England, We Have a Problem: About This Blog Entry
It’s hard for even me to believe that there was a time in my life when travel didn’t excite me. But there was.
There was actually a time, when I would travel–mostly cruises, with my family–and I didn’t have that travel “bug;” that unquenchable thirst for exploration, and to see it all, as much as I could. I didn’t dislike traveling, but I think I didn’t carry the same enthusiasm I have today, because the travel was simply too organized. Piling off a cruise ship with 1,000 other American tourists and getting on a bus to see the main square for three hours never really did it for me. Of course, I’d soon discover my true passion for travel: going solo to off-the-beaten-track places to see things most have never even dreamed of…well, you know the rest of the story.
Anyway, my trip to the UK in 2010 was nice, but too quick: it was at the end of a cruise and well before my real passion for travel was conceived, hence the reason I don’t have much of a “story.” I did take a few photographs though, so I hope you enjoy.
My Previous Job: Taco Inspector
Back in the mid-2000s, when video blogging just started to become popular, one of my professions was “Taco Inspector.” No joke. I had a badge and everything. I would go to taco joints all around the country, “inspecting” their tacos and reporting on them via YouTube. I later actually got hired as a real correspondent for a statewide-broadcast TV show, inspecting tacos on my very own segment. It was a blast!
So I used my one full day in London not only to do a certified “Taco Inspection,” but also meet up with some family/friends. Mikaela is my best friend’s sister and she lives in London and joined me on my first English Taco Inspection!
So just how good were these tacos? Check the video below for my official rating!
And now…on with the show:
So yeah, London was awesome. I actually did a lot more than you saw–like ride the tube, go to some palaces, etc. But this before my travel-blogging days. I was more interested in tacos than seeing new countries. My, times have changed as I have grown as a person. Not to say I don’t still love tacos though. Don’t get it twisted.
London, We Meet Again!
See, I knew I’d return! London was the last stop on my April 2019 trip around the world, which went like this:
I had a nine-hour layover in London, and I’ll be damned if I was gonna spend it in the airport. Nope! I’d jump in the tube and head straight into town…let’s make the most of this stop!
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
I took sleeping pills and knocked myself out on the seven-hour overnight flight from Bahrain and felt pretty good when we landed at 6:15AM. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for: the cold. After all, I spent the last ten days in the sweltering heat. I only carry one bag (yes one bag, total: a carry-on) and I wasn’t going to take up valuable real estate in my luggage for a bulky coat just for a quick layover in London. However, I should’ve thought things through just a little bit better and bought a sweatshirt in the airport before I left. But nope, Ramblin’ Randy was in a hurry to “ramble,” so I broke out of the terminal like a bat outta hell, jumping on the tube and heading into downtown wearing nothing but a short sleeve shirt. I mean, I had pants and shoes on too. But no coat.
Sorry, We’re Closed
Once off the train, it took me about 2.7 seconds to realize I’d made a drastic mistake. It was 40 degrees and I felt like I was going to die from hypothermia. I frantically tore up and down the streets of London looking for a clothing store…and found a few…only to be closed; shuttered up tight. It was Sunday morning at 8AM…nothing was open! What a bonehead move!
I passed “normal” people on the street, wearing their jackets, scarves, hats and furry boots…all while I was wearing this very thin short-sleeved button up. I was absolutely miserable. I hate the cold! Once I realized I wasn’t going to find a coat anywhere at this hour, I beelined it to my first destination: breakfast at a place called Duck and Waffle. I couldn’t get there quick enough. I cursed under my breath.
Duck and Waffle is located on the 40th floor of a London high rise, and sadly, when I arrived I was turned away: reservations only. Oh man, that sucked! I’d come all this way to eat breakfast there, only to be rejected. Plus I was freezing and now I had to go back out into the cold, cast back into the street like a vagabond. Luckily, they did have an option to eat scones, crumpets and coffee at the bar there, so I chose that. It was the most expensive bread I’ve ever purchased, but it was worth it! And the coffee warmed me up.
RAMBLIN’ TIP: Don’t make the mistake I did…if you want to dine at the really nice and overly-popular places, make a reservation far ahead of time. I ain’t mad at Duck and Waffle, it was my goof for not being a good planner. The place looks amazing!
After my croissants, coffee and juice, it was back out onto the cold London streets. I headed back underground into the Tube and took a ride over to Westminster Station. I wanted to check in on good ‘ol Big Ben, cross over the Thames River and maybe take a ride on The Eye. Luckily I had landed at ground zero for tourists, and while usually I wouldn’t like being in those huge crowds one bit, all those tourists meant that there would be souvenir stands…souvenir stands that would sell sweatshirts. I quickly grabbed my self a cozy “London” hoodie, and suddenly all was right in the world.
Big Ben was getting worked on and was completely camouflaged under all the scaffolding. I did enjoy the walk across the river, as I passed street musicians playing bagpipes. And though I made it over to The Eye, the ticket window was having problems with their computer systems and I couldn’t purchase a ticket. I settled for a hot coffee and made my way over to Buckingham Palace. I was much happier now that I was warm!
Sittin’ in the Park on a Sunday Afternoon
I really enjoyed the walk through St. James Park. I’m concerned that I got a little too excited seeing the birds. I am becoming an old man before my very own eyes! But the birds were beautiful, and landed right on your hand when you held it out. They bit the hell outta my finger too. I guess they were expecting food. I’ll bring some next time!
Over at Buckingham Palace a band was playing and marching and there was quite a commotion. There were gobs and gobs of tourists all lined up along the sidewalks. I wasn’t sure if the Queen herself was making an appearance, but the block was mobbed! I couldn’t wait to get through the crowd and over to the other side. Absolute madness.
I eventually made my way back to the tube where I took a train back to Heathrow. I had a good time, but was tired and cold, and wanted to rest before my flight home. It was nice to see London again, even though it was a little rushed. As promised before, I will be back! And this time with a reservation for breakfast!
And Now…the REST of the InstaStory:This entry was posted in Europe