It took only a few minutes to walk to my hotel from the Tube stop. It was not an easy walk, however. I had issues getting my suitcase to cooperate with the uneven pavement. Combine this with the crowded sidewalks and sleep deprivation, and I was ready to crash by the time I checked in to the hotel. I had had grand plans to sprint to the London Eye before the tour group’s kick-off meeting at 6 pm. By the time I got to my room, around 5:15, I decided to forgo the London Eye and just relax for a minute and freshen up before leaving for the meeting.
Contiki, the operator of my travel group, has a nice space in the basement of the Royal National Hotel. It sort of reminds me of a miniature student union on a college campus. After the conclusion of the meeting, there was an optional happy hour at the pub upstairs. The last thing I wanted to do was to drink beer, as I was feeling dehydrated from the plane ride and had an empty stomach. I ended up joining two Australians for dinner at an Italian restaurant instead of going to the happy hour. They thought I was only 25 years old, which I thought was precious. The funny thing is, they asked me why I “was taking such a short holiday?” They added onto the beginning and end of this tour for a total of 5 weeks. I cannot ever imagine taking that long of a vacation! A lot of the other people here, mostly Australians, are taking vacation extending beyond this tour. One girl is taking 7 weeks off of work. It’s interesting to note the difference in mentality about taking vacation. In the US, everyone told me that they couldn’t believe I was taking this long of a vacation, at about 3 weeks.
I stopped in a couple of souvenir shops after dinner before hitting the shower and then bed. Our group meets at 6:45 the next morning for Belgium via France by ferry. I wish I could have at least gone on the London Eye, but I knew I was going to return one day anyway to see more attractions like the Tower of London. I also want to see the English countryside, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales someday. I will return!