On foot: London.

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So, I went to London again. Yeah, I hated it last time, but I had a reason for going. I went to the Houses of Parliament, and saw a lot. This post is what I wrote in my Journal.

Day 1: The vessel

I woke up at 6:35am. I had breakfast at 7am. After a short day in college, I came home at 1pm, I then ate Lunch and began to pack. As the journey was one night, I only needed the bare essentials, these included:

  • Spare Underwear and Socks
  • Pyjamas 
  • Books
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Sweets and crisps

After picking up my Younger brother, then meeting my Mother by accident, I stayed at home with them until around ten past 4. I left home for Whiston Station, and got on the twenty past 4 train. As I got on the train, I met my friends from Politics who would also be going on the journey with me: Miss Zoe Pye, Croft, Brine and David (from the year above). Then my politics teacher came from the other carriage and found me, apparently he thought I was missing, and we eventually reached Liverpool Lime Street station.

As we didn’t have to meet up until half 5, we had time to kill. We split up, though myself and Croft stayed in the station and we both ordered meals from Burger King. After talking for a while, we met up with the rest of the crew, and boarded the 10 to 6 train to London Euston. As I have been on these trains before, I was used to it. The ride was around 2 hours, and relatively comfortable.

I was hesitant to return to London, due to a rough trip earlier in the year, as I had just had a panic attack, which was physically and mentally debilitating. However, due to working myself out of that rut, and my previous experiences on the Tube, I was alright.

After a few rides on the Tube, we reached Lancaster Gate Underground station and walked to our Hostel for the night. The walk was around 10 minutes. After going over the rules, and receiving Key cards, we made it to our rooms. This included getting lost in the complex corridors of the building! My room I shared with Brine, Croft and David. As a hostel, the accommodation wasn’t made to be 5 star, however, what we got was good enough, with the exception of the beds. I can take a thin mattress, but a blanket, and no quilt…Oh God.

We left our bags in our respective rooms and travelled into the famous parts of London. As the Tube was-well- the tube, inevitably, some of us couldn’t get on to Tube train, as was the case for me and Miss Goss, the Law Teacher (The trip was for Politics and Law Students), but we made it. We saw the Houses of Parliament, we walked along the South Bank, saw the London Eye, the Oxo Tower, I talked about how I would propose to a girl for marriage and we found our way to the city of London, the real city. Which you can learn about here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrObZ_HZZUc

After a whistle stop tour of London and it’s surrounding area, we returned to Lancaster Gate Station. Some people went to get takeaway food (which, as Mr Binns put it, was typical of Teenagers), though myself, Pye, Brine and David returned to the Hostel. Croft and the others soon followed and we went to Sleep.

Part 2: The event

We woke up at 6:15am, due to the alarm Liam set. Though, basically, we all were awake, as the sleep was not good, we were either frozen, or lukewarm. This was the case with all our rooms, due to faulty heating systems. However, after a few showers and packing our bags, we were a bit better. 

After a fairly quick breakfast, we got back to Lancaster gate station, and were denied entry to the tube, due to the tickets being off peak. I wasn’t upset by this, I was upset with the treatment by the Ticketmen at the station, and the attitude of commuters. Typical Londoner behaviour. Though it was early in the morning rush, so understandable. Since our tickets were all right (besides the off peak element) we were eventually let through. After a few stops and a line change, we passed Buckingham Palace, strolled through St James’ Park, went past Downing Street and walked through Whitehall, before eventually reaching The Houses of Parliament.

Security was strict. Though it was not as scary as the German guards at the Reichstag (I shall write about that another time). The group was split into Law and Politics (who I was with), We had a tour, and I stood inside the House of Commons and the House of Lords, fulfilling a goal in my life. We also tried to watch a Select commitee (who scrutinise legislation) but the meetings were all adjourned for PMQ’s. We decided to go to the Lobby, to ‘observe the MP in their natural habitat’, as I said to the group. We then were due to watch a debate.

The debates we watched were on the subjects of Gibraltar (My view: Spain, stahp) and Start up Loans. It was interesting to see these people do their jobs, and represent their respective Constituencies, as well as scrutinise the Cabinet. Debating is very much a game of Ping pong.

We watched the debate from a room located above the heads of these MP’s, through a glass wall (Which Tony Blair had installed due to flour bombs thrown at them in 2006). You don’t get to see us on Television. Sad. But at least I ate in the heart of the country’s cafe, and that was goood brownie!

Part 3: Enlightenment

After this, we journied to another place, on another tube ride. And the group split up, and we went to have us some free time, whilst Mr Binns went elsewhere. We were planning to find the Science Museum, but we instead walked to Harrods. Fun? Yes. Expensive? Oh my, yes. I did not buy anything whilst there, but my god, it was very expensive. pretty to look at though.

We regrouped and travelled to Oxford street. We resplit, I was with Mr Binns and David. We did not want to join the others in shopping and decided to go to find a chinese buffet. We happened to find Soho (but we avoided most of the more questionable parts of it). We found China town and went to a small, but friendly buffet ran by a nice Chinese family. It had a nice, calm, out of London atmosphere, with the windows covered in condensation, the sun set and the lights of China town shining in the blurred view we had.While returning to the station, we also walked through Carnaby street (decorated with Christmas) before regrouping and returning to the Tube station. I also saw the Queen’s theare where Carrie Fletcher was playing in Le Mis, I would have loved to meet her, but alas, what time I had in London was short.

We returned to Euston on the worst tube ride the rush hour could give us. I now know what it is to be a Londoner. As we reached the light again, we lost 3 people, Harvster (who was not on our train ride to Liverpool) Zoe and Adam! Oh my. We waited for them down there for a while, but we could not see them, there was talk of abandoning them, though they found there way. I hope Miss Pye doesn’t give me a heart attack like that again!!!

We soon were on the train back home to Liverpool. I sat next to screaming children on this ride, oh joy. But was able to block them out, as I listened to War of the worlds on my iPod, reading my book, as well as write the notes which would become this post.

After 2 hours next to screaming babies, I returned home, physically and mentally drained. I went home on a Taxi with my Uncle Niall and went straight to bed for an actual sleep. My advice: If avoidable, try not to stay awake for 17 hours non stop.

London was OK. Unlike the disastrous trip from August, I functioned fine. The Tube was as it was, and I have overcome my fear of it. I didn’t enjoy the hostel, as the sleep was appalling, and while it was not going to be 5 star accommodation, I expected a better quilt for my bed. If given the choice, I would have spent another £40 on top of the £95 on a Travelodge for the night. Will I return to London: We’ll see.

About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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