Mediterranean laziness, part one: London
Yes, the title is slightly misleading: London is not in the Mediterranean. But London was both the start and end point of the trip. Before we embarked on a difficult time of lazing around various mediterranean ports and boats in the sun, Kate, our mother, Gavin and I spent a few June days in the capital of the mighty United Kingdom.
Due to not having a DSLR of some type, I took all photos with my Pentax ME and rolls of Portra 160 film. Due to a problem with the shutter jamming open every now and then, some of the images have light leaks over them.
The hardest part was actually getting through immigration at Heathrow. The guy I presented my immigration slip to on the way out was not convinced that I was there with innocent intentions. He questioned why I only had 130 pounds on me for two weeks (I have more in the bank but I’m going to be on a ship most of that time anyway), what the name of the ship is (I have no idea), copies of my hotel reservations (nope, just a text from my mother with the name of the hotel), and whether I had been to the UK before (yes), and commented that there was no record of me having been to the UK before as every page in my passport was blank (it was two days old). When he rang the hotel to confirm my reservation (which had been made by my mother) none of my other family members had even turned up yet. He said he needed confirmation from them, and when I said I can’t make calls on my phone due to no international roaming, he merely replied that they had no phones available there to use. The dude was staunch. He really didn’t want to let me in. All I could do was use their wi-fi to message my mother and sister on facebook – knowing they wouldn’t have been online yet if they hadn’t checked into the hotel, and they both barely use facebook anyway – and wait for one of them to reply, which could take all night. I then sat there for about half an hour until the dude, evidently bored of waiting and realising nothing was going to happen, let me through with an air of disdain and stamp that said no re-entry for six months from departure. And a warning that I am not to work whilst there. Damn. Not allowed to work. That’s upsetting.
We stayed in Aldgate and did a few of the typical touristy sight-seeing things, mainly for our mother’s benefit – walked over Tower Bridge, stood out the front of Buckingham Palace, walked past Big Ben and the London Eye, stopped at Piccadilly Circus. Had some good fish and chips at The Dickens Inn (for my benefit). We rode through the underground a fair bit, which is always fun. We mainly hung out and took it easy. We didn’t try to cram too many things into one day, or see too many tourist attractions.
The weather was perfect, although the British consider 26 degrees a heatwave. There were places I wanted to revisit that I didn’t get time to revisit, but that’s how it goes.
On our last morning, before catching the bus from Waterloo station to Southampton, where our boat was to depart from, we walked to Shoreditch to do our laundry. Shoreditch is the suburb I stayed in last time I was in London, back in 2012. It was good to be back in Shoreditch, and it’s probably where I would like to stay again next time I am in London.
Stay tuned for the next instalment: Gibraltar.
x Kitten of Doom