I landed around 11:30, and after passing through customs and grabbing my bag, I hit the Heathrow express to drop me off at Paddington Station! I then got to navigate the tube for the first time with luggage, woohoo! I checked into my hotel, took a shower and took off to go wandering! I took a ride on the London Eye, saw Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abby, and Buckingham Palace, and just wandered around a bit to pick up a few items I needed after almost 2 weeks living out of a suitcase.
Before heading out to find dinner, I went to Trafalgar square to get a picture with the lions, but there was set up for a concert happening so I couldn't get close enough. I still got a picture with the fountains, though!
I went to Nandos because I had heard such amazing things about it, and I heard right! Delicious food, great atmosphere, I wish they had them in California!
The first night I fell asleep before I wanted to, and woke up the next day 12 hours later! I guess being up for 24 hours makes you tired! I hit the streets again, wandering around trying to find as many places as I could, and stumble across anything interesting. The tube line I wanted to take was down, so I had to modify my original plan a bit, and I ended up finding a coffee shop in SoHo, shopping a little on Oxford Street, visiting the Tower Bridge and Tower of London, running by Hyde Park, taking a pit stop at a Starbucks for lunch and to check in for my flight, visiting Kings Cross Station and platform 9 3/4 walking down more of Oxford Street to Leicster Square where there was the premiere of Godzilla happening!
By then my feet were killing me so I stopped to pick up some Indian take out (or take away as they say across the pond) and crashed back in my hotel room for the night. Some how even though I was wearing my good Nike shoes, I wound up with a blister on the bottom of my foot. Not the most comfortable way to walk around a city!
The next morning I got up and ran out for coffee, breakfast, and to mail the postcards I bought in Jerusalem but forgot to mail! After spending the morning sitting by the River Themes and enjoying the cool air, I headed back to the hotel to pack up, take the tube back to Paddington Station, and head to the airport.
I loved wandering around and trying to to be too much of a tourist. I definitely want to go back and wander around more since I didn't really leave Central London, and wanted to make it up to Camden. Guess I'll have to make another pit stop the next time I go somewhere in Europe or East Asia!
Just to clarify, the London detour on my trip was completely funded by my own funds. None of the support given by any organization paid for any portion of my London stay.