London Travels: Beginnings

I don’t usually blog about my personal life, but I felt it would be a good thing for me to write about my first time traveling in Europe. So far, it’s been quite tumultuous and I thought I’d share my experiences and thoughts with the world.

So a lot of things have been happening lately: I finished up my summer internship at Energy Aware, I’ve started to get paid for my writing (!!!), and currently I’m blogging from my hotel in London. LONDON. Life is a little crazy.

I departed on August 17th, and I first flew to Toronto, rushed really hard to catch my connecting flight to London, which ended up being delayed anyways. Weary and exhausted having already traveled a good 13-14 hours, my family and I were eager to grab our belongings and head to the hotel to crash upon landing in London.

HOWEVER, Air Canada most disappointingly lost my luggage. I have never had my luggage lost in transit before, and I was dismayed that I couldn’t have my belongings when I needed them most. They told us they’d most likely ship it within the day, so we begrudgingly headed to the hotel.

Observation #1: Everything in London is REALLY EXPENSIVE.

Proof: A burger and fries cost 18 pounds, which is around $30 CAD. What. Also, my cab fare from the airport to the hotel cost 55 pounds +tax, which equals $91 CAD. That is mind-blowingly expensive. That’s more than a day’s work at my part time job…


The cabs here look so old-school, I love it.

Observation #2: Drivers drive on the right side (so the passenger side in North America), and they keep to the left lane instead of the right (which you can see in the photo below). Reminds me immensely of Hong Kong, which would make sense since HK was a British Colony.


When we arrived at the hotel, it was around 10:30am, and we were told that we wouldn’t be able to get a room until 2:30pm. We were thoroughly exhausted almost to the point of delusion and we were not pleased… we basically stayed up all night until 8am in Vancouver time. Didn’t sleep for a full 24 hours.

I hadn’t pulled an all-nighter since 11th grade and needless to say, the sleepiness combined with the exhaustion from traveling, and annoyance from losing my luggage really turned things sour. We struggled to keep it together until 2:30, where then we passed out for 5 hours.

Later that night, we called it an night at 11pm, but it sort of backfired as it resulted in my brother and I waking up at 4am and not being able to go back to sleep. Since the luggage did NOT arrive within the day, I was forced to wear the clothes I had spent the entire day before traveling in, I had no toiletries at all, and I couldn’t even borrow anything from my mother as only the men in the family received the luggage. BUT, despite everything, after sleeping my mood improved and I felt better, especially after I came downstairs to this:


This, my friends, is a gourmet English breakfast buffet that I’ll get to enjoy every single morning for the next 9 days. How can one not cheer up upon discovering this? I’ve never seen such a full-service hotel breakfast before. Everything was so posh and fancy, I loved it.

We decided to go to the Kensington Palace for the day (today), and took public transit to get there. The public transit system is so much better here in London! We purchased our Oyster cards, depicted below, and I was excited because I love the Octopus cards in HK.


Kensington Palace is the home of Will and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The surrounding park was enormous, and really beautiful.



And of course the inside was gorgeous as well:




We ended off our day with a trip to Westfield, which is the most gigantic mall I have ever seen in my life. Seriously. We got through maybe 1/5th and we were tired already. Full of posh, designer shops and hot new restaurants.



Air Canada had told us that our luggage would be delivered by 1pm, but of course, it wasn’t. We waited till 6pm when FINALLY I spotted my luggage being rolled in and squealed in delight (no shame). It could have easily been the happiest moment of my trip thus far.

3rd and final observation of the day: Brits refer to the washroom as the “toilet”. It’s kind of awkward to say, “I’m going to the toilet!” in North America, but it’s very commonplace here. Also: “crisps” = chips, “chips” = fries, “macchiato” = a shot of espresso with a tiny drop of steamed milk, “cuppa” = cup of tea, “bollocks” (pretty self explanatory).


4 thoughts on “London Travels: Beginnings

  1. studentlondon3 says:

    London is crazy expensive – if you ever have another craving for a burger or fries I’d recommend meatmarket in Covent Garden or meatliquor around Oxford Street. Comparatively cheap and tasty. Also when it comes to cabs, find a number to prehire a taxi (Keen Cabs is pretty good) or use anycab to book online – they are ALWAYS cheaper than black cabs. Also if you really wanna fit in, you could say ‘I’m going to the loo’ haha!
    Have fun, looking forward to reading about some more of your trip to London town!

  2. utesmile says:

    It is lovely to read your observations, I think I had the same when I first came here. London is an expensive place to be and live. Obviously inner London even more so. I do have to say even after almost 30 years here in London I still have problems with some of the toilets here and the flushing. English toilets are tricky. ( this was referring to your next post really, I am reading it backwards.) Still I love London and wouldn’t swap it for anything else at the moment.

    • joyceyl says:

      I totally agree! I don’t know why all of them seem to be a bit tricky to operate. But the stalls usually look pretty nice. I do love this city though 🙂 everything is so elegant and efficient!

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