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 crossing 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 passing 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!