One aspect of travel is the broadening of the mind, learning through new experiences in new locations. But one thing which always amazes me, is the discovery of something new about a place you thought you were already familiar with. My weekend in London did just that.
My weekend started when I checked in to the Tower Bridge, a massive, modern hotel situated next to the tower bridge, and with a Starbucks next door the location was perfect! There’s nothing more enjoyable than a room with a view and we received just that, with a fantastic view looking out onto the Thames. But what made this hotel stand out was the friendliness of the staff, a kind receptionist who after seeing we were being checked into a room without a view, instead upgraded us to a room with a view and a brilliant one of that! Later that evening we decided to dine at one of my favourite restaurant’s, one which never ceases to amaze me each time I visit. Shaka Zula is an African restaurant in Camden. My first time I visited I had Zebra steak and tried a slice of Springbok. This time I went all out with Ostrich steak and Crocodile spring rolls, a culinary masterpiece. Ostrich is one of the tastiest things I’ve tried in some time and one which I can guarantee I will have again. What makes this place even more magical other than the exotic menu is also that of the atmosphere. Divided between two floors is an exciting and energetic world, with snake charmers, fire dancers and acrobats all under one roof.
The main reason why I was staying in London was for a late performance of ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night time’ at the Apollo theatre on the Saturday. So during the day we wanted to keep out spending to a minimal, with free attractions only on the list. It amazed me how many free things there are to do in London, keeping the cost of visiting the city to a minimum. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/england/london/travel-tips-and-articles/76482
We started the day off with an early brunch at Starbucks, it was here sitting outside looking out onto the Thames whilst surrounded by foreign tourists with their travel guides (mostly Lonely Planets) where I had this excited feeling. The feeling that you only experience when your in a new location, a feeling of discovery. It made me realise that I was seeing London in different light, as if through different eyes. I wasn’t visiting for a day I was instead sightseeing- and new sights I did see. After brunch we strolled down by the Thames all the way to the Tate museum, walking gave me an opportunity to cross the Tower Bridge but also allowed me to see much more of London and the sights down by the river. After the Tate we hopped onto the tube to Westminster, where I saw close up Big Ben and the House of Parliament. Another first for me! It was much to busy to hang around so we continued on our journey to the British Museum. here we checked out the Mummies and ancient Greek artefacts. It amazes me how much the Egyptians mummified the dead, I didn’t know until that Saturday that they used to mummify small animals. Another new discovery on my part!
Spending the weekend in London gave me more time to sit back and think, how well do you really know somewhere? In a different situation you can discover much more about a place, which you thought you already knew. This was shown through the fact, that as I had more time to spare, I had the opportunity to stoll along by the Thames. It was while strolling that I came across many restaurants and quaint looking pubs which on a nice sunny day would make an enjoyable afternoon.
But this weekend got me thinking. Maybe we should take the time just to sit back and to look, and really take in our surroundings. Many small things often get overlooked in life, and its often the small things which can make the happiest of memories.