It does sound weird, but up until a few years ago, I had never stepped foot in the UK.   Well, that would be a little white lie, however, I don’t count airports!   You would think that after living in Europe since late 2003, it would not take me another 5 years to get to the the great city, home of THREE olympics,  crazy high living costs and really good food.  I put the greatest emphasis on the food part.  There is just so many things to do, places to eat and the best thing of all (for a tourist), is that the Museums are free!

The main purpose of my trip was to see as much as I could as my sister was living there and I didn’t know how much longer she’d be there.  I don’t usually travel with family, so I took this opportunity, dragged my best friend along and went off to see Europe starting from London.

Where would you go if you went to London?  A couple things popped into my head like Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Bath and some museums.  There was just not a lot of time to do everything as we were on a tight schedule.  Actually, my schedule was pretty light at the time, but my friend had the normal suit type job back home (Canada), with crap vacay time off.   I honestly don’t know how I am going to get used to that if I ever move back.

Anyway, I have to say, London has a very good transit system with minor issues like lack of air con in the summer.  You’ll realise that the system is old and historically, London  and the surrounding areas were not known to get real hot periods, but as we know, global warming seems to be messing with mother nature, or so I think.  If it’s a hot day, only some of the trains have air con, especially the newer trains on the overground or the Jubilee line.  The smaller lines around central London won’t have them.

After the initial excitement of getting and standing on London soil, we began shuffling around and getting used to the culture, the people and well, the cars moving in the opposite direction.  IF you come from a left hand driving country, the secret is to look BOTH ways when doing anything.  I can’t tell you how many times I came so close to getting my foot squashed or kneecaps taken off because I started crossing too early and forgetting that the vehicles are coming from the other direction.

I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but at this point London was well on its way to gentrifying the east-end of the city in preparation for the upcoming summer Olympics 4 years later (2012).  Because of this, my sister decided to show us around the infrastructure being built.  In the process of doing so, we got to see the layout of the land and learned how to take the tube to where we needed to be.  Driving in London is nuts, especially if you don’t know where you are going.  You also get dinged for extra fees if you drive closer into the city (to reduce congestion).  That will be the future for other cities as they grow too.

I’ve uploaded a few photos that I took at that time.  This won’t include Bath and or Stonehenge, but it does include some photos of other things like friends, family and East London.  Part of it is around the O2 centre near Canary Warf and Brick Lane, the Indian food Mecca of London.