Friday morning I woke up with a horrific cold and thought why did it have to come today just when I'm off to London for the weekend! Just the same I got ready ate some breakfast with Megan who just walked in from a girls night out, and trucked off to the metro. I have never been to Gard du Nord, but I gave my self plenty of time to check in and find my way around, and thank god I did because it is a huge station! Plus you have to go through customs before you get into the UK. I was pretty tired and feeling miserable so thankfully everything went smoothly and I was loaded onto the train with success. It was a pretty full train so I couldn't stretch out but as tired as i was I still feel asleep if nothing but a little cramped. I found the hostel with little trouble, but a little shocked at the metro ticket prices (I wont complain about the paris metro ever again!). I was looking forward to being able to lie down for an hour or so just to recoup since I was feeling so miserable, but in all our rush to find and book a hostel I forgot that this one didnt have check in until 2pm. I was so bummed when I heard this, but it forced me out to see the town. That day was a blur, in fact, the whole trip seems a bit fuzzy, but I made it to Trafalgar square, the national museum, Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster abbey, the london eye, and all around those areas. From the hostel it was about a 5 minute walk to Buckingham palace and from there to pretty much all the other central tourist sites about another 5 minutes. I spent about 5 hours wandering around, got some fish and chips, saw some art work and finally gave up before I passed out in the street. I decided to take the tube back which is such a completely different experience from Paris its almost funny. Obviously the concepts are the same, but the area the tube covers, how bumpy the ride is, and how outrageously price the tube is I dont think I would ever use it if I lived there. I guess Ive just been spoiled here in Paris.
After resting a while I went down into the kitchen and meet some people also staying in the hostel. I quickly found that most people there are actually living there while they work. Its cheaper than any flat in town so I don't blame them and what a fun place to live. People from all around the world constantly coming and going. It's a big happy family there and I was stoked we picked such a great hostel. That night I got little sleep because I was feeling so crappy plus it probably didn't help that people were coming in at all hours of the night (or rather early morning). Oh well that's dorm life. I had to check out the next morning by 10 so that I could switch rooms when Claire arrived. Waking up at 930 and getting all my stuff together I headed to the reception area to check out and then get some breakfast. As I was checking out I ran into a girl from Argentina that I had talked to the night before and she asked me what I was doing up so early. I told her about the check out and my friend arriving and she said nothing more of it. Then down in the kitchens when I was getting my free breakfast (which was pretty good by the way) I ran into some more people I meet and all of them asked me what I was doing up so early. Still thinking nothing of it I told them what was up and they all let me be. It wasn't until much later when I happen to look at the kitchen clock and it said it was only 930. Just remember that I am sick and this took a couple seconds to realize exactly what happened, but London is an hour ahead of Paris and I didn't change my watch the day before. Yeah I had a really long morning of laughing at my self and feeling stupid because so many people had hinted to me that I was a bit off. That's life I guess. While I waited for Claire to arrive I walked around the neighborhood, which was really nice. It used to be where a lot of the aristocrats lived so the rooms in each building are pretty big and that is why so many hotels have taken over some of them. On one of the tours when we were near this area they pointed out where Sean Connery keeps a place. It was near one of the private community parks that I so wanted to get into my first day. Anyway, Claire finally arrived and looked as tired and wore out as I did the first day, but we bucked up and went out to explore London together.
I took her first to where I went the day before because that was most of the main spots near our hostel. When we got to Trafalgar square we found out there was a huge protest going on. I guess the Dutch had some cartoon that made fun of Muhammad so the Muslim population was out in full force letting London know how upset they were. Skirting most of this we found our way into the national gallery and then off to some other sites around town. We decided to do the Big Bus Tour which is a bus that takes you around town and you can get on and off along the route. The ticket was good for 48 hours so we thought this would be worth the money since it would last the whole time we were in town. Since it rained most of Sunday this was good since we were able to see the city and still stay dry. I have never felt so cold in all my life. Grant it that I am sick and this probably doesn't help matters but those brits must have some thick skin to deal with that biting cold. The wind hits you and you are cold instantly to the bone.