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31 Days of Traveling to Europe: Day 9 - Our First Day in London

One of my favorite features on the exterior of St. Matthew's Church

We finally arrived in London! We were at Heathrow airport and decided the best way to get to our hotel in Notting Hill was to take the Heathrow Express train on the "Tube". We asked a very nice transit agent for some advice and he told us about the Oyster card.

It is a smartcard that can be used instead of paper tickets. All it takes is a 5 pound deposit and a few pounds more to put on the card and you are ready to go. The thing that was amazing to me is that they refund whatever money you have left on it and give you back your deposit once you turn in the card.

The train gave me my first glimpses of London, running behind the buildings full of flats. Once we got to our stop, we made our way to street level, rather precariously hauling our suitcases up steep flights of stairs. So far London looked like I had imagined but I wasn't expecting the reality of our hotel. Don't get me wrong, it was very nice and the staff was always very friendly. However, it may have been the smallest hotel room I've ever been in. After dragging our suitcases up several flights of stairs (a lift was evidently a modern convenience), we opened the door to a room that barely had enough room for two twin beds.

After we shook off our shock, we hit the streets of Notting Hill to find a pay phone to call our tour company for the next day's pick up point. You would think those charming phone booths would be easy to find but they proved problematic. We did finally find one but shortly after I uttered a few short sentences, the phone cut me off. Thankfully the hotel clerk took pity on us and helped us make arrangements for our tour.

With that off our minds, we hit the streets again and found our way to Kensington Gardens. After walking around the park and snapping a few photos of William and Kate's new home, we set out to check one thing off our to-do list - eat some fish and chips. We found a place called Cafe Diana, which was frequented by Princess Diana. Here we had a delicious serving of the quintessential London meal.

A great first day in London!

Kensington Gardens

 Kensington Palace


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