My first time in London was not particularily memorable. It didn’t help that the visit was not even a full 48 hours, sandwiched between 11 days in Spain and our flight back home.
My memories are pretty vague (surprise, surprise). On our first night we ended up on a street that had buskers lined up and down both sides. We didn’t get very far, but I remember someone preaching about god (or something preachy-like), and another guy who stood on a milk crate, burning incense around the top of the crate, who would stand still until you gave him money. When you gave him money he’d jump off the crate and get into your face. Back then (and even now) I have no idea what the point was or why he was doing it (other than for money).
The next day involved an unispiring breakfast at the hotel (the words ‘contenental breakfast’ sounded much more glamorous) and a bus tour. We sat on the top of the bus, even though it was a cold & wet April day. My pictures prove that all I really cared about was theatre, as I have pictures of the theatres playing “Beauty & the Beast”, “Les Mis”, “Phantom”, and “West Side Story”. We walked past the Globe Theatre (it was closed), took pictures of the Parliament building & Big Ben, and stood outside Buckingham Palace. We didn’t have enough time to be properly touristy, so it was really just a lot of looking and not a lot of experiencing.
The one experience we did have was going to the theatre to see “Miss Siagon”. I didn’t know much about the show, but I was a theatre geek (even back then) so I was excited. The whole group dressed up real fancy (which made us stand out, since everyone else seemed to be in jeans), and we took the subway. Even now I remember how amazing it was to see the sets move on and offstage using mechanics.
So that was my first impression of London – cold, unavailable, touristy, and awesome theatre. I’d have to wait 5 more years (for my second trip) to actually fall in love with the city.
This is why I don’t mind going back to places I’ve been. There is always more to discover, new things to see and a chance to prove yourself wrong. The first time I went to New York I was convinced that once would be enough. I’ve since been back 2 more times (and would definitely go back a third, fourth, fifth, etc). Travelling to new places can be fun, but so can exploring places you’ve all ready been. Go down the street you never went down, go to that museum you didn’t have the time to go to, and eat at the place you only learned about once you were back home. Unless you had a really, really horrible time, don’t count out second chances.