So I packed my bags and took the tram to the subway to the bus to the plane to London[a]. (Next time I'll cut out half of those methods of transport and just fly BA instead.) My Swiss buddy Gustav Ålund[b] had moved there two months ago (so I guess he's my English buddy now), and invited me to come over and check the place out.
Things to remember if you go to London:
Flying Ryanair is cheap, but not that cheap and you get less than you pay for. I'll probably BA it next time. The hassle of having to fly out of Bratislava, having to endure two hours in a plane built on the cheap (the chairs don't recline), and the general hassle of getting from Stansted to London is just not worth the 50 euro saved. I was told that Ryanair gets cheaper if you book well in advance, though, so perhaps it is possible to save more than 50 euro.
If you go to Stansted, take the Stansted Express to London. It is five pounds more expensive than the bus, but the bus will take about two and a half hours with all the traffic, whereas the train will take 40 minutes.
For travel on the London underground - get an "Oyster Card". You have to give a three pound deposition (that you get back when you return the card), but you can then travel much cheaper. Plus, after you have done three single trips, any more trips during the same day are for free. So you can load up with four and a half pounds of cash on the card and that will last you the whole day. If you don't use up all the money (perhaps you only go by underground once) the remaining cash is there for you to use the next day.
Sainsbury's have a great lunch deal in the form of one large bowl of everything you can find in their salad bar for three pounds. The salad bar has different types of pasta, salad, yogurt and fruits.
Light shaft in the Baker Street underground station. The shafts used to be open to the street, but were plugged shut as the road expanded.
View of the Baker Street station. The light shafts can be seen.
Gift from Switzerland in Leicester square. The canton where gustav lived before moving here has the shield with a horizontal blue bar on white background which is in the second column of the second row on the right hand side.
Fans charge up for the England - Portugal game.
The intersection above the Tottenham Court Road underground station. Go here for a quick walk to the British Museum.
Hayward Gallery, another brutalist building.