Imagine there's no heaven….
Jul 27, 2013
|It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today….
So off I flew from Berlin to London, well sort of. I landed at London/Luton Airport and was a little dismayed to find out that it is at least an hour and a half bus ride to the city center. I may as well have flown to Wales! I was in the middle of nowhere! Damn budget airlines.
I sorted a bus ticket and settled in to enjoy the ride. It was a perfect day weather wise - the hottest in London all summer, and I was soon to find out it was also the day the baby who will be King was born - George - though I thought that Frank would have been a better choice. Right? Imagine, King Frank the 1st! Has a nice ring to it if you ask me. Of course no one was asking me, but hey, I was ready if they did.
I stayed in a hotel in Kensington Gardens directly across from Hyde Park and as I strolled from the bus stop to my hotel the city started to seep into my bones. The town was hopping and there were tourists and locals everywhere. I checked in and headed out to explore.
My really good friend Emma (who is Swedish, living and working in London, whom I met in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia all the way back in 2010 and again just recently in Mexico) was in the Lobby waiting for me with open arms and a huge smile. We set out walking and wandered down to meet up with another beautiful friend of mine, Fiona (we met hiking the Inca Trail in Peru for the End of the World back in December 2012). Fiona is a Londoner and we followed her lead. We went to Soho and had a delicious dinner. Then we walked and chatted our way down past Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and the Parliament Building, the London Eye and wound up strolling along South Bank before bidding each other goodnight and promising to meet up the next evening.
The following night I started where I left off, my friend Clive (who I met in Fiji all the way back in 2009) was waiting for me in the Lobby. We took the Tube (the London Underground) down to South Bank and met up with Fiona and a good friend of hers - Seanna. The 4 of us dined in a restaurant looking out on the people bustling along the Thames. Then we walked, and we talked. Eventually Fiona and Seanna had to call it a night but Clive and I were not done yet. Clive too is a Londoner and he was a wealth of knowledge on all things London. He played tour guide with the highlights being a walk over the Tower Bridge and a night view of the Tower of London. We ended the night in a traditional English Pub down near the docks.
During the days I made my own way around the city checking out the sights and the different neighborhoods. I went down to the Mall and saw Buckingham Palace, I made sure to see all the things we saw in the dark by the light of day also - again seeing Big Ben, Trafalgar Square (I was there the day they unveiled the Blue Cock), I marveled at the crowds in Leicester Square, wandered around Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus and even had the pleasure of a real London Cabby (he never shut up!) who drove me the wrong way to my hotel!
The best though, as always, was hanging out with friends. My friend Emma and I did what we do best, which is eat and laugh. For the eating part, London is chock full of choices and we wound up in a few of the best. We went to an excellent steak house one night - Goodman's and dined on huge pieces of red meat and all the trimmings. The following night we had Chinese Food in Chinatown after the Theatre. And the last night we dined at Maze Gordon Ramsay which was good but not great and of course overpriced.
For the laughing part, not that we need much to get us going, we decided to see a few shows and let the professionals handle the humor. London is known for it's theatre district and on one night we were lucky enough to get two seats to see The Book Of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. What a great show. It is written by the creators of South Park and follows the lives of two young Mormons off on their first mission …in Uganda! Needless to say it is raunchy and over the top, but none the less extremely funny and even has a good little message thrown in there. Just to give you an idea, the 3rd musical number, takes place as the 2 Elders arrive in the village in Uganda and the locals all gather to greet them and welcome them to Africa and sing the song "Hasa Diga Eebowai". Which, much to the shock of our 2 Elders, turns out translates to "F**K YOU GOD!" Hahahaha…. If you get the chance definitely go see this one.
On my last night in the city we went down to South Bank and to the London Wonder Ground for the Friday Night Freak Show. I have to say it was a really fun night, filled with laughter and some strange performances, there were 3 stand up comedians that performed and each one was excellent, but the show was short on freaks, which I was slightly disappointed about. I like freaks.
So again, friends, food, fun and not being a tourist (well not a total tourist)….