So it’s been almost a week since I came home from London and I thought I’d share my experiences. The trip was everything I could have wished for and more. But my first thoughts arriving in the big city was “what the hell am I doing? I’m going to be alone here for four days?!” and there were so many people and the city was so busy and I felt completely alone and overwhelmed.
I was worried about not only having to ask for directions (I hate doing that, I’m terrible at understanding maps and such) and managing everything by myself without any misfortunes but also to experience all the fun things London has to offer and not having anyone to share them with.
However being alone was a feeling I came to accept and eventually really like just the same evening I arrived when I was travelling to Camden.
Since I’ve been to London before I already had an Oyster card (a card used for paying on the Underground and buses) and knew how to top it up so getting around the tube was no biggie. Also London’s subway map is so easy to read, a child could understand it.
Camden was busy, this was a Sunday and both tourists and locals were fighting over the little space there is between the stalls and street food at the lock market, but the weather was nice and even though I was tired from taking an early flight I didn’t mind.
I love walking around Camden and visit the little boutiques with up and coming designers and find unique treasures. I bought two crop tops from a girl with a blue side cut who had designed and printed them herself.
The next day I was anxious to get to the Victoria and Albert museum as soon as they opened. I’ve been to the museum before but ranging from March to August this year they have a special exhibition with the late Scottish designer Alexander McQueen and I really wanted to see it. When I arrived I learned that half of London had the same plans. I had have the unfortunate to arrive to the museum on a bank holiday and the queue to buy tickets ranged a long way out on the street outside. Now if I had still been home in Sweden, standing in line for two hours hadn’t been such a big deal when you’ve got a smartphone with unlimited 4G. But here I was left with a phone being reduced to nothing more than an expensive calculator so I was forced to talk to people just so I didn’t die out of boredom since I have zero patience.
The exhibition turned out to be one of the greatest ones I’ve been to in a long time. The works of McQueen were incredible to say the least and the way they displayed them set them in a new light. Now sadly you weren’t allowed to take pictures inside so you just have to take my word for it. The tickets were a bit on the pricey side though at 17£ but I really think it was worth paying for.
Later that day I decided to have lunch and I had no idea where to go. I couldn’t imagine going to a restaurant by myself, order in food and then sit there alone at a table for two. It all felt so sad. What I did instead, and ended up doing my whole stay, was buying take out. Mostly from Wasabi, a Japanese fast food sushi chain, and bringing it with me to Hyde Park to enjoy.
I also did something I’d never thought I would dare to do, I hired a bike. Now I’m like a living traffic hazard back home and I have problems following the traffic rules in a city of less than 300 000 people, was hiring a bike in a city with almost the same population as my whole home country really a good idea?
Turns out biking in London wasn’t that scary. Except that I had to get used to being on the wrong side of the road and having to stop for red lights every second, it wasn’t that hard. Taxis and buses politely lets you through and there is a mutual respect for all the commuters. Hiring a bike costs 2£ for 24 hours and they are stationed around every Underground station.
On my third day in London I had the idea of visiting Oxford Street early in the morning before all shops open and all hell break loose with tourists overflowing the area. My first stop were budget heaven Primark which opens at eight and I then worked my way along to Pickadilly. This time around I skipped Harrods and Selfridges and focused on the more wallet friendly shops like Forever 21, River Island and New Look.
One of the things I had dreaded travelling alone and staying in a dorm room was to go to bed. I had been to summer camp and overnight school trips before but back then you were younger and not as afraid of being robbed or having awkward encounters. But my fear was completely unnecessary and I ended up getting to know the girls who came and went during my stay and all of them were so nice and it was a lot fun to talk to them and hear about their plans and travels. Now I almost can’t imagine travelling in another way the next time I’m doing a solo trip and I would really recommend others to try it.
Other things I did during my stay was crossing the Millennium Bridge and seeing the Shakespeare Globe, visiting the Childhood Museum and saw their Alice in Wonderland exhibition, had Chipotle (yay they have it in the UK too!) with one of my roommates and walked around Kensington Palace and gardens. I wished I had booked a longer stay, the days went by way too fast.
This whole trip was amazing and I can’t wait to go travelling alone some more. Next time I’m thinking Berlin maybe?