Sunday, July 13th, 2014
03.07.2014 - 13.07.2014
As I was taking my breakfast, I read (again) the London guide to find what I could do in my last morning/early afternoon in London. I thought it would be interesting to the changing the guard ceremony by Buckingham palace at 10 AM. So I ate breakfast and headed out of the apartment after taking a picture of the beautiful place I ate breakfast at every morning this week.
This was when the ordeal started because I realized that I literally could not walk straight. 7 days of walking every day 10 to 12 hours made my leg muscles so sore and painful, I was walking slowly and pretty much like a duck. Even though I had just woken up, I could already feel my exhaustion. However, I was very motivated to see all I could in the short time I had left. It was 10 to 10 when I walked on the Hungerford bridge to go to St James park. I will never make it, I thought. Adding to my inability to walk, I realized there was a marathon event happening in London as all Victoria Embankment Road was closed. I had difficulties finding another way to go to the park as all the main roads were not operational.
As I somehow made it to Lancaster Place and Strand Street, I gave up on going to the Palace and watched the runners instead, while slowly making my way to St James Park. I arrived there at 10:30, and luckily, the horses were just coming with the guards.
I followed them as fast as I could, which clearly was not fast enough. Ten minutes later, the guards were changed and people were leaving the area. I walked through St James park and decided to sit on the first bench I could find. I was happy that I made it anyway and saw more than I thought I would. I rewarded myself with water and chocolate and just sat there, looking at the blue sky, the trees, the tourists who apparently just made it to London (and I was jealous of them) and of course, the pigeons, ducks and squirrels. As I was starting to walk back to the London Eye, I heard some music from far away and found myself with the burning desire to leave the park but also to inquire the source of the music. I took a deep breathe and mustered all bravery in me and headed towards the music. I ended up by the Horse Guards Museum. Apparently, the changing the guard ceremony did not end as there were other guards playing music and preparing themselves to head towards the Palace.
To make sure the ceremony ended, I waited until most tourists left the area, and then, I really walked away from the park. It was almost noon already and somehow, I was hungry again. I walked to Belvedere Road and considered the wide choice of restaurants there. I finally chose to go to an italian restaurant called Cucina. I ordered a Penne Con Pollo, which was delicious and of generous proportion.
I proceeded to walk back to the beautiful Jubilee Gardens and the London Eye.
When I arrived to Westminster Bridge, I found a small path underneath the bridge. Usually, I always take the stairs up the street, but some music caught my attention, and I ventured in the small tunnel. I ended up in a beautiful walking path where I could see even better the Houses of Parliament.
I sat there for about an hour. It was almost time for me to head back home to take my luggages and go to the airport, but I just could not leave the bench I was sitting on. The weather was perfect, the view was perfect, even the smell of trees and water was perfect. I was trying to use all my senses to capture the moment in my soul forever, but time was going by, and I had to leave eventually. I kept looking back every few meters and mentally saying goodbye. Goodbye Big Ben, goodbye Jubilee Walk, goodbye London Eye, goodbye Waterloo road… Leaving felt unreal. Such an amazing trip could not be over!
But it was. I grabbed my luggages, went to Waterloo station, took the Jubilee Line to Green Park station and then the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Airport. As soon as I got to the underground, I felt like I left London already, or London was leaving me, and I was mentally calling the city "Don't go! Don't leave me!" But it was gone. I was gone. And all I have now is the memories of one of the best trips I ever had. Not only am I grateful for the adventure, but I am also grateful to have realized that what I really want to do with my life is earn money in order to travel. I do not care about careers and 9 to 5 jobs, I just want to make some money and conquer the world.
I was not yet in the airport when I started daydreaming about my next vacations. I really want to go to Ireland, which has been a dream of mine since I was 14. Who knows, life may lead me there some day. But for now, I am at the airport, looking at all the world's conquerors rushing to their gates and wondering what else the world has to offer.