, and in the corner, there was a sign that said "One of the only two original medieval buildings left in London." I thought that must be it, but there was nobody there except the dead as there was what looked like an old cemetery in the front of the building's vicinity. ( It was the Garden Museum next to the Lambeth Palace.)
I decided to go along the river as it was nicer, with not many people. I noticed what looked like a Parliament Building across the river so I keep going as I could see a big crowd on the other side. It turn out that was the Westminster Bridge though I wondered which way all the people came from as I was the only one coming from the opposite side of Lambeth Bridge.
I checked out Westminster Abbey. It's nice that you can go inside the compound without an entrance fee. It seemed to be eerie and it seemed like what was happening inside must have been closed to the outside world, as was the case with many of these medieval enclaves at that time.
Then the Palace of Westminster, and ended up at the Buckingham Palace. Big Ben was under construction at that time. Westminster Bridge was so crowded. You can see a lot of scammers, so ignore them and watch your pockets and bags. You can also checked out the Florence Nightingale Museum, London Eye, Jewel Tower, Victoria Tower Gardens and Imperial War Museums, to name a few sites in this area alone.
I had noticed a sign that said St. Paul Cathedral when I took the train from the airport so the next day, I took the same train to check it out as we also have a St. Paul Cathedral in Minnesota. Turns out this one is bigger but the similarities are noticeable. It was a good idea as the Cathedral is connected to Tate Modern Museum by a beautiful bridge called Millennium. This part of the bridge is where most of the attractions can be found. You can walk along the River Thames and end up at the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. The best thing when you don't have any destination , is that you always reach your destination without worrying about getting lost.
London is easy to navigate; the public transport is excellent; the food is great - it's nice that they have McDonalds and Wendy's, too, so it is easy for the budget. There are so many attractions. There seem to be signs of Royalty's everywhere, but I never did see one Royal yet.
London on the Cheap