No pressure now Summer 2011,
you’ve got some lofty heights to live up to…
If you had exactly 24 hours in London, what would you do?
Myself and Conor asked ourselves that very question a few weeks ago – with hilarious results.
Our trip to Croatia had been booked for months. The accommodation and flights were paid for. But then someone threw a spanner in the works: Stevie Wonder.
He was scheduled to play in Dublin while we were away and there was NO WAY we were missing out on him. But then there was NO WAY we were cutting our trip short! So we compromised and booked a trip to London on the tail end of the trip to Dubrovnik. However, that meant getting to Dublin, and heading back out again within six hours of arriving home.
The Susan and Conor London Timeline:
00:15 – Arrive Dublin airport from Dubrovnik – pretty tired but excited
00:40 – Arrive at Conor’s house in Lusk – make sandwiches for London (broke from Croatia)
1:30 – Sleep
3:30 – Wake Up (wah?! Where are we?! What time is it?! Sandwiches?!!?!)
4:15 – Taxi BACK to Dublin airport
5:00 – McDonalds Breakfast (broke from Croatia)
6:30 – Plane leaves for London Stanstead
7:20 – Plane arrives in London Stanstead
8:30 – Cheap as chips bus into London town
10:00 – Arrive in London with bag of sandwiches ready for fun!
10:15 – McDonalds Breakfast (ahem! the first one didn’t count)
Luckily McDonalds had wifi and we were able to roughly plan our day on our iPhones (god we’re such a geeky couple).
By the way, did I forget to mention that our flight home was at 6:30am the next day – and that we had decided not to book a hotel or hostel??
First we went to the changing of the guards. Conor had never seen it before and hey! its free! While watching Conor asked lots and lots of questions about the guards. None of which I could answer. He also asked a very English police man..and he couldn’t answer them either (I didn’t feel so bad!)
Luckily the weather was amazing that day because we literally travelled with the clothes on our backs and some sandwiches (which we ate in a park while sitting on the grass!)
After the changing of the guards we headed for the West End because I couldn’t be in London and not see a show! We decided to buy the cheapest tickets we could get and see a matinee. The show was drumroll please BILLY ELLIOT! I’ve been dying to see this show in NY for years – and finally here I was in the back row, for £20! It blew my mind! I laughed, I cried, I was in awe! Watch out top 5 broadway shows, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s dancing!
I think Conor enjoyed it too.
After the show, it was time for the gig in Hyde Park. We had been walking around all day, so we decided to navigate the tube. That’s when something crazy happened:
When we were in Croatia, we took a day trip to Mostar (in Bosnia Herzegovina) with a whole bus of other tourists. One couple were noticeable because they had a little baby, which they carried in a contraption on their back. I think they were Australian.
So we’re standing on a random tube platform when Conor gasps “OH MY GOD” and I think “agh! What celebrity has he seen!?” and there they are! The Australian couple and the baby walking by us – when we’d seen them two days before that in BOSNIA! It was such a surreal feeling. They said “hi”, we said “hi” and we came to the conclusion that they are spies and the baby is actually some sort of recording device. Simple.
We finally got to Hyde Park, which was absolutely buzzing with people who had been there in the sunshine all day. We grabbed beers and nuzzled our way gently towards the front grabbing a good spot (next to some Eastenders type characters who sort of scared us…but were really amusing!).
So how was Stevie?
Best gig I’ve ever been to: hands down!
He came onstage and there was this incredible energy from him which must be because he’s a complete legend! He played hit after hit after hit and it all sounded like I was listening to a CD – except better! He also played Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”, a small bit of Alicia Keys “New York”, and The Beatles “We Can Work it Out”. My favourite song was “Living for the City” where I sang my lungs out and danced my bum off!
“Sorry auld lad next to me…but you only get to dance at Stevie Wonder once in a lifetime!”
So far so good with the 24 hours in London plan. However, we assumed the concert would finish around 11:30 and our bus to the airport was at 3:10am and ACTUALLY the concert finished around 10:30 leaving us with an extra hour. We assumed that we would want to go to a cosy pub somewhere but we looked a bit of a wreck (well Conor did, I looked immaculate obviously…) and we were well, wrecked.
Then I had a legendary idea: THE CINEMA.
In Dublin, cinemas close around midnight. In London, they stay open pretty much all night! So we booked two tickets to the new Russel Brand film, “Get Him to the Greek” for the midnight show.
How was the film?
Conor seemed to like it. I could hear him laughing in between deep and not so deep sleep. FYI: the cinema is a great place to catch some shut eye.
I felt like we were homeless.
We had to walk to catch our 3:10 bus and decided to take a route past Buckingham Palace for the craic, like. There wasn’t a soul around and we could see a light on – so we assumed the Queen was chillin’ out watching The Hills or what have you. We creeped around the palace gates whispering and Conor remarked “wow, we’re the only ones here” and I replied “yea, but I’d say there are about 100 cameras on us and Mi5 agents ready to take out the paddys at the front gates”.
The bus and plane journeys back to Dublin were full of sleep. In fact, I don’t even remember take off or landing on our 6:30am flight from London to Dublin.
Although we were exhausted, slightly sunburnt and full of sandwiches, it was one unforgettable day!
The week will finish spectacularly in London with this: