Look, I’d be lying if I said the transit from Paris to London was easy and extremely manageable. I’ll level with you here, it wasn’t and I spent the entire 13 hours (that’s right, 13 hours) disorientated and confused as hell. At one point our bus boarded a boat and I slept on my pack on the floor of a P&O cruise for two hours- but that’s another story. Regardless, I arrived at Victoria Buckingham Palace Coach Station at four in the morning, completely bewildered and unwilling to figure out exactly where I was or where I needed to be. Instead of attempting to lug the 17kgs on my back, through the deserted dark streets of yet another foreign city, I hailed a taxi and sped towards my hostel.
After much confusion at the front desk (yes I know check- in is not until 2:00pm but can I please just sleep on your floor?), I was in a bed and on my way to sleep. The following day I was determined to cram every sight I could into just one morning, so as to allow myself the next three days to meet with friends, go out and drink. In one day I visited Brick Lane, the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square. If it wasn’t for London’s impeccable tube, navigating my way to these places would have been a lot more confusing than it turned out to be.
Although exhausted from the Paris transit and my full day of sight-seeing (seriously, seeing the sights genuinely takes it out of you), I returned to my hostel excited for the night ahead. I was planning on meeting with two friends from home and I could not have been more ready to see some familiar faces. Although at this point I had only been travelling for just over a week, I felt I could not endure another day of talking to strangers, and myself for that matter. (This was a feeling I would become accustomed to in the following weeks)
The next few days provided me with a new lease on life. Having worked in Sydney’s bars for close to four years and bearing witness to the monumental changes our nightlife has endured, it proved refreshing to witness a city still capable of a safe, inclusive, thriving nightlife. I spent the next three days with my friends experiencing all London has to offer in the way of live music, bars, clubs and festivals. Leaving London my heart ached for the friendships, new and old, that were staying behind but reverberated at the thought of experiencing yet another foreign city.