So far I haven't committed to anything, but I've enjoyed the opportunity to traverse the Tube map and learn a bit more about London's neighbourhoods by actively visiting them and meeting some of their residents.
The other night I did reconnaissance at Clapham Common, Friday night I was in Pimlico. On Saturday morning I was in Clapham today I visited Queen's Park and Whitechapel. Tomorrow is West Kensington and the day after that is Battersea. Phew - I'm gettin' around, let me tell you!
After finishing up at Whitechapel, I took the Tube to Oxford Circus to have a look around. Arguably the chain store shopping mecca of London, Oxford Circus is pretty much like Chicago's Michigan Avenue. At Christmas. Are you getting the picture? I wandered along Oxford Street, in and out of the stores, and then sought refuge at Marble Arch for a restorative Diet Coke and writing some postcards to my grandmas.
I walked back along the other side of Oxford Street this time, back to Oxford Circus tube station, and turned right to head down Regent Street. This is home to some pretty fancy-pants designer stores mixed up with souvenir shops but the best thing about Regent Street today was the fact that I was walking downhill! Bliss.
Through Piccadilly Circus I went, along to Leicester Square, where there was some sort of public gathering/street fair thing happening. I couldn't see through the crowd anyway, so i'm not sure what was going on but there were loads of kids and families and that was enough for me - I had to get out of there! By this stage I was starving and so I called into a cute Italian restaurant and enjoyed a pizza and red wine while I gathered my thoughts, referenced my maps, and plotted my next move.
Allowing the crowd to push me along, I soon found myself in Covent Garden and browsed some of the street stalls and market spaces. The sun had come out, everyone seemed really happy and relaxed and I was enjoying the afternoon until I realised that standing still only exacerbated my sore thighs and feet - time to keep moving.
Down Lancaster Place I went and across the - wait for it - WATERLOO BRIDGE! I found the stinkin' Waterloo Bridge and I hadn't even been looking for it. Glorious! With the Waterloo tube station in sight, I dawdled across the bridge, helping tourists take photos of themselves with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background.
Now that I'm back at my friend's place with my slippers on, the pace of the day is catching up with me and I know I'll sleep well tonight. After a day spent discovering some new nooks & crannies of this huge city, I'm looking forward to attacking the apartment-hunt with a renewed enthusiasm this week.