I arrived in London around 9:30AM, roughly two hours later than scheduled due to plane maintenance issues in San Francisco. I rode the Underground from Heathrow to central London, successfully located the hostel, dropped off my big pack around 11, and then wandered to the British Museum which is only a stone’s throw away from the Hostel’s front door.
The museum is completely and utterly overwhelming. Just walking through the front doors makes you realize just how small you are, and the incredible level of detail and sheer mass attributed to each and every exhibit is enough to keep a person interested for days on end. I, however, got hungry an hour or so into wandering around the museum and ventured outwards to find something more affordable than museum cafe food.
I stumbled upon a Hummus place a few blocks away from the museum which didn’t taste particularly good, but for £10, I got a large bowl of hummus, falafel, guacamole, two medium pitas, a drink, and free wifi. I suspect that that meal, however bland, will keep me full for many hours to come.
Afterwards, I ventured off to find Big Ben. I wandered off towards the general direction of the River Thames and stopped at a few places along the way, namely Whitehall Gardens that had beautiful tulips and other colorful flowers artfully arranged around various statues.
Big Ben is really as big as they say it is. It is indeed a very large clock, and I don’t really know why I was surprised that it was so big. I guess in my head I sort of pictured something similar to the width and depth of Berkeley’s campanile, but I was incredibly mistaken.
I wandered around the area and considered getting a ride on the London Eye, but instead stopped to watch a bag piper play ACDC. It was around this time when it began to hail large bits of ice. It was not fun.
No more than 10 minutes later, it was sunny and warm. I walked through St James Park with the warmth of the sun on my face only to be pelted again with hail by the time I reached Buckingham palace. This was also around the time that I realized that many of the public bathrooms in London cost money to enter, and a bathroom attendant took pity on me and my stupid American ass for only carrying Euros and USD and let me into the bathroom for free. Not all heroes wear capes.