It was bound to happen. My fixation on Princess Di (I have books about her), Becky Bloomwood (Shopaholic Series), Downtown Abbey, Sherlock Holmes (the tv series ), M&S and scones (with clotted cream) had to lead somewhere— to its origin, sooner rather than later. London was a call I had to answer.
Repercussion was, I was alone. But thankfully, with the help of the Undergound Station, navigating London was smooth and easy. I didn’t have an itinerary. I went where my feet could take me.
It was only a 15min distance from the airport to my hotel near the Paddington Station, via Heathrow Express train. And as suggested by a kabayan who I met working at the station, I bought a day pass metro card to take me around.
Proximity to the metro station is always my main concern because I thrive on trains; a room with its own loo comes in second because I love my own space.
Thanks to the inventor of selfie sticks, it is handy for the solo traveler— for picture taking and to act as a weapon for obnoxious strangers. But no, London is safe and clean. It is diverse with a good mix of asians, caucasians and europeans— my anxiety was brushed aside because I didn’t look like the odd one out. London is like unraveling a history book on royalty and chivalry. Its magnanimity can draw you in and drown you. My inner fan was cartwheeling with every familiar site I saw that I have only seen in movies. Even Pret A Manger was familiar, as it is referred to often in the Shopaholic series.
I went outside Buckingham Palace, toured inside Westminster Abbey, saw The London Eye, Big Ben (under construction), prayed in St. Paul’s Cathedral, got sentimental by the Tower Bridge, bought fresh cherries at Borough Market, shopped for food at Marks & Spencer, bought supplies at Boots and had a mini heart attack seeing the facade of Sherlock Holmes Museum— all a stone’s throw away from the Station.
“Do something every day that scares you” and that was the mantra I was chanting in my head the day I left for London. And the way back to Dubai? I was singing: “I made it through the rain” because it sure did rain the next day.
If you’d ask me if I liked it? I’d say yes, I enjoyed my own company. I was in control. I would go back. But I would prefer to travel with someone to share the ordeal with. Someone to share the blame with (ha ha) and laugh with the highs and lows.
Traveling solo is redeeming and adulting. A faith rebuilder and cementer. The truth and dare. A breakthrough. Do it at least once in your life. London is not a bad idea. It is best consumed alone for 2 days and then to share for the rest of the week with someone. And oh, lemme know if you plan to visit because I have unfinished hoarding to do at M&S & Boots. LOL.
Day pass = 12 GBP/ Heathrow Express = 40 GBP/ Westminster Abbey = 22 GPB / St. Paul’s Cathedral = 18 GBP / Buckingham Palace/ London Eye / Big Ben / Sherlock Holmes Museum/ Tower Bridge