While my friends work all day, I set out to see all the sights of London. I always find it a hard struggle between not wanting to be the typical tourist, but also wanting to see the big highlights everyone’s been talking about. I’d really just be happy if I saw the Spice Girls on a red double decker tour bus, that’s all.
It’s still cold and rainy and for the first time in a long time, I have to sport closed-toe shoes, a big hoodie, a hat and a scarf, but the fresh air on my face while I walk briskly all over London feels nice. I start by heading to the Hummingbird Bakery in Portobello market, which was recommended to me by Dani and Matt for the best carrot cake cupcakes. I take a bite and my knees actually go weak as I let out a moan, I don’t even care as this continues while I walk the streets. It’s that good.
Notting Hill surrounds this quaint little market area, and it looks exactly as it does it the movies, so I continue on with a busy day ahead. I make it back down to the London Bridges and head across to the other side of the Thames River and find myself wondering through graffiti ridden walls and bridges, cluttered with skateboarders. I love it. I feel like I stumbled upon something interesting and cool, so I wonder around, take some pictures and do some people watching. Turns out I was around Waterloo Station.
I head across the Thames again making my way closer and closer to Big Ben. There is a busker playing some Caribbean tunes, so I stop close to him in order to take my pictures of the London Eye and Big Ben while enjoying the tunes. I find a mother and daughter trying to take selfies, so I offer to take their photo, knowing they will then take mine in return, Genius.
I toss a quid into the buskers case and make my way over to Big Ben. It’s pretty impressive, so I stand and take a bunch of photos, but eventually the crowds turn me off, and I head for my next destination, Buckingham Palace.
I’m pretty excited to see the big palace, ground zero for so many historical events, and I also remember it from Spice World, so maybe I’ll catch the girls there. When I get around to the front I’m rather disappointed to be honest. There were just a bunch of tourists and school groups taking their photos and once you’ve seen it in the movies or on the news. It’s really not a big deal in person. That’s the sort of the feeling I had about most of the big sights you are supposed to see, but at the same time, how can you miss them?
My favourite part of the day was definitely discovering the graffiti and skate boarders, it was just something interesting that I didn’t expect to see, and I wouldn’t have found it had I not set out to see the big highlights. Sometimes it really is about the journey.
Do you enjoy visiting the typical tourist spots or venturing off the beaten path?
Also, be sure to check out Allie’s last post in her Adventures With Allie G series.
This post was written by Allie G who is an adventure traveller, cultural enthusiast and sustainable tourism activist.