Johan’s First Day in London

In Sweden we have a saying. “Det är lätt att vara efterklok”. It’s easy to be wise after the fact. To have hindsight. And I realized, as I sat on the bus to the airport that maybe, I should have taken the earlier bus.

But how could I have known that I’d end up in a traffic jam? That I’d sit there, stuck on an unmoving bus, checking the time on my phone frantically, watching it slowly tick closer to the departure time of my flight?

I wrote several messages to Kylie, but she was out on an adventure with her mum, going around on a bus, seeing the countryside outside London, and couldn’t talk much, so I was mostly on my own in my panic.

I got lucky though, and eventually, the traffic let up and I got to Luleå just before the connecting bus to the airport left. Which I of course missed, so I had to, again slightly in panic, figure out when the next left and from where. But thanks to modern technology, I managed to get to the airport in time.

As it was my first time flying, it all felt a little intimidating at first, but it passed pretty quickly. I got through security and then waited twenty minutes for boarding, which seemed like forever at the time, and probably another hour on the plane itself before we took off. After that, it was mostly smooth sailing. