Although London is only a hop and a skip away from Dublin I had only really visited it once before and a looooong time ago at that. Happy that I could get the chance to see everything again I crept out of Cologne early in the morning hopped on my flight at seven a.m. and arrived in London ten minutes later – don’t you just love times differences sometimes! After experiencing the joys of a jam packed stansted express train and the London tube at 8 o’clock in the morning it was delightful to drop my bag off at the hostel and leave again to explore. I didn’t actually get very far seeing as the natural history museum was located right on its doorstep. It made for some lovely wandering – I’d say the best thing about it is that its free, but some of the exhibits/fossils/models they have scattered around the halls are just gorgeous, and the Darwin exhibition… don’t even get me started. I dragged myself out after an hour or two slightly disappointed that the volcanoes and earthquakes zone was closed and headed up through Kensington gardens.

Just inside the natural history museum.

Ran into this big guy along the way.

Kensington gardens.

Saw this gorgeous bird keeping itself warm on such a windy day.

The quieter side of the lake.

This would be a gorgeous spot for a coffee in the Kensington gardens later in the year when its a little warmer!

While I’m not sure even photo editing can make it look lovely since it was such a grey morning, the park was large, with sprawling lawns, hundreds of dog walkers and thousands of tourists (I presumed here) clustered beside the pond feeding the millions of birds. Having avoided getting pooped on by a fat seagull and with a coffee in hand (it was reaaallly cold) walked down to the splendor of Buckingham Palace, where honestly the nicest thing was the view over the trees at the other London sights.

I adored the way this bird (Eurasian coot) was standing. It would almost look like a rock if it wasn’t for the ruffled feathers and webbed foot hiding under the water.

Just outside Buckingham Palace, hiding behind the fountain to avoid the many tourists milling around.

The London Eye seen over the treetops.

Although every taxi was the same make, the colours varied! Outside Charing cross.

At Trafalgar square, wondering why there was a giant blue cockerel statue, but then it is home to the national gallery (not in the image).


Lunch consisted of a bbq pork bun from a stand at covent garden, eaten while fending off more eager seagulls and pigeons but admiring the view and hodgepodge of greasy smells from the various market stalls. I toddled around a bit on the streets down to Victoria embankment having lost all sense of distance – I’ll use the fact that I’ve been living in such a small town for the last year as my excuse. Whatever it was I appreciated the extra distance because the sun appeared just as I reached the river and made for a beautiful stroll down to the London eye.

One of the reasons I enjoy walking around cities so much is that you often see something out of the corner of your eye that’s not quite obvious on the map or pinpointed as a tourist stop, and so I found this quieter side street.

I think this was Temple church. I was just delighted at this point because the sun came out, just look at those blue skies!

Looking along the Thames towards London eye.

The riverbank was such a lovely place to walk, despite the brownish waters of the river (used to that with the Liffey in Dublin!)

After admiring Big Ben and Westminister from afar and up slightly closer it was time for a short nap back at the hostel.





Although getting dark it was early enough for a quick trip to Tower Bridge and down the river to St. Pauls Cathedral.







Earlier I had scoped out the pages of wandertowonder to find the best places to eat and wasn’t let down when I dropped by Shoryu at Piccadilly Circus for some ramen. The gyoza were great (couldn’t resist the dumplings) but I honestly could have drowned myself in the ramen. I can’t remember the name of which one I got, it blew right out of my head from the warm kick of the spicy broth version. Since I was looking a proper bowl of ramen since Paris, this brought me right out of my cravings. Just delicious, which sums up my first day in London perfectly.