Day 4: A Long Day’s Journey

Since the previous night was my last at the Walrus, I had to take the Tube across town to check into a new hostel in London. Good God was it a long trek. I am really going to miss the friendly confines of the Walrus and the convenience of being so close to all the major attractions. After dropping off my bags and realizing I had accomplished much of my goals as far as sights are concerned, I had no idea how to spend my last full day in London. I wandered around most of the day, even through the London ghetto (I totally fit in by the way with my khaki shorts and unfashionable American Goodwill clothes!). After doing all that walking around and seeing some underwhelming museums, I missed my friends from the Walrus that I had grown close to over the course of the last few days. Luckily, I stumbled across something that could make the day memorable, which turned out to be the Borough Market. This market is home to the greatest assortment of food that I have ever seen in my short life and even better than dare I say it, the West Side Market in my hometown Cleveland (I know, that statement is probably sacrilegious but you would understand if you stepped foot into this bountiful display of goodies). The smells that wafted into the air and sights of fresh produce stacked gloriously together would send any foodie or, hell, a fast food fiend to heaven. The overwhelming aroma from raclette cheese drove my nose mad with delight while the sight of meringues the size of softballs gave me a toothache just by looking at them. After devouring a falafel wrap and a helping of Bombay paella with mussels (which was scooped up from a paellera pan that had to be at least 5 feet in diameter), I made the long journey back to my compact prison cell they call a hostel room. Upon entering the room, I struck up a conversation with two Dutch guys who were about my age. I had plans to meet my friends from the Walrus but my phone could not download the app necessary to communicate with them by message. Seeing how I did not want to stay in the room the whole night waiting for a response from them through Facebook, I joined the guys for a walk around town. We ended up getting a couple beers a piece from a nearby market and sat by the Thames River drinking our brews while watching the sun set with Big Ben in our sights. The time there was not wild by any means but it was rewarding just talking to these mates from Holland while sharing how different our lives are culturally. Since they spoke such good English (I feel pathetic only knowing one language; Americans are spoiled to a fault) we were able to connect seamlessly. If you are ever in London, sit back near the Thames with the sun setting as Big Ben lights up and chimes on the hour. As great as seeing the Queen was, I don’t think I could have found a more London experience than this (just a bit touristy, yet truly authentic). After consuming our beers, I suggested to them that we should check out the Walrus bar since it has relatively cheap beer and is nearby. Upon sitting down with a pint a piece, I wandered over to a table with a few girls who turned out to be French and had my new mates join me. It was at times a struggle to communicate across that language barrier but that challenge is rewarding in itself. By pure chance I saw my boy Will in the bar as well as my friend Jessica. After missing them during the day, we were finally reunited against all odds and I got to introduce them to my new Dutch and French friends. To say that I got the best of both worlds is an understatement. Even though at the time I was disappointed I could not connect with Jessica and Will, it turned out to be a blessing as I gained some new friends along the way. The night turned out to be my best in London!

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