I made it back to Edinburgh from Fort William safe and sound. It took me a little while to get to the right bus because my bus app was confusing me. One of the train workers asked me if I needed help. He tried to point me in the right direction. It was a good enough direction.
It was a very late night. I got to bed around 2:30 a.m. My alarm was set for 5:15 a.m. There wasn’t much sleep to be had, but much like the night before where I was roaming from Glasgow to Fort William, this train ride would be a long one as well. My mind was racing, but I finally fell asleep and got a couple hours of shut-eye.
WAKING UP FROM HARDLY ANY SLEEP
My alarm went off. I stayed in bed for a few minutes and watched the highlights from the Astros game against the Rangers. The time difference allowed me to wake up to the final scores. I finally got around, hopped the 22 bus to the Waverly Station, grabbed coffee and an almond croissant and got on the train. Interestingly enough, when I walked into the train station, I ran into the same train station worker. He looked at me as if I was still lost. Pretty funny. I shook his hand, thanked him again, and we had a parting laugh.
I was pretty perturbed by the Virgin Train because it didn’t provide free Wi-Fi. Pretty ridiculous. During the five-hour train ride, I mostly slept.
MAKING THE VIRGIN TRAIN TO LONDON
Our train arrived to St. Pancras Station. When I walked out, I was amazed by the station. It was incredible. I then went back inside to try to find a map since I wasn’t getting reception on my phone. The only map was a train and bus map, but one of them did show the Thames River, and that was all I needed. I began my trek.
Since I only had about six hours to spend in London, I didn’t have too much on my plate to do, except visit the Imperial War Museum and Westminster. I was hoping to meet up with my friend Alan Wakim from Houston and/or Sean Gallagher, who I used to work for and now lives in London. I got to see neither, but I got to see London, and that’s what’s important.
I photographed a You-Are-Here map and made my way toward Westminster.
I came across the Covent Garden area and took a number of photos. There were a lot of shops and I took the time to go into one in particular: The East India Company.
I had read about it so many times in history books and saw it mentioned numerous times in Sherlock Holmes mysteries that I had to go in.
I then scampered onward to the Thames. I finally reached it and followed it, running past statues and famous buildings, including Whitehall.
I also got to see some of the Imperial Guards, at least they seemed Imperial. I then made my way toward Westminster.
I reached the backend of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben. I was stunned at its beauty. Absolutely stunned. I took so many pictures and videos. It was massive and yet so ornate. I am still trying to wrap my head around how spectacular it was.
I then walked around the square and took photos of old churches and statues, including the great Winston Churchill. Speaking of Winston Churchill, it was time to head toward the Imperial War Museum.
I also got relatively close to Buckingham Palace. Very relative.
ON TO THE WAR MUSEUM
I walked across the Westminster Bridge and got a full view of the Palace of Westminster (and realized a lot of it was under renovation with scaffolding and tarps, just my luck), as well as the London Eye, which is the big Ferris wheel.
As I kept walking, I knew it was time to get a bite to eat. I knew I didn’t have a ton of time, but I started feeling a bit lightheaded.
I stopped in at a pub called The Three Stags and grabbed a delicious roast beef sandwich with really thick beef slices and a beer. I was right across the street from the War Museum. I finished my meal and ran across the street.
Greeting me on my way in were two massive cannons. A very proper introduction.
Unfortunately, I was against the clock. I practically ran through the museum. I took a ton of photos. I knew there wasn’t a lot of time, and even less time since I wanted to grab souvenirs before I left.
I went through World War I and II exhibits, all at a rapid pace. I then scurried to the gift shop and grabbed a number of souvenirs.
HEADING BACK TO WESTMINSTER
When I was walking through the Covent Gardens area, I ran across a museum that had a James Bond exhibition called Bond in Motion. There was no way I was missing that.
I ran back toward Westminster, which was quite a ways and then began my search for where the museum was. I couldn’t gather my bearings very well. I asked a doorman to point me in the right direction. He did, I followed his directions and made my way to the Bond exhibit. I walked inside, but they were closed for a private party. I could see the Aston Martin from the movie From Russia With Love and asked if I could at least go see it and take a photo. I wasn’t allowed. I wanted to push the guy aside, run down the steps, snap a photo, and sprint back up and out. But I didn’t. I just walked around the gift shop and grabbed a Goldfinger coffee mug.
Now that all that I could do for the six hours was up, I had to make my way back to the train station and then to the airport. If only I had known how far away the airport actually was. But that’s for the next post.