On July 2, 2013 a friend and I traveled to Europe for two weeks. Six countries, five languages, seven flights, five buses, four trains, multiple boats and two taxis, one bag. Too see my gear please visit How to Travel Light. On this trip we had two layovers in London England.
First Visit – July 3, 2013
Tired and dirty we had no place to go. We devised a plan. We went directly to the London tube (subway) and bought an Oyster card, mind the gap. The Oyster card is a rechargeable card that you can use to travel anywhere in the city. We put 10 pounds ($15) on the Oyster card, got on the blue line at Heathrow Terminal three and rode it east to Charing Cross (Trafalgar Square). The Tube is ridiculously easy to navigate, DC Metro, take notes. Charing Cross had a left luggage, 9 pounds ($14), so we locked up our bags so we could explore the city.
First, we wanted to be familiar with the area that we would catch the PPTravel coach to Pamplona Spain the next morning, so we walked to Victoria Embankment. From Victoria Embankment we walked across the Hungerford Bridge, passing the London Eye to the Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace, they had food and free wi-fi, why not? I ordered kerns cheddar & tomato toastie, seasonal coleslaw and a lager for 10 pounds ($15) and Travis got a ham and kerns cheddar toastie, seasonal coleslaw and a lager $10 pounds ($15).
From here we walked around and found a Hostel, Hyde Park Hostel. We withdrew 50 pounds, $76 for the hostel because they only accepted cash. The cost of the hostel was actually 27 pounds, $41. Paid for the room, 6 bed, shared male dorm. Put sheets on our bed.
Walked around Hyde park. Randomly rented two bikes from Barclays Cycle Hire. Rode the bikes all the way through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace. Went back to return bikes. All of the slots to return the bikes had been taken. Rode to another bike drop off. All taken. Finally found two openings. Returned the bikes.
Exhausted, we went to a convenience store. I bought water and Ibuprofen, Travis bought purple drink (ribena) and a bag of chips. Then we had dinner at The Pizza Factory, it was cheap, quick and we were starving.
Got back to the room and crashed. Two dudes checked into our room late. Sun came up early, also early morning construction woke us up. Went downstairs, had prison breakfast consisting of a mystery juice, corn flakes, and slices of bread. Coffee was terrible. Tea was good.
Walked back to Charing Cross, got our bags from left luggage. Walked to the Victoria Embankment and chilled at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace again until it was time to catch the bus to Pamplona Spain.
To see the next leg of the journey, please see, Pamplona, Spain.
Second Visit – July 15, 2013
Return to London from Düsseldorf Germany, we didnt have much time to work with. Our plane landed at 7 am and our flight to Copenhagen Denmark left at 2 pm. So we had less than 5 hours to make a few last minute stops.
We didn’t realize that our flight was to Stansted Airport, which is just outside of London. So we boarded a bus for 10 pounds each which stopped at Victoria Coach Station. The bus ride took around hour and a half.
After we took a couple of pictures, we had no time left, so we headed to the Westminster Tube Station. I checked the balance of my Oyster card and didn’t have enough money on it to get back to Heathrow. Travis lost his and had to get a new one. We had to add about four pounds to get back to Heathrow terminal three.