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Published: July 12th 2013
Woke up shortly before we arrived in London and I thought this was the first flight that didn't have any turbulence so for a person who is always looking for signs this was a good one. Exiting the plane in Gatwick airport was familiar as I had been in Gatwick more times than any airport besides Pearson. I put down that I was only in the UK for one day on my customs declaration so I was expecting hard questions but no, I was almost waved through so I guess I have been to the UK enough times to be trusted.
After that I waited for my luggage and once again the one thing I wanted most in an airport for my luggage to come out first still did not happen, oh well maybe next time. I took the Gatwick express to Victoria station and checked my Oyster card and found I still had some money on it. I was so familiar with the London Tube system by this point I didn't even bother getting a transit map so I really felt like a native. The messages of "Mind The Gap" seemed strangely comforting.
Stepping out of the Tube
Victoria Line Tube
People don't smile at each other on the Tube :)
I walked towards my hostel Clink78 which was just 5 minute from Kings Cross Station. London is always a busy place especially around Kings Cross. There is always fellow travelers like myself pulling luggage and I always find it interesting listening to the various languages being spoken as I walk around. Heading towards Clink78 I wondered what kind of people I would meet when I got there. I stay at hostels because you get to meet interesting people from all over but this hostel would be different because it would be mostly people about to start their tours. A few minutes of walking got me to the old court house which was Clink78.
First impressions of Clink78 was that it had a clean reception and had interesting design to it. The staff did not impress me as they had a happen of ignoring guests that were standing there and kept talking to each other. Finally they got to me and informed me that I had been upgraded to a 8 bed room so that was nice. I was a bit early and I could not check in yet so I dumped my luggage in storage and decided to do
a walkabout. London is always a interesting place to wander about and I never tire of it. I also checked around to see what bars and restaurants were around the hostel for the meetup I had planned for some of my bus mates. I got back to the hostel shortly before 2PM and checked in and went to my room and found no one else there so I assumed my roommates would arrive later. I took my netbook downstairs and sat down at reception to type a few messages to say I had arrived safely. I chatted with a few other topdeck travelers and found out there were a few tours leaving the next day. Before I had left on this trip I chatted with a few people for a pre tour meetup and I was wondering which person I would see first. I did a little walk around the hostel and ended up in the old court room where there was a TV. There were a few other people in the room but I was too nervous at this point to start a conversation as I normally would. As it turns out the first of my bus mates was
My First Group was Wicked
Me, Rachael, Amanda, Kelly, Romy
in that room. Romy who was the youngest person on our tour was sitting there. I would talk to her later on once 3PM rolled around.
The time had arrived and the first of my bus mates I met was Rachael. I recognized Rachael from the Topdeck Meet site and I was expecting her friend Bunny to be with her. I will explain Bunny at a later time thought. Next person I met was Kelly (England) who I had chatted with earlier in that week. My first impressions of Kelly was an attractive English woman who seemed much more mature than her age would suggest. I was impressed by her intense look she seemed to give people. At this point I will mention that I will not give a description of everyone on the coach, just some people. Shortly afterwards we were joined by Rachael (Australia), Amanda (Australia) and Romy (Australia). Through Rachael I found out Bunny was actually her lindt stuffed rabbit she carries around on trips. My first impression of Amanda was that she was tall and seemed like quite a nice person and I remember her smile the most, which was always so playful. Romy as
My private room for the night
I said was the youngest member of our bus but I was impressed that she would do this trip alone at her age and she was such a sweetheart. I was expecting at least one more person to join us so we waited past 3PM but eventually we went to a bar across the street to chat. We had a drink at the bar and we talked about everything under the sun. After we were done drinking I suggested we see a theatre show that night.
I was planning to see Wicked during the trip so we decided on that. Getting back to the hostel we ran into Caitlin (Australia) who we just missed because she arrived at the hostel just as we were leaving. We bought our tickets from the ticket seller that was at the hostel and at 7:30PM we were at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. I really liked Wicked and the ladies enjoyed it as well and some of them may have actually shed a tear during the show. I won't spoil the story line but it is true to the original story just a different interpretation on the back story.
When we got back to the hostel I decided to call it a night and went back to my room and found it still empty. As it turned out there was no one else in my room that night. It is the first time I have ever had a hostel room of any size to myself. Felt kinda lonely sleeping that night but I still managed to get some sleep and rigged my watch and cellphone to wake me up at 5:30AM.
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