The Solo Tourist.

I can't believe I've been living and breathing London for over a week already.


It's been amazing having Jason off work since Christmas; making up five months of conversations, giggles and hugs is hard work, you know. But the luxury ended today, since he started work - leaving me five days of freedom before I start my own new teaching job. (I'm pretending it doesn't exist right now because I'm a trifle nervous.)


Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I threw myself in the deep end again and decided to put on my 'solo tourist' hat and go for another wander around the town. I managed to get my way around locally, but this time it was all about the city.


(Looking back, Big Ben seems to be suspiciously lurking in a lot of today's pictures, I think I was being stalked by a huge ancient clock. Look for yourself!)


Today was a typically damp and dreary day, and I only saw the sun a few times. I started in Trafalgar Square, which looked decidely miserable today: construction workers everywhere, empty water fountains and a sad looking Christmas tree. There was hardly anyone there, which was a completely different experience to the last time I visited.



After wandering around aimlessly for a few minutes taking pictures, I decided to head towards Buckingham Palace. I love St James Park, it is very peaceful there despite the hundreds of people ambling around. Plus, it is home to chipmunky squirrel creatures!




Despite having been here before, I still got rather excited standing in front of Buckingham Palace. It's just one of those landmarks that you have got to experience. Being there makes me all giddy. And then puffed, because the road to get there? Is the longest road in the world, or at least it feels that way. (Yes, I am unfit.)



Being a solo traveller = being double jointed and taking one's own photographs.



(I told you it was grey and miserable!) I was in St James Park at the perfect time, it seemed. The changing of the guard was taking place as I was walking innocently along, so that's what all the people were hanging around for. Right! I knew that, of course.


After watching the guards for a short while, I decided to keep on walking around on foot rather than head back to the tube. I ended up at the beautiful Westminster Abbey.



And right across the street, my favourite building. Look kids, Big Ben! Parliament!



When I had finished snapping my obligatory tourist photos and was deciding where to go next, a guy bumped into me while standing at a pedestrian crossing. He apologised, and then asked if I was Danish. I shook my head and mumbled something incoherent, and he then proceeded to tell me that I looked like I was Danish, and did I have any Danish relatives? I said I was Australian as the lights changed and began to cross the road; the guy followed me, telling me he was French, lived in London and was heading to work. As I approached the tube station and went to walk down the stairs, he stopped me and asked if I would like to meet up for drinks later - to which I thanked him, but mentioned I was seeing someone. I then scurried to the station, and jumped onto a train.


Don't ask me why I was so weirded out by the casual invitiation: the guy was sweet about it all. It's just that I've not once, ever in my entire life, been asked out by anyone randomly before; let alone on a sidewalk. I suppose there is a first time for everything.


I just wasn't sure what to say: and I hope I ended the conversation the right way. What is the proper etiquette for declining a drinks invitation? Help!


Anyway, I ended up at Bond Street, where I grabbed a coffee and wandered around the street for a while. I walked for a bit and eventually realised I was standing on Oxford Street - again, that explains the crowds! Right! (I'm the worst tourist in the world.) I bought a couple of cheap shirts, and decided I was done for the day.


A little more wandering around Canary Wharf, a couple of grocery bags on the way home, and here I am sitting all squishy in my pink dressing gown/robe.



I still can't believe I'm really here, or that I'm brave enough to traipse around a foreign country on my own. One of my resolutions for 2008 was to stop worrying, and I think I'm making a bit of headway on that already. So what if I miss the tube? I can always just get on the next one. I'm here, I'm happy, and I'm damn proud of myself.



45 Comments • Labels: ,  

45 comments:

The Casual Perfectionist said...

"Look kids, Big Ben! The Parliament!" HA! My hubby and I quote that line all the time! It sounds like you had a good day!

Jess said...

These photos are totally gorgeous! I haven't been to London since 1995 and now I totally want to go back.

Sarah said...

It looks like you had a blast, solo or not. Great photographs too!

