Not all travel memories are filled with picture-perfect moments. Sometimes the most memorable moments take place in a dreary place, where tourists elbow past you to get a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. Yes, we’re talking about London. London lovers, please take no offense. Visiting the city was an extraordinary experience for us-just not in the traditional sense.
Mistake #1: Scammed-24 hours before our flight, our AirBnb host told us the house had “burned down.” So the seven of us searched for a new place; determined to see Big Ben. Paul was our savior and agreed to let us stay in his apartment. We embraced his little bungalow as our home for the next two days; snuggling into the rock hard mattress and scalding our skin in the shower. Without Paul’s shack, we never would’ve gotten to explore an authentic London neighborhood or be chased down the street by an old man yelling, “Ooga! Ooga!"
...Weird Encounter #2: Thor-We purchased a card for a hop-on/hop-off bus. Little did we know that they stopped running early (we're talking like 5pm on a Friday night early). So there we were, standing at the stop for almost an hour, pissed, cold and hungry. Out of nowhere, Thor appeared. He was tall, athletic with his long blonde hair pulled into an elegant ponytail. The only difference was his thick, dutch accent.
Thor tagged along with us as we walked to the next stop in hopes of catching a bus. As we pushed through hoards of people in Trafalgar square, one of us caught sight of the double-decker heading to the original stop..."THE BUS!" Like a flash, Thor tore off across eight lanes of traffic, his arms and legs pumping with the speed of a demigod. We watched in horror, confusion and amazement as he effortlessly weaved through the cars. Our group chased after him (but on the sidewalk like a normal person) in hopes of catching our hero. By the time we got there, the bus and Thor were nowhere to be seen....
Biggest Ripoff #3: The London Dungeon-It may look fun from the outside, but beware! The London Dungeon is full of sleazy managers who try to extort money from innocent travelers. We found this seemingly fun attraction by chance near the Thames. Who doesn’t love a little history, rides and theatrics all rolled into one? It was a really cool show until we got to the end and were quickly hustled out the door. Completely confused, we looked around for the three rides we were promised. It turns out some of the rides hadn't been working for over a month and another broke right before we got there BUT no one told us before we bought our tickets—so naturally we asked for a discount.
This is where Sh** hit the fan…a 6 ft. British man with flaming red hair rudely explained that there were signs up stating which rides were broken (hidden by workers “conveniently” standing in front of them). A heated verbal spar broke out-we might be small, but we’re not push overs. After several minutes of back and forth, the evil manger refused to budge. We stormed out and threatened to expose his shady doings on TripAdvisor. HA HA the perfect revenge. With a bottle of red wine and blood boiling, we took to the internet in hopes of saving other tourists from the horrors of the London Dungeon.
Imagine chasing trains and buses, being underground more than aboveground, and everything being too expensive. Our whole weekend was pretty much a giant disaster, but if there’s anything we learned from it, it’s how to laugh at ourselves. There’s nothing like shared failures and mistakes to bond new friends.. Even though we didn’t get to see all the things we wanted to, we ended the weekend with more funny stories to reminisce on than many of our friends who actually experienced the city.
-Lexa & Caroline
Pretending like we went into the London Tower because we're too
cheap. Curse you exchange rate!