Albert - Hyde Park - London JH

Arriving in London

It’s been a week or two since I recently traveled to London,England. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself. During the trip, I wrote. Here is a slice of the first day:

I landed in Heathrow airport early Wednesday morning. It was my fifth time at the airport but the first time to leave it.

Landing in London - Travel Adventures

Hello London. It’s so nice to finally meet you.

There is a certain thrill that comes with visiting another country. It’s difficult to capture, communicate or recreate in any other activity. Exploring is something that has been instilled in me since I was small. After organizing my excitement, I grabbed my bag off the carousel and went to look for my ride into town. Most of the time—when I travel in America— I prefer to be spontaneous and plan my transportation as a I go. But when traveling outside the U.S., I’ve quickly learned that I need to have all ducks in a row with backup ducks ready to go.

I pre-scheduled a ride from the airport to my hotel. I actually had one of those suited gentlemen waiting for me with my name on a sign—always wanted to be one of those people. He was from Kosovo, very professional and insisted upon snatching my bags from upon figuring out I was his fare. I felt official.

Car Ride - London

Mr. Driver led me to the car and opened the door for me on the left side of the vehicle. I thought it was odd that he wanted me to sit behind the drivers seat … wait, the wheel is on the right side of the vehicle … oh yeah, I am in the UK. For some reason, I only thought that was a thing in Australia. In school, geography and history were the subjects I paid the most attention to—but apparently not enough attention. Simple things, that I should know as an adult, continue to escape slash baffle and thrill me on my adventures.

Arrived at my hotel in Hyde Park

London Hotel 3 - Johnathan Haynes

I was immediately captivated by the architecture and atmosphere. It’s engrained into the identity of this country. Being in a new place heightens my curiosity . Everything become more noticeable and worth a closer look. Often times, I find myself looking at things I would normally cruise by and finding those things were worth the trouble.

The hotel room was simple, a place to keep my stuff. I settled my bags and rushed to get back outside and explore. Hyde Park was my first target. Normally I have pretty solid bearings and can navigate well, but it took me a minute to find my way around. Signs and just about everything else is slightly different in London, not difficult, just different. I got lost and ended up walking down a road with the Russian and Israeli embassies on it. Seeing guards with semi-automatic weapons is not a norm for me. I wanted to stare, but how long can you stare at someone whose holding a gun? No plans to find out.

Kensington Palace London 1

Hyde Park is huge! Everything about it was breathtaking. It took me a while to make way through the park grounds because I was too fully engaged in kid mode—trying to looking at  and capture everything. Even the squirrels look slightly different—in fact all of the animals, birds, dogs and everything in between looked familiar with a touch of foreign to me. The park was well manicured and vast. Sidebar: Actually, everything in the city—that I saw—was well taken care of … So many street sweepers, everywhere.  . I came across a house with a large gate with bronze finishings and a statue of William III. Immediately I searched for sign to read and find that this is the Kensington Palace. Official home of the Royal family. Cool.

Queen Vicotoria - London small

I kept walking and found Queen Vicotoria’s statute. At that point, it officially felt like I was walking through a history book at this time and I love that. I went by The Round Pond (which is more squarish than round) and head to the other end of the park. Walking up on the photo that’s featured on this blog was surreal. Subtly stunned. A massive monument in honor of Albert—Queen Victoria’s main man obviously.

The affect of 9+ hours of flying started to sink in and it was time for ime to trek back to food and the hotel. But my appetite to explore had only begun. I immediately planned to make Thursday the day I took the city. No true plans, maps or guides; just pack a bag and go. I had only been in London one day and the trip was already worth it.

Birds - London - Hyde Park JH

Enjoy the adventure.

 

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