An 8 Hour Tour… Of London

By the end of my trip I developed a high tolerance for walking long distances. I could cover 5-10 miles a day, easily. I stepped off the Eurostar early in the morning, I found a small grocery store to stock up for the next couple of days, then proceeded to search for a hostel.

I just wondered around and happened upon some hostels, I didn’t have a map at all. I just figured that there would have to be hostels somewhat near a busy train station. I found a couple, but all the rooms were full, but they gave me directions to others that may give me some luck (along with a map!).

After a short search, a 19th century Courthouse/jailhouse, called the Clink78 had availability (http://www.clinkhostels.com/london/backpacker-hostels/clink78). Each floor differentiated from each other by the bright colors of the walls. I stayed in a dormitory style room made for about 14-16 for about 33 US dollars a night. When you stay at a hostel, they clean the rooms midday for several hours; but you can leave your luggage/backpack in a locked room so you can venture out and come back when they completed the cleaning.

I left my pack and meandered across London with just my camera case and a map; I floated to wherever I felt like going – wherever looked interesting or potentially rich with greenery. Lucky for me, London eludes beautiful nature in it’s massive selection of parks. I went north to Regent’s Park. Regent’s Park includes London’s largest rose garden, Queen Mary’s Gardens, in London – unbeknownst to me at the time, the first few weeks of June supply the best blooms. I spent hours soaking in the smells of each freshly bloomed roses, enjoying the sculpture of the shrubbery, and appreciating every feature of the park; I took my time to fully appreciating where I was.

Next, as I ventured closer to Oxford Street, the hustle and bustle only increased. Big designer department stores lined Oxford for miles. I took the small walkways towards Oxford Street; small businesses set up next to these roads include many cute sidewalk restaurants. I continued my carefree day by window shopping and just trying on shoes for fun.

As I approached Hyde Park, passing the Marble Arch, traffic seemed non-stop and Fountains at Hyde Parkcrossing to get to the other side proved difficult but not too hard for me. Walking for miles on the paths of Hyde, which turned into Kensington Gardens, I found myself accidentally on the street which housed many of the numerous countries’ embassy’s. The street resembled a Greek Row of international houses.

I exited the bizarre looking street, seeing Rolls-Royce and other super expensive cars Notting Hillpassing by. Turning left, I made my way into Notting Hill – thank you Hollywood for acquainting me with London geography. I walked along the rich homes lining the streets for a bit and stopped at a store to grab some food and ate at Kensington Park on my way back to my hostel.

All in all, I made my way through London on foot, without once riding The Tube. Covering over 12 miles in at least 8 hours. I exhausted myself so much (including the past month of travel) that when I returned to my hostel I slept 24 hours straight!

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