I woke up again throughout the night as send to be usual now – eventually needing to use my ear plugs to drown out both snoring in my 22-bed dorm, AND the construction work that was happening right outside my window most of the night. Oh, and the traffic, and the train that went religiously overhead every now and then. But I actually had a pretty good sleep. Once I couldn’t get back to sleep I had a shower, and has breakfast downstairs. Toast and nutella, with apple juice.
I then took the train to meet up with Chloe, and we shared a tender reunification. Swang followed shortly after, the reunification just as tender.
Chloe had a full day planned for us – we started by walking from Kensington South station to Royal Albert Hall and the memorial – we took photos (as you do) and saw some pugs. We then walked by the water and down to Buckingham Palace, a very pleasant walk through a park, seeing a whole bunch of wildlife including pelicans and squirrels. The palace was grand, as you’d expect, but also packed, as you would also expect… and we stayed there waiting for the change of the guards which never happened, so we took off again after a half hour of waiting.
Down another lakefront and a winding path, we came to where Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye are. That’s a very happening place, and while it’s fantastic to see during the day, it’s also amazing at night when it all lights up.
We had lunch at a place called the Slug and Lettuce just down from the eye (excellent guide indeed), then walked down the waterfront until we saw St. Paul’s Cathedral. It costs towards £20 to enter, so we continued or walking tour to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, then to Trafalgar Square. There are plenty of buskers in these three areas as well as on the waterfront – you can see some amazing talent, from singers to those living statues, to magicians, to poet-oracles. On the way to St. Paul’s we met a man who had hundreds of letters named and laid out in front of him. For a donation you could take a named or unnamed envelope, and inside would be a kind of fortune in the form of a poem.
Swang choose a fire related fortune, Chloe choose love, and I decided on one called The Waterfall – which I’ve sealed and won’t open until I’m back in NZ. We asked if he knew what was in each poem, to which he replied ‘oh yes,’ so Swang asked if he would review his poem, the envelope still closed. The man then gave us a fantastic performance as he refused what was in Swang’s fortune word for word, and it really was a performance, his words, the intonation, the pauses, it was powerful to listen to. Well worth the few pounds we have him.
Underneath one of the bridges on the way to St. Paul’s, we came across a kind of pop-up book market. Many old books and comics, as well as prints and posters. I student a few pounds there too.
I also got a photo in front of the Globe theatre, unfortunate photos on my camera only. Finally we caught the train to Canary Wharf, which is right where Chloe works – waited a bit and her friend/line manager and girlfriend to finish work, and we went across the road to a Mexican place called Wahaca (which did kinda tapa like plates, I shared a bunch with Swang – all were good, but unfortunately I liked the spicy ones more even though I don’t like spice. The unfortunate post comes from the fact that my lips are kinda burnt from the day out and were cracking a little, so the spice really stung!).
Then to finish off we went to a bar and had a drink, then got the train back to the hostel (passing by the supermarket on the way for $1 worth of chocolate, about 60p) – then I quickly got into bed and feel asleep, the sound of works, trains, and snoring not annoying me in the slightest as I quickly feel asleep, doing the usual waking through the night.