Tuesday, October 13, 2009

London Nerd Quest

After a final night at Babi Ali with the Istanbul expats, on Sunday I flew to London (food on British Airways is excellent by the way though take off and landing were pretty wobbly), breezed through passport control and customs and made my way to the hostel which is just down the road from London Bridge. Checked my email and discovered that Sarah had arrived at the hostel a night early and while I was consulting with the staff about how best to find her, she strolled into the lobby, yay

We headed out in search of food, little realizing that, being a Sunday, everything was already closed so after a lot of walking we ended up at a McDonalds, 2 tables away from a woman in a wedding dress, odd. Walked around a bit longer to enjoy London by night (and expecting marauding zombies to appear at any time as the streets were completely deserted) and found St Paul’s Cathedral which is very and beautiful from the outside at least. Returned to a hostel where I, being in a 20 bed dorm filled mostly with boys, got roughly 10 minutes sleep between the door slamming all night and at least one person throwing up in their bunk, which was thankfully far away from my bunk. Ah, dorms.

Next morning after enjoying the free hostel breakfast we braved the rain and walked to Piccadilly Circus where Sarah jumped on a sightseeing bus and I picked up my London Pass and travel card plus a few handy maps and plotted my course to my first nerd target; the Spaced house.

Having found the address on the internet and armed with a Tube guide and street map for cyclists I headed to Tuffnell Park where, just a few minutes walk from the tube station, I located my quarry, the oddly shaped house used as an exterior location for one of my favourite Britcoms, Space. Total nerdgasm! Took a few snaps and returned to the hostel for dry socks before heading out for target 2; Black Books.

This proved a tad more elusive as I had a street address but no idea what part of town it was in, but with the help of the hostel staff and ye olde internet, I was soon on a train to Kings Cross St Pancrass (and starting to feel like I was walking around a giant monopoly board). Down a backstreet I found it, the small bookshop used as the exterior for Black Books. Had to explain to a puzzled local exactly why I was taking photos of some random shop in the middle of the city but he very kindly took a photo of me out the front (before backing away slowly and not making eye contact). Nerd mission accomplished. From this point on, everything else is a bonus.
The rest of the afternoon I spent getting my bearings around the city and spotting a few of the major landmarks. Started out at Trafalgur Square to see Nelson’s Column, then strolled to Westminster to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, took a look at the outside of Westminster Abbey and took a break from the constant drizzle in St Margaret’s Church before returning to the hostel to meet Sarah and, eventually Maggie.

The three of us returned to Piccadilly Circus for an evening stroll, which consisted mostly of staring longingly at the theatres and wishing we could see all the musicals currently playing before heading back to bed.


  1. hey, On my first night in London I arrived all alone, walked out and found a McDonalds to eat, then went and looked at St Pauls Cathedral, thats amazing. I also had a cornish pasty near the london tower area, could have been the same shop.