With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Put My Toes in the Thames

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 20, 2010

November 26 – 27, 2004

All Pictures

Piccadilly Circus

Bright Lights, Big City

This was another trip planned by the International Society in Manchester. They made all the reservations for accommodations and tours. Two of my classmates and I took the big I.S. charter bus to London and had a great time.

My roommate for the trip was Nalleli along with 2 other girls I’d never met before, and haven’t seen since. They had thick European accents that sounded exotic to me.

Since the hostel was segregated by gender, David, my other classmate, bunked with some other guys who had the misfortune of not travelling with any male friends.

Dinner at McDonald’s

We ate our breakfasts in the cafeteria in the basement of the hostel then boarded the bus. The mornings where packed with tours and activities. There was so many things that we did that I can’t remember a single one now.

In the afternoons we were free to go where ever we wished. The girls who stayed in Nalleli’s and my room went shopping. In the evenings they came home, tired with bags and bags of overpriced designer goods. They brought empty suitcases to be filled with the spoils of their hunts. “These are just such great deals! There are just no good shops in Manchester.”

Nalleli and I sat on our beds each evening as the girls paraded their new clothes for us. During these fashions show the ladies would tell us how much each item cost. Nalleli and I kept a running total in our heads. They blew through almost a thousand pounds each by the end of the trip.

Dali’s Elephant

My group, however, was there to see the sights. David, the only British one among us, had already seen everything. He showed us around.

Nalleli and Me: “What should we see next, David?”

David: “I don’t know. What do you want to see?”

He was very helpful.

Big Ben

For the Old and Learned

London is expensive. I don’t care what those shopping girls said, everything in London is overpriced. But there are discounts to be had. For every tourist attraction we went to, we looked to see if there was a student rate. Sometimes the student rate was £2 off, other times it was half price. Even students from schools outside of Britain can get the discount. Just bring a valid, up-to-date student I.D.

The only thing better than the student discount, is the senior citizen discount. If you are over 60 and you are traveling the world, carry your passport with you when you go sightseeing. That thing will pay for itself!

Don’t focus on the river. Focus on the bridge.

Wait until you see it…

Before the trip began I made a proclamation that I was going to wade in or at least dangle my feet into the Thames. How could I leave England and not be able to tell everyone that I touched the most famous British body of water? David looked at me incredulously. “You should really hold off until you see the water before making any oaths.”

I only took pictures of the Thames at night. That way you cannot tell how dirty and gray it is. I never did touch it. eww!

All Pictures


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.


  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance




The London Eye

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 51°30’12.0″N 0°07’10.3″W
  • Go to Waterloo Station.
  • Look up, the Eye can easily be seen.
  • Walk to it.


Merlin Entertainments London Eye
Riverside Building
County Hall
Westminster Bridge Road





  • Usually 10:00-20:00
  • Open everyday, but Christmas
  • Time changes each season


  • You can have parties in the Eye.
  • You can get some of the best views of the city. The best time for romantic looking photos are just before sunset.


Buckingham Palace

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 51°30’04.5″N 0°08’31.3″W

Use any of those underground stations:

  • Green Park (Jubilee. Piccadilly and
  • St James’s Park (Circle and District lines).



  • Tour                                      £8.7515.50
  • Changing of the Guard   Free


  • Tour: July 31 – Sept 29  9:45 – 15:45

When the Queen is not in residence 19 State Rooms are open to the public. Make sure to book in advance to ensure admission. £8.75-15.50

  • Non-Tour

Well no one can stop you from strolling by at any time day or night, but it’s best to pass by during the changing of the guards.

  • Changing of the Guards

It takes place in front of the palace at 11:30 everyday in summer and every other day in winter. In the summer it’s gets pretty crowded so come with some sort of icy beverage and grab a good spot.


It’s great to just walk around and see the gates of her Majesty. Who knows, you might even get a quick glimpse of one of the Queen’s butlers.


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