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Nadia’s Travels: Quick stop in London (Guest Post)

With this post we start a very special travel series: Nadia's Travels. Nadia is one of our dear friends and embarked on a journey of a lifetime a few weeks back. We asked her to share her journal with us. This is her first post, kicking off with her stop in London. Enjoy following her travels with us!

On the 27th of April 2016, I said goodbye to my family on Cape Town International Airport, and embarked on the most daring adventure of my life thus far.  As I ventured through passport control and onto the air plane, even during take-off, my head kept repeating "this can't be real".  Anyway, this is supposed to be a post on the places I visit, so let's get to it.
 
Arriving in London Heathrow Terminal 5 was not an entirely pleasant experience, it took about an hour and a half to get through passport control.  But once that was over, and I got out of the airport, London was as welcoming as ever.  It was about 3ºC outside, but the sun was shining! 
 
I stayed with friends in a part of London called Richmond.  It isn't very big, but it has a great vibe, the river runs right through it, and it has a beautiful park.  Also, in terms of shops, it has everything you need, including a bunch of coffee shops and restaurants.
 
At the start of July, I go back to London for two weeks, so I didn't rush to do all sorts of sightseeing things.  I did go to see 'The Changing of the Guard' at Buckingham Palace, and a good tip would be to make sure you stand at the gates closest to the Palace.  The "guards" come marching down the street in turns, but most of the action happens within the palace grounds, and with all the tourists gathered around, you won't see a thing unless your right up against the gates.
 
 
Figuring out the underground took a few minutes, but it's fairly simple.  Each line goes in two directions, so just make sure you know the name of the station you want to go to. Both of the end stations of the line, then get on the train going to the end station that passes your stop.
Westminster Abbey will now put you back 20 Pounds for a tour, which didn't fit my budget.  So, I found out that you can attend the services held in the church for free, which suited me perfectly.  On Sundays there are something like 5 or 6 different services, you can check it out on the website, or find out at the entrance.  Even though this doesn't give you a tour, you still get to see the church, which is absolutely beautiful.
 
The rest of my time was mainly spent in Richmond.  I was spoilt by my hosts at a cafe called The Hummingbird Bakery.  It's not cheap, but I can guarantee that you will never have a better slice of carrot cake in your life.  We also did a hike through Richmond Park to see flowers that only bloom in April.  The hike is rather long, so if you do plan on doing it, know that it will probably take up your whole day, especially considering that one is quite tired afterwards.  But the views are amazing, and the park is everything you could want from a British outdoors experience.
 
All in all, I loved London!  Granted it was quite cold, but the sun shone everyday.  The people are friendly, the food is good, and because it rains a lot, every bit of vegetation is a beautiful green.  Looking forward to coming back!

Till next time - Nadia xx

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