The 15-hour flight to London felt like an eternity after I succumbed to our first bout of gastro for the trip after only 5 days on the road. Luckily AirAsia haven't followed Ryanair into charging you every time you use the toilet, otherwise our trip budget would have be well eaten into! Once we finally made it from Stansted to Earl's Court at 1am, we checked into our tiny EasyjetHotel (from now on I will refer to it as the EasyAsylum) which was basic, even by EasyJet standards! We ended up climbing over our bags for the next few days and having to use a head torch to find clothes since there were no windows and the lighting was so bad. Mind you for £30 per night in London, we shouldn't be complaining!
We were such tourists the whole time we were there, going to Hype Park, the Serpentine Gallery, Buckingham Palace, St. James' Park, Downing Street, the London Eye and the Tate Modern, which on our way to, we even notched up our first random celebrity spot....David Seaman (for all of you non soccer/football fans, he is a former goalkeeper for England) Buckingham Palace Guards
. Bry then managed to catch whatever gastro bug I had caught in Malaysia, so we took refuge in the EasyAsylum and he spent the rest of the afternoon decorating the bathroom!
Feeling fully refreshed the next morning, having sweated out what was left of the bug, our next stop was a nice cosy pub to have some lunch and settle in to watch the FA Cup final. After watching Chelsea destroy Portsmouth our day only got worse when we were relayed the message that Eyjafjallajokull had erupted again and our flights to Belfast were in serious doubt. Our two options were to stay another few nights in London, or spend 400 quid flying to Dublin and getting the train up to Belfast. Being stingy, tight-arsed backpackers, there was only really ever one option....phone a friend with a spare couch!
We made the most of our last night (or what was supposed to be our last night) and went out with some of Bry's uni mates from Strathclyde Keith and Keith to a cool bar called the Ship in Putney (although, even for a rugby pub, the concentration levels of loafers and shumpers was epic). It was then to a friend's house for a few drinks, picking up Liz on the way who came all the way from Oxford to see us. Was nice to hang out even if we didn't end up going out (trying to save £ as we'd somehow nearly gotten through £400 since we'd been in London!!).
Doubtful that we be flying at all the next day, we made our way over to the British Museum after checking out of the EasyAsylum (thank god!). It was a perfect place to take our minds off it, with the stunning Great Court and amazing pieces of 'salvaged' (stolen) Egyptian relics, we amused ourselves for hours until we got the call from Di confirming that our flight had in fact been cancelled St James' Park Residents
. Bummer. But, luckily for us, the two Keith's came through and had offered us a bed for the next few nights. Legends! In fact we had so many offers, thank you to those that offered us a bed!!
We managed to catch up with Brooke, a friend of ours from Melbourne for a quick coffee on Oxford St, and then it was on with the stab vests and off to Brixton to the boys place in the pouring rain. Brixton's reputation might be a bit dodgy, but apart from a guy issuing death threats to the tube staff, it seemed like a great area J.
Although we were still coming down from the disappointment of not being able to get over to Ireland, the two Keith's really made us feel at home with some awesome home cooked meals, it was just what we needed. We had a great time on our extra day too, going to the design museum to see David Adjaye's Africa photo exhibit and catching up with Ross (Bry's mate from Uni in Glasgow) and Kristine, while they shouted us to many drinks and an amazing meal at a top class Indian restaurant. Thanks guys!
Rossco and Keith, hopefully we will catch you both back in the motherland. Next stop, Norn Iron....albeit a few days late!
Lani and Bryan x