I hadn’t planned on having a half-day in London, but had managed to get an earlier & direct flight, which got me in at 9:30am instead of 8:30pm.
Apparently if I’d checked some of the flight boards at Heathrow, the day I landed (May 4th), I might’ve seen some funny stuff. But, I didn’t! After waiting 90 minutes or so in a ridiculously long and winding line to clear immigration, I was ready to get out of there!
Not feeling like doing the typical sightseeing things, I had googled for arts districts (or something like that) and had a few destinations in mind. So, I picked up a day pass for the city public transit and got some advice on where to catch the train to Stansted, that night. There was a left luggage at that (Liverpool Street) station, so I went there first, but just couldn’t bring myself to fork over the exorbitant fee to hold my little bag. I decided to bring it with me to lunch (it’s just a small backpack!) and maybe drop it later, so as to only have to pay the rate for 3hrs. I wound up just keeping it with me all day, which made it easier to catch the Stansted Express from a different, more-convenient-at-the-time station (Tottenham Hale). I spent my savings on tasty food and drinks around the city!
First, I walked over to the Shoreditch area and had lunch there. I’d been looking uncertainly at a menu when it started to sprinkle out, so I took it as a sign, and enjoyed their fancy salads and coffee. The building across the way had a strange facade.
Then, over to the Spitalfields market for some shopping, before hopping a bus down to Brixton. While I was on the bus, it started raining really hard, and even hailing a bit (good timing for me!) and it had mostly stopped by the time I got there. More wandering around & window shopping, before eventually taking the tube to Tottenham Hale and the Stansted Express from there, up to my airport hotel.
On the train, a group of 3 people at a table were all dressed up. When one accidentally spilled a full drink on the girl across from him, we got the story: they were wedding bound, and she almost never gets a chance to get dressed up! And now her blue dress is soaking wet! And their stop is coming right up! It was hard not to laugh, and would’ve been a great diversion for some kind of heist (or petty theft).
A good nights sleep, and a morning flight to Prague. At the Stansted airport, the barista spoke Spanish to the guy in front of me (a good guess – I asked while we were waiting for our drinks and he confirmed he was from Spain). To me, the barista first said “bonjour!” but then put on an over-the-top American accent after hearing where I was from. It seemed like he had found a way to have fun with his job.