RA said...

Good for you, getting out and about on your own! When I studied abroad, I lived a couple of blocks from the British Museum, and I loved going there to do my reading.

This is a totally selfish request, but what if we all made requests for what you might do while you're in London, so that we can live vicariously through you? Feel free to say no. I just miss London so much...!

Jamie said...

I loved this post! I want more photo tours of London in the future, please!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Now you can go to Wagamamas in London and I can go in Boston and we can pretend we're having lunch/dinner together!

You look like you're enjoying yourself, I'm so happy for you. And jealous! :)

alana said...

Yay! Sounds like a fun day.

Your photos remind me so much of when I was in England last Christmas. I think I have a similar version of each of those pictures!

Erin said...

Oh! Your photos make me want to hop on a plane to London right now! I'm so glad to see you are enjoying yourself in London....and since I'm not there, I must now go look at all my London photos, and perhaps post some on my blog! :)

elise said...

I also loved this post. You ARE brave, m'dear! And more and more worry-free by the minute. Isn't it so interesting that the best cure for worrying/the blues is to just get out and DO?

(I know this, and yet I find myself ignoring my own good advice more often than I'd like!)

Yay for Alynda! Yay London!

michelle and the city said...

you sure are becoming miss independent alynda! go you! london looks like a really beautiful place. except for the dreary weather of course.

*and i love how you put dressing gown/robe this time ;) hehe

Nicole P. said...

Looks like you are fast becoming a local! Congrats on your move!

Audrey said...

When I was in Barcelona, I decided one day to wander the neighborhood where I was staying. I went up the main road and stumbled across this totally beautiful set of buildings. I ventured into the courtyard, sure that I'd come across some museum or something. And then I started noticing the signs on the buildings ... notably the one that read "Emergency Room." Yup. I'd just wandered into a hospital -- but definitely the most beautiful hospital I'd ever seen!

Being a solo tourist sure does leave you with some good stories to tell.

Leslie said...

Great photos! Cute! Hope to hear from you again soon!

natalie said...

so proud, so in awe.

Marriage-101 said...

You are such a good tourist! Will you be my tour guide when I come to London in the fall?

Margaret said...

Wow. I'm so proud of you and so wish I could visit London now. My sister would love it and I'm starting to think I might too.

brandy said...

Fantastic pictures! It looks like you are living it up. Good luck with the new job. I think it's understandable to be nervous but I know you will be bloody brilliant. I look forward to reading all about it.

Kristabella said...

I am so jealous! How fun! Now I'll have to come visit you in London!

grungedandy said...

That was quite a trek well done; believe it or not you were only about half an hour away from me! Shame I can’t sneak out from my job and join you even for a long lunch but unfortunately they would notice, it’s not that I’m such a lynch pin in the organisation or that they all love me so much that my sparkerling personality would be instantly missed no it’s the phones! No one else bothers to pick them up, I’m the only one so if I don’t do it every one notices when I’m not there! It’s not even really my job. It’s just something I’m good at! So when we lost our receptionist somehow it became my job! I can’t even ask for a half days hol, it’s too soon, after Christmas!
Ha ha to the French guy, he was just trying his luck, your pretty, you must have that just arrived look we all have when we turn up somewhere new and he was just trying his luck to see if he could get a date you never know some one else might have said yes! Most Londoners don’t make eye contact or smile, they look through you, and so it’s hard to chat them up!
Nice photos the light was pretty flat today! You were right we might have snow tomorrow!

Seeya hugya *G

Katie said...

I'm just catching up on blogs today (I'm 5 behind for you!) so sorry if I'm late to comment! You look fantastic in your pictures...and I'm so jealous of your solo tourist travelling!

Julie said...

I love these pictures.

I have always wanted to move back to the "motherland" and live in London for awhile... and while I am jealous I like that I can vicariously live through you for this year.

:)

Raven said...

So much envy, so little time.

Ree said...

