Monday, October 28, 2013

London (part 3): Delays, Airplanes and Heights

I think I've mentioned before how much I appreciate public transportation in Europe. I think it's actually one of my favorite parts about Europe as a whole. Anyway, I particularly like the London Tube system, primarily because it's fast and cheap (if you have an oyster card). However, on my third day in London, the reliance on the Tube did cause a minor delay. See, the Northern Line, which I needed to use to get to Colindale (which was a bit outside of London) was suspended for maintenance for most of the Line. When I asked the information desk how to get to Colindale, the lady pretty much told me it was going to be difficult, involving transferring twice, getting on a replacement bus etc. But here's the thing (admittedly, much to the chagrin of my family and friends sometimes) when I get something in my head, I don't let it go. So the point is: I was getting to Colindale that day regardless of the Northern Line being closed. Why did I want to go to Colindale so badly? Well, I REALLY wanted to go the Royal Air Force Museum. My grandfather was in the U.S Air Force and LOVES planes, which I think is really cool, so I really wanted to visit the Royal Air Force Museum because of that, plus it was supposed to be a really cool place visit while in London. Anyway, the Museum was in Colindale. And so I took the Tube, changed to a different station and then took a bus to Colindale. I got to the Royal Air Force Museum a bit later than anticipated, but I got there eventually. It was definitely worth it though. There were a TON of planes, a lot of which were from World War II (British planes, American planes and even Nazi Germany planes) and older. It was really cool to see all of them, there is actually quite a bit of history involved. There were old bombs and other things that would have gotten dropped from the planes during wartime. It was quite cool. Also, the food in the cafĂ© was pretty good as well. The British have a thing with already prepared sandwiches that I really just don't get, but hey, I guess it's food. Also, they really DO like their tea. I'm serious, it isn't a national stereotype. EVERY MENU HAS HOT TEA AS AN OPTION. It's the EXACT SAME THING in Ireland actually. Which is perfectly fine for me because I love tea. Coffee, not so much. Although, I will say that they don't seem to have iced tea. At all. I think that's a bit bizarre, but maybe they think it's strange that we DO have cold tea...

After I got back from the Royal Air Force Museum, it was probably around 5 or 6 p.m. I didn't want to just go back to the hostel, because I was only going to be in London for a few more days. I ended up deciding to walk along the Westminster Bridge (I think that's what it was called). I subsequently spent about 15 minutes debating about whether or not I really wanted to brave the massive line (and my fear of heights) to get on the London Eye, which basically looks like a Ferris wheel. A very energy efficient Ferris wheel. Eventually, I caved in to my curiosity and got in line for a ticket.

It was an incredible experience. Despite my fear of heights, the London Eye was actually really great. It's very slow, so you don't feel it moving too much in the capsule, it probably takes about 30 minutes total. But you really do get to see ALL of London. I think the best way to describe the experience is through pictures, so that's what I'm going to do. Note: it started raining while I was on it, so there are rain drops in some of the pictures.


Outside the Royal Air Force Museum--my picture
This is just a small part of the Museum, I actually took over 300 photos--my picture
Royal Air Force Museum--my picture
Just starting out on the London Eye--my picture

A little bit higher now--my picture

London Eye--my picture

I zoomed in, or else it would be smaller--my picture

Mostly to show you the sunset and what the capsule/car looks like--my picture

Houses of Parliament all lit up for the night--my picture
After the London Eye, I walked around the bridge area for a bit. It was very tourist-y, with street performers and a carousel, but it was fun to people watch for a few minutes. Eventually, I bought a waffle with chocolate syrup (I'm not going to lie, that was my dinner), and walked back to the hostel. Oh, and side note: if your cell phone ever runs out of minutes and you have your iPad with you--go to Starbucks. Free Wi-Fi is the greatest. So that was Day 3 of my London trip.

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