Back on Monday, October 5th, I decided to spend the day looking around London. I left the Grantly Hotel where I was staying that morning around 9AM after I ate a hearty breakfast there. I took the Underground three stops to the Queensway station on the Central Line from Shepherd's Bush which took me to the area they refer to as Hyde Park, which is one of the largest parks in London.
Since the forecast called for rain that day, I packed my umbrella just in case. It was a wise move on my part since shortly after I entered the park, it started raining. Luckily, it was on the light side so it was tolerable. I got to stroll around for a short time. I got to see the Kensington & Italian Gardens while I was there. If you like nature, this is a great place to relax & take in the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately I was pressed for time because I needed to get to a tour that was starting at 11AM that morning. After getting a taste of the park, I wound up getting back on the Underground to save time. I got back on at Lancaster Gate which was the next stop. I then took the train two more stops to Bond Street where I got off & transferred to the Jubilee Line which took me to Westminster. By doing so, I was within a short walk of the tour meeting spot, which was the Winston Churchill Statue in Parliament Square. When I got off the train, I got to see Big Ben. I then proceeded to the Statue where I saw a young man holding up an umbrella that said Free Tours of London. His name was Glenn Hodge. He asked me a few questions then we waited for others who were interested in the tour. After a short time, he rounded us up & he gave us an overview of what to expect. He said when he's done, you can decide if you want to join him for a few hours or do something else on this rainy day. I decided to stay with him. For that matter so did the other ten people who were there too. In retrospect, I'm glad I did. By doing so, I got to further my knowledge about London.
Glenn told us that he's from England. He enjoys sharing his knowledge that he has attained from doing extensive research. He told us that he doesn't get paid for his time. However he suggested that if we enjoyed his company & his knowledge that we should give him a donation for his time & efforts. As for what to give was up to us. In addition, he told us that if we wanted to join him after the tour for lunch at a pub we were all welcome to do so. If so, he would be able to get us a discount there.
We all proceeded to follow him around. It was a nice group of people. It consisted of a few young ladies from Brisbane, Australia, a couple named Edward & Karen who were Chinese & lived in Perth, Australia, a few guys from Poland & a young lady named Nadia who was from a small island in Africa called Mauritius. I was the only one from the United States. It was a diversified group which made it a more enjoyable experience.
|Statutes of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth|
|Free Tours of London Group Picture|
When the tour was over, most of us decided to join Glenn at Bar Soho. I wound up having a Great British beef burger that came along with chips aka fries. It should be noted that it did taste different than a burger here in the States. While I was eating there, I got to talk to most of these people who I was with. We had a good time getting know each other's backgrounds. In fact, Edward & Karen told me they were coming to NYC the following week so I did my best to guide them along. We exchanged contact information & I wrote them with ideas. In addition, I spent a lot of the tour talking to Nadia. She was very sweet, friendly & well traveled. She told me she was going to work for Nestle's in Switzerland for a year. Furthermore, she said she's working on getting her PHD at either Brown or Harvard. She was told to apply to those schools. She's a very intelligent young lady. We also exchanged contact information. I look forward to hearing about her future endeavors & accomplishments. When you travel, you never know what you're going to see or who you're going to meet. By taking this tour, I expanded my horizons immensely. After we got done eating, Nadia & I walked out together. She wound up taking a bus somewhere & I continued on to the nearest Underground station.
When I got on the train I headed towards Tower Hill where the London Tower Bridge was. Ironically I ran into some people on the train who were staying at the same hotel as me. Since I had some time I was able to help them out since they were not sure of themselves. They were from Iran but they lived in Germany they said. However they didn't really understand English well which made it difficult to communicate with them. We stayed together for a little while. Once we saw the London Tower Bridge up close, we parted ways. They said their children were hungry. As for me, I needed to get back to Kings Cross/St. Pancras train station because I was meeting my pal Sean MacDonald there at 5PM. I got there around 4:45PM. We were catching a train to Hitchin to see a football match if you will.
Stay tuned for a special post that will go into further detail regarding that.
Thank you for reading & following along.