Good day from London, England! After finally leaving the wonderful country of Italy after an eleven-day non-stop backpacking excursion, the tag-team partner and I finally made it to the United Kingdom.
Right away, we noticed the difference in the two countries as England, really, the U.K., has a massive border control inspection as opposed to the Italian's laissez-faire approach. As our tour guide, Aida, mentioned to us back in Italy, "Italy let's everyone in. But because of limited jobs and opportunities, many don't stay". London, one of the world's biggest cities, obviously can't afford to have such a policy on immigration and visitation.
Following the intense inspection we quickly learned that a taxi ride to our hotel on a Saturday afternoon could run us about 90-100 pounds. No chance of us spending that type of money when the subway, or "the tube" as they call it around these parts, was available. So, as the gutsy New Yorkers we obviously are who are also self-proclaimed "experts"on rail systems below ground, we figured we'd take the tube.
Boy, did we embarrass ourselves. London's system is slightly different in terms of the city map (obviously); when it comes to payment; and even as detailed as the type of turnstile system. After asking the tube workers, thus making it blatantly obvious we were tourists, we were on our way, and eventually in our hotel room. We even transferred as well. Yup, we're tremendously talented. Slow start, but we got it!
I'll say this about London's system, it's clean, efficient, and courteous. Quite the anomaly from the NYC system. There are even cushions on the seats! However, there is no A/C. Can you imagine if that were the case back home? Ugh...
Nonetheless, after roaming the streets of the Kensington area of London for the night, London is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities in the world. Diversity. Culture. Character. Architecture. Visuals. History. Pace. Vibe. Kindness. Food. All of it. Such a great city.
By the way, had some fish and chips for dinner (of course!), and I can't tell you how great it felt to not eat pasta or wine for dinner. I love Italy, but that lifestyle was beginning to gnaw at me. Though, I did enjoy a tall pint of Peroni (Italian beer) with my meal in a classic English pub. Ahhhhh beer, how I missed you so.
Sort of a random tidbit, we're on the 19th floor of our hotel facing the skyline of London...yup, I think London may be my second favorite city now. Such a beautiful skyline.
Here are some pictures taken from the day. Click to enlarge the photos.
We hit some of the historical sites tomorrow before pulling in ALL of what London has to offer on our own on Monday.