After freshening up at the B&B for an hour, Baba, Julianna, and I took the local bus to Stansted airport, where we caught the Stansted Express train: the Abellio Greater Anglia. The commuter train took us to Liverpool Street Station, where we transferred to the London Underground, on the Central Line. Liverpool Street Station has a sort of Gothic style to it. It was between five and six when we went through so we caught the rush hour traffic. There were people jetting in all directions. It was hard to not to lose yourself in the sea of people going to their prospective platforms.
Riding the tube was a unique experience: the rush of the subway as it passes by, the announcer reminding all to “mind the gap”, and everyone cramming through the subway doors, trying to find a spot to sit or stand. While riding the tube, you can hear an orchestra of hushed voices in more languages than you can name and the constant whir of the rails. The windows at the front and back of the cars open for ventilation.
At Bank Station, we transferred to the Waterloo Line and rode on it until Waterloo Station. We ran to the London Eye, arriving just in time for our reservation at seven, and missing the 4D Experience. At this point we had realized we had saved absolutely no money coming to London first. For me, it was worth it. I fell in love with the city.
London, to me, is like a patchwork quilt. Passing by on the Abellio Greater Anglia you could see so many different things, old and new, broken and fixed, clean and dirty. London has seen so many incredible things, and it shows.
We hopped into our little pod on the London Eye with a few other people and looked out the window onto the River Thames. They didn’t pack the pod tightly so there was ample room to look out or sit on the central bench. In the half hour rotation, we saw so much of London: Parliament with Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and all the parks nestled all over the city. The River Thames below had many passengers on its murky water. The clouds were high in the sky and we could see everything; it wasn’t foggy. The air was warm.
After the ride was done, we strolled down the Queen’s Walk, near Westminster Bridge, looking for a place to feed our empty stomachs. We finally stumbled upon the Slug and Lettuce, just a street or so off the river. I chose the beef pie with chips and gravy, served with mashed peas on the side (a standard at every place we dined). Our dinner served its purpose well. It had been a long day and no time was spared getting back to the B&B. The train ride home was a long one, but the lull of the car could put a person to sleep. We slept solidly in our beds that night.