The first days in a new city, when traveling, are all about ‘Getting Your Bearings’.
I had taken a few ‘Google street view’ walks, virtually, around all the hotels in which I am staying, so I had a general lay of the land in Notting Hill. What I neglected to do, was take into account the 1. weight of my luggage, 2. time to reorient (jetlag, etc.), 3. actual distance to sites, and 4. time of day upon arrival.
When I arrived in London, I had a very aggressive itinerary – to say the least. I would post it here, but so many would say, “you are crazy, you’ll never get that all in”. But that’s what travel is about too – learning the lessons by even ‘failing’.
So I left Heathrow knowing I needed to get to Leicester (Lester) square before 4:30p to pick up my London Pass. On a side note, I would highly recommend anyone doing this and get a travel card (Oyster card) with it. One thing to note: The London Eye is NOT on this, but there are so many other sites and museums and deals that I think it is well worth the purchase.
I arrived at the Hotel Blue Bells around 4:20pm and there was NO WAY I was going to make my timeline, so I casually changed and freshened up to make a trip to the area where I would start my first day in London. I got rather lost, but did venture into Trafalgar Square and even checked off the National Portrait Gallery from my list (by the way, many of the galleries and museums are free and only ask for donation).
By this time (7pm), I was ready to head back to the hotel and find some good Pub fare – See The Prince Edward, London cuisine posts to come.
With so much that had happened a couple things I learned: pack less, no matter if you think you have, pack less than that. Also, try to adjust your sleeping on the plane (I fell asleep as soon as possible, which made my jetlag much less). Being over-prepared by doing your research will save you time and money – I still find this THE most helpful tip. Some more stories to come, stay tuned!