Today marks my first day in London. I arrived well-rested and after checking in to the hotel with Derek, our Tour Director, I had the day to myself. Since we have guided sightseeing tomorrow I decided to take an unstructured approach to the day and see where the sidewalks take me.
I started by walking down Waterloo Street. Our hotel here is very centrally located so it gave me quick access to some popular areas. There was a nice little park right down the street with a view of some local shops and the London Eye peeking out over the top.
From Waterloo Street, I had a quick 10-minute walk to the river Thames. I couldn’t help but stop by an open-air market that had lots of great-looking food. It was lunch time, so I went ahead and bought myself a great halloumi wrap from a Mediterranean food stand.
There seems to never be a dull moment walking along the Thames. In the time I spent there, I saw musicians, painters, dancers and other street performers. That mix plus the London Eye and a carousel gave it a really fun feel—there was really something for everyone to enjoy. One musician in particular caught my attention. She was singing in Italian and was very talented. The crowd grew so quickly I had to sneak my way to the front to get a picture.
From the Thames I couldn’t help but walk over towards Big Ben. It is iconic and immediately recognizable. I’ve seen it for years in pictures but it’s really special to see in person. Especially with Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey right next door.
To finish off my day of exploring, I took a quick walk around St. James park. The park covers 57 acres and is located in central London, right next to Buckingham Palace. It is surprising to see such so much green in the middle of such a large city, but it was a welcome change of pace. The park had a large lake in middle that leads to a view of the palace and some amazing flower gardens.
Tonight I will be meeting the up with the rest of the tour group and tomorrow will be our first day of guided sightseeing and we will be covering some of the most famous landmarks all over London.