I'm damn proud of you, too.

I think you did just fine with the french guy. But, I can't believe it's the first time that ever happened to you! You're so pretty and smiley!

Heather (in Scotland) said...

Ooh - the photo of you in St James's Park you look more like your lovely Mum than I remember noticing before!

Well done on braving London by yourself, even on a grey day.

rye said...

"chipmunky squirrel creatures" - love it!

Congrats on the solo-sightseeing! You are most brave :) And you're freakin' adorable - what do you mean you've never been hit on??

Noelle said...

Great pictures! I would love a week off in London!

heidikins said...

I love that you live there!! Absolutely love it! Am planning on living vicariously through you for quite a while. ;o)

xox

Elisabeth said...

Those photos are great, I so want to go there.

~Mum~ said...

ohhhh i am just so proud of you - i told nanna too and she was 'surprised' that you were out and about on your own !!!
i'm so glad - don't waste a minute of this opportunity - see EVERYTHING (and share photos so i can live through you !!!)

love ya
miss ya

and LOL at getting hit on - now that has to be a highlight too - see if you got out and about more it would have happened more cos you are gorgeous (not that you want anyone other than Jase - but it is always nice to feel that someone else thinks you are nice !!!)

Katie said...

It's wonderful that you are living in London because there's so much going on there and so many beautiful landmarks. I am so jealous, I want to go to England and visit my relatives.

Good luck with starting your job - and good luck understanding the kids and their accents! :P

Bettina said...

You are really having quite the adventure!

Good luck with the new job

Britt said...

Great photos. It's so weird to think that people actually live in London and see things like that everyday. To me (having never been there) London seems like a place for vacations and movies. I forget that it's REAL!

mcgee said...

I love the photos. You are too cute! Congrats on the move, and Happy New Year!!

Spunk said...

I'm so jealous. London is beautiful. You're beautiful. Great pictures!

katelin said...

Oooh I love your pictures! Happy New Year!

Viviane said...

Haha, I have been asked out a few times by random strangers on the street but I am always really weirded out, and usually the guys are weird too, so despite being single I say I'm not interested or I just make up a boyfriend.
By the way, seeing all the London pics there, here is something you should do: See a Shakespeare play at the Globe! It's really amazing. I'd probably wait till the summer though as it is open-air and if you do not get a seat but one of the cheaper groundling tickets then there is no roof (which is crappy when it rains).

cady said...

those pictures are great. i'm so jealous...i've always wanted to go to london! i will have to live vicariously through you. :)

Amanda said...

Okay you've made me wanna come over and join you. London IS fabulous. And you just reminded me :-)

kirby said...

HAH... big ben! parliament! I physically laughed out loud. Lovely.

Sounds like you're having an amaaazing time. I've got five days until i go back to work and all I've done is make postcards and check the letterbox. (lucky me got her car registration. Joy)

Julz* said...

aly got chatted up! ^_^ heeeee awesome stuff! :D

that's so great that you went out on your own! :) and your pics are gorgeous, I want more! :P haha

good luck with work, I'm sure you'll be fine :)

elise said...

I love your photos. My favorite is the guards.

I think your response to the random guy asking you out was perfect. It's flattering to have random people ask you out sometimes, just enjoy it I bet it'll happen again.

kim said...

what a beautiful photo you took of you in front of the palace! just letting you know I am checking up on 'ya

kim said...

Oops forgot to add ,do yourself a favour and visit the play "Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie in The West End .It was in the Guiness book of records as the world's longest running play. Heard about it when I was little and put it on my "to do"list and some 25 years later saw it with Rob and 8 other people in the theatre,and I won't divulge who the murderer is.Let me know if it's still running!

She Likes Purple said...

Great pictures! And I am very impressed. I hope I'd be as brave, but I'm not so sure.

Lisa said...

Lovely photos! I miss miss MISS traveling alone. Although I also want to travel with the husband. They're two separate experiences and I miss them both.





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