Stories and Tips: London

Last November during my schools break, my 2 good friends and I decided to take the bus to London from Lille. I was already in Lille so the boys met up with me and we took the bus from there. You might be wondering how a bus got across the English Channel. Well, just like the Eurostar train, the bus gets in a very large train car and gets transported underground. Taking the bus is definitely something I recommend. It took a little bit more time but it was only like 16 euros to get all the way from France to London. Much better on the wallet than the train would have been. Though to get back home we didn’t feel like taking the bus all the way back to La Rochelle which would have taken 11 hours… So we took the train and it was 130 euros. See what I mean! Granted we did everything last minute so the train would have been around 70 euros if we had planned better. But still. If you have the time and patience the bus is the way to go. Or at least plan better than we did.

When we arrived in London we got Oyster cards for the metros. They were around 30 euros and they were the bomb. We got to take the tubes as much as we needed without having to buy individual tickets. It was super easy. Our airbnb was terrible. Granted we payed 103 euros for 3 of us to stay for 4 days. So we kind of expected it. Luckily, we are young and we didn’t care. All we needed was a bed and a bathroom and that’s what we got. A tip if you go to London is to stay somewhere close to the center but not directly in the center in order for it to be less expensive. You can use the tubes to get anywhere really easily.

Another good thing to know about going to London is that it’s SO EXPENSIVE. Already, the pound is equal to $1.31 (1.15 euros). Which means that you are paying much more for the same stuff. And stuff is just more expensive in general. We got pizza at a “not so expensive” pizza place in town and my pizza was 12 pounds. That means $15.60 for a Blaze pizza type situation. That’s when I realized I was really going to have to be careful with my money while I was there. Definitely something you should know before going.

Throughout the trip me and the guys just wanted a nice cold beer after having walked and checked out all of the sights all day. But like I said everything is expensive. So I looked up cheap beer on apple maps. I found a place called the Big Pig or something of the sort that didn’t look too far away. When we got out of the tube though the area we were in looked super sketchy. We were walking down a street full of Indian restaurants where people were yelling at us asking if we wanted curry. Actually most of them weren’t asking they would just yell, “CURRY HERE”, right when we walked by. Quick disclaimer, the area was not sketchy because there were plenty of Indian places and people. It just so happened that there were. Anyways, we walked down this street that seemed never ending to reach a dark alley. Tell me about sketchy… But after turning the corner, between two dark buildings there was an awesome looking bar with 5 pound pints! It was so sweet. I was so proud of myself for finding it. My advice for finding food and bars like this is to explore. I mean still use your phone, we are in the 21 century. But look something up and if it seems like a good place go find it! Provided that you aren’t exploring alone. Don’t want to get lost in a new place, especially if you don’t speak the language.

Another thing I noticed about London is that people were rude! Sorry if you’re British and reading this but yeah the people there were rude. When we went to get coffee in the morning I told my friends that they had to order for themselves so they could practice their english. But when they didn’t understand and the lady had to repeat herself she got all sassy. My poor friends didn’t know what to do, how could they answer the question if they didn’t know what she was saying! This wasn’t the only time though, it kind of happened everywhere too… It was a shame but it’s okay we got used to it.

We did tons of sight seeing which was great. I’d say we did almost everything that you can do in London for free. We saw Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Big Ben (under construction), the changing of the guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the parks, Camden Market and a bunch of other things. I saw everything that I wanted to see which was amazing. Though we weren’t sure at one point which the Tower Bridge and the London Bridge were. Turns out the Tower Bridge is the cool one and the London Bridge is really not that cool other than the name and the fact that it’s in the song everyone knows (London bridge is falling down, falling down…).

We tried fish and chips and honestly it wasn’t my favorite. It was literally french fries and fried fish and that’s it. I had like a third of my plate and I was done. It’s extremely fattening. But definitely something to try over there, I mean how can you not?! My buddies liked the fish and chips but not as much as the fish and kebabs that we got. There was a restaurant that we passed by every day to get to the tube called “Fish and Kebab”, how could we not try it. It was like a Turkish and English delicacy combined! Again, it wasn’t the best thing in the world but it was pretty good. Just your average fast food with a twist.

We were lucky that it only rained in London the last day that we were there. But boy, when it started raining it literally did not stop and it was pouring! We came back from getting souvenirs and we were soaked. Definitely look at the weather before going to London because it rains a lot there. Personally, I’m not a fan of the rain so we got very lucky because I had not checked in advance. Also, you just want to make sure you pack the right clothes. Just like any trip.

Our trip to London was epic. The biggest thing that I would have done differently was to plan more. We kind of just figured things out as we went and while it was fun it was more expensive. I would say that is my biggest piece of advice coming from this trip. So glad I did this trip with my friends though. Can’t wait to do more.

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