A short trip to London from Lille, United Kingdom
Reviews > Europe > United Kingdom > London > A short trip to London from Lille
It was way back in 2007. I was a fellowship student in Lille, France, along with three other colleagues from Oradea, Romania: Ioana, Csilla and Daniel. One day, at the end of March I think, we heard about a really interesting offer for a trip to London. The trip was organized by a nearby University (we were studying at ICAM, in Lille). The trip was for three days, and it was in the Easter Period, that year. I don’t want to be complete wrong, but as far I can remember the dates were 8th of April, 9th and 10th of the same month. The offer was something not to decline for anything in the world, mainly because of the cost: only 90 euros. It didn’t matter that we were about to stay 13 persons in a 16 bed room, and when I mean persons I mean boys and girls in the same room. We were so exited about this trip that we announce everybody about this opportunity. Adriana, a hostel colleague was the first to accept, and Samuel, a French colleague from university laboratory also was really pleased about the trip. So we bought 6 tickets for something that proved to be an everlasting experience.
The distance between Lille and London is smaller than we could first imagine: only 242 Km. We got up early, packed our bags and waited for the bus. The bus was packed with students mostly French, but also us Romanians and one guy from United States. We went with the bus to Calais, which is a harbor at the English Channel. There we had to stop because the border police needed to check our passports or ID’s. This was in almost all cases a routine job, except for one case. The American guy needed also a visa to go to Great Britain, so we had to wait quite a bit until the police checked all his papers. We Romanians were very lucky because just that year we joined European Union so the visas were no longer necessary. After all this checking, they gave us the green light to go. We crossed the English Channel by ferry, from Calais to Dover, on the other side of the channel. The journey lasted for an hour and a half, but it was worthy. The view on the ocean is spectacular. We walked on the ferry, inside and outside, because the bus parked along with other cars. From duty free shops, to the atmosphere inside the ferry (owned by SeaFrance), nothing reminded that this is only a simple crossing transport and not a cruise. The comfort was indeed at a high. After we arrived in Dover, the bus continued the ride, 123 km to London, with one specification: Britain drive on left and at that bus the steering wheel is on the left also. Not good. It’s really hard to drive like this, an affirmation that was confirmed by the accidents seen just outside the port’s exit (In the port, a section of the road is drivable on the right.). I was a bit scared about what I saw.
After another two hours, we arrived in London. The entrance in the city is awful: full of garbage thrown all over the street, or on the sidewalk. I said to myself that if the entire London is like this than I paid in vain the 90 euros. Fortunately, on the city center it’s another situation.
We were accommodated at a hostel situated just in the center, 2 minutes walk from Kings Cross Station. The Hostel name is Ashlee House and I think it’s one of the cheapest accommodation places in the London Center. The location is ideal to see all the center sights, because on the station is a ticket automate. We bought bus tickets for a day, that were the cheapest solution and also we got to travel with the famous London red busses. The beds were comfortable, with the remark that you should take the bottom bed. Not the top one like I did. But I don’t care nowJ. And, something really positive about this hostel is the breakfast. Really tasty and the chef is a genuine Englishman. If he’s still there you will see what I mean.
A really interesting story developed when we found out that on 8th of April is Csilla’s birthday. We didn’t know this and we desperately needed a gift. So we applied a strategy: without her noticing, we moved away from her (only Adriana, Ioana, Daniel and I, Samuel didn’t know the plan) and went to a nearby store and bought her a nice wine. Well the wine was pretty expensive (8 pounds, Csilla, hope you’re not reading this J), and we even had a little argue with Ioana, the only one who knew about Csilla’s B’Day. If she had told us earlier we could get a cheaper and tastier wine from France, the Land of Wine. But it’s meaningless now. Csilla and Samuel were worried; they didn’t know where we are and began to call us every minute. We didn’t answer. When we arrived she was so upset that almost beat us. But we didn’t say a word. Later, that evening, we shown her the gift and we gave a toast from that wine.
As a coincidence, the Easter was also in the 8th of April: another funny story. To celebrate in the Romanian tradition, Adriana brought boiled eggs, but because she couldn’t find paint for them, she just brought them like this. After we came back from the church (we went to Westminster Abbey, a new experience as it was the first time I saw an Anglican service) we took out our eggs and start to break them, following our tradition. The coincidence made that exactly then the other French roommates came to their room. Samuel knew about the tradition, but the others were just frightened: imagine, a bunch of persons knocking eggs and saying something that look like an evil ritual. Until we explained them the tradition, they just stayed there scared looking at us. It was a bit funny, well, not for them.After spending three marvelous days in the capital of Great Britain, we came home still with the ferry. Not without problems, because one person wasn’t able to return in time to the hostel, and he missed the departure. He was stuck in London. Luckily, things worked out for him, but if I were the trip leader I wouldn’t act like that leader. He seamed he didn’t care too much for the lost guy. We returned exhausted in Lille, but full of memories of a splendid trip to London.
Things about London you may be interested in
1. Apr 8, 2007 A short trip to London from Lille (London) ( 58)
2. Apr 8, 2007 First impression about London (London) ( 158)
3. Apr 9, 2007 The Second Day of my London vacation (London) ( 213)
4. Apr 10, 2007 The third day of my London trip (London) ( 120)
Start from beginning | 1 - 4 Journal overview
Read about London in our travel-guide
Photographing in LondonFirst impression about London
Recommended London Guide
This 2,000-year old city was once a small Roman settlement on the banks of Thames. Many Paleolithic flints and Mesolithic axes were found by Archaeologists in various parts of London. Thames being a multicultural city of over seven million inhabitants is a result of the many invaders who came to the Thames. The Romans were the first group who established the first permanent settlement, a city they called Londinium, in 43 A.D. Londinium was soon burnt to the ground because of the uprisings led by Queen Boudicca in 60 or 61 A.D. London's position lead to more invasions. ... Read more »
Recent reviews for London
The Second Day of my London vacation - Jun 29, 2009, by danpop
After we woke and I had to stay in line to brush my teeth, because we only had one sink and there were 13 of us, we brought in a hurry something to eat for that day, and we went to see the ceremony of Changing the Guard at the Buckingham... Read more »
What to do in London - Feb 22, 2006, by travelgrove-editor
London, one of the world's greatest cities, offers a bountiful array of attractions and activities. For those intrigue with the royals, to the adventure seeker, to those who want to take in all the major museums and attractions this city... Read more »
Top things to do in London - Jun 30, 2009, by diana_ciocoiu
Top things to do in London London is a city where you can not bother, so try to visit as many things as you can and have fun. 1. Buckingham Palace: Today is the official Residence of the queen with 775 rooms. Buckingham Palace is a... Read more »
What to know about the Buckingham Palace - Apr 30, 2009, by cipristb
Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 and was expanded in 1761, with a total of 600 rooms is the official residence of the British monarchy since 1837. Ever since Queen Victoria moved here brought the custom to fly the flag on the building as... Read more »
The attractions of London - Mar 7, 2008, by lindamura
Visit London. London, one of the world's greatest cities, offers a bountiful array of attractions and activities. For those intrigue with the royals, to the adventure seeker, to those who want to take in all the major museums and... Read more »
More reviews you might be interested in
Korce reviews - Albania
Concerning the transport paragraph I am rather surprised - having worked in Albania for three years and knowing Korce pretty well, I can tell you...
Transportation in Korce
Sarajevo reviews - Bosnia And Herzegowina
About us Recently opened Hotel Union offers something for everyone. This sophisticated hotel is located in the heart of Sarajevo, close to the...
Madrid reviews - Spain
The Escorial Palace is located in the Madrid region 50 km from it. It is a huge building-sized, with a imposing past made to commemorate the...
Short trip to the Escorial Palace, Madrid
Athens reviews - Greece
This was the second guided trip we chose. We had to be on the bus at 12:30 a.m. but even with this early start we reached Athens, the capital of...
My third trip in Athens
Kaiafa reviews - Greece
Nice pause during our trip. The place was made up of only of 3 houses, a small railwaystation with a little restaurant, I guess you could call it...
Beach brake at Kaiafa
Kathmandu reviews - Nepal
Update Mai the 12 2015 Travelgrove Team Laxmi Dhakal, an official of the Nepalese Home Ministry confirmed that 42 people were killed (the most in...
Muang Krabi reviews - Thailand
We got up early morning and headed out to the airport. The airline which even I didn’t know “One Two Go” was pretty good and...
Adventures in Ao Nang
Burnsville reviews - Minnesota
Burnsville is a nice little town near Minneapolis. I think it's a great place to live as a family, but not really a great place to visit, as there...
Short visit in Burnsville, MN
San Francisco reviews - California
We stayed in San Francisco for another half day, we drove down towards Fisherman's Wharf and grabbed breakfast at this really nice little place. I...
What to do in San Francisco
Winter Park reviews - Colorado
The large Winter Park Resort is the closest major destination resort and the closest ski area to Denver, about 67 miles northwest of the city....
Snow and ski in Winter Park Resort, CO