Thursday – May 31, 2018
After getting showered and dressed I searched Google maps for a laundromat nearby. I ended up finding one that was about 7min away and, with the help of the owner, did laundry from 10am to 11am. After I finished doing that, I headed for Surry Quays and was on the tube by ~11:30.
Considering the fist three things I did, today was a very nerdy day…
I took the tube to St. John Woods station. Upon exiting, I made my way to The Beatles Coffee Shop. However, along the way I got slightly lost. I ended up backtracking to the station only to find that it wasn’t a stand alone place but a tiny spot in the tube station.
Abby Road Studios
There, I grabbed a light breakfast before heading to Abby Road. As I stood on the corner trying to get a good picture of the “zebra crossing,” I made fun of all the nerds there (in my head) only to remember I was one of them. I took a few pictures of the crosswalk before using said crosswalk to get to the actual studio.
Though I’m aware that it is a working studio, I was a little surprised that there isn’t a tour on days when nobody is recording. After admiring the studio for a bit and getting a few pictures, I walked a bit further down the street to the gift shop; a tribute to all things Beatles.
I took everything in and admired it for a bit. Then I settled on two pins to bring back to the big Beatles fans in my life. One pin was in the shape of a plectrum (guitar pic) that said Abbey Road Studios on it and the other was in the shape of McCartney’s violin bass with the crosswalk on it. It also said Abbey Road Studios.
After finding an Abbey Road street sign and taking a picture of it, I took the bus to 221B Baker Street.
221B Baker Street
As I sat on top of the double decker and thought about what I had just seen and done, I almost teared up. I was thinking about how cool it was to have been in the spot where the music which has made so many people happy, was born.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Upon arriving at Baker Street Station, I took a moment to get my bearings before heading up the street to The Sherlock Holmes Museum. Because I am not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, I decided against going into the museum. So, as was the case with Abbey Road, I settled for going into the gift shop.
After looking around for a bit I left and then literally just popped my head into the nearby Beatles gift shop before taking the tube from Baker Street to Kings Cross.
Platform 9 and 3/4
Upon my arrival, I explored a bit of St. Pancras Station. Knowing that I would need to utilize St. Pancras to take the Eurostar from London to Paris in a few days time, I walked around for a bit and got familiar with it.
The station is a nice combination of classic and modern architecture. There are also a couple of statues in the station that are very beautiful. After admiring everything for a bit I then left and crossed the street to King’s Cross Station.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom advertisement at King’s Cross Station
The station had a couple of really cool advertisements for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. One was a, seemingly full scale, T-rex that was standing on rock and lava or something. The other was this scene of that glass ball things they use to explore the park. The glass is broken and kids can go in and sit in the seats. There are Raptors on either side of the display.
However, I was looking for the Harry Potter gift shop. I didn’t know where it would be and began wandering aimlessly. Eventually it hit me, it was so obvious, it must be located between platforms 9 and 10.
“Platform 9 and 3/4, think you’re funny do ya?”
Sure enough when I got to the opposite end of the station, there was the gift shop. Set up to the side of the shop was a brick wall with a luggage cart half way through the wall. People could stand in line and take their picture, posed as if they were pushing the cart.
You could even choose to wear the scarf of the “house” you identified with most; Griffendore, Huffelpuff, Ravenclaw or Slitherin. An attendant would stand near you holding the end of the scarf. Then, a photographer would countdown from 3 and the attendant would toss the end of the scarf in the air to give the illusion you were running through the wall.
I decided to skip the line and just check out the gift shop. While looking at all the nerdy stuff they had, one of the employees complimented my Powerline t-shirt while she was walking by. The store was actually really cool. Very well themed to the level of the Universal Parks.
Freddie Grubb bike shop
Unfortunately when I got to FG, it was closed. However it was just as well, wasn’t going to buy anything anyway. After this slight disappointment, I walked to a nearby bus stop and took the bus to Shoreditch.
At Shoreditch I got off and walked to Boxpark. Boxpark is, as my sister would say, “a very Kyle thing to do.” It is a series of pop-up shops and food vendors all contained within shipping containers that are stacked side-by-side and on top of each other. I got lunch there and listened to the sweet mowtown and classic rock they were playing.
After finishing what I could and putting the rest in my bag, I walked to (what I believe to be) the financial district. I specifically went to The Gherkin aka the “Faberge Egg” building. From there I walked to Aldgate station and took the tube to London Bridge station.
The Shard and Borough Market
Borough Market with The Shard in the background
I think I learned about Borough Market via a Londonist YouTube video. This location is featured in the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter. I know it well from my 4 hour wait for the Gringott’s roller coaster. In any case, it was cool to see the real thing.
I then walked along the water to the Tower Bridge only to have to double back to the London Bridge tube station. There I took the tube to North Greenwich where I got to see the O2 Arena. This was not something on my “to do” list but it was a very pleasant surprise. From the O2 I walked over to the Emirates Air Line.
Emirates Air Line
The Emirates Air Line is just a gondola that goes from one bank of the Thames to the other. It is sponsored by Emirate Airlines, hence the name. Sadly the gondola is so far out of the way that it doesn’t really take you anywhere you want to go. However, I was able to check it off the list.
I got off on the other side and walked around for a bit before hopping back on. While crossing over the Thames I saw guy wakeboarding. There was this little suspended tow-line that went back and forth along the water. There were also some rams and “rails” so you could do tricks. I saw him actually hit one of the jumps which was cool.
Once back on the other side I went over to and into the O2 Arena. I was unaware that in addition to being a venue, it is also open to the public and is filled with several restaurants, a movie theatre and a bowling alley. It is reminiscent of Downtown Disney or Universal City Walk.
The O2 is important to me for three reasons, 1) it is featured in the film The World Is Not Enough. 2) It is where Michael Jackson was going to hold his last concerts for the This Is It tour. 3) It is where Led Zeppelin held their one-night-only reunion concert.
Being that my feet were killing me, I’d had a long day and nothing left on my “to do” list for the day, I headed back to my Air BnB. It ended up being a super productive day. It was good to be home by 8:20pm instead of after 10pm or 11pm. Plus, the way things were routed out, I basically went in a big loop so the ride back was really quick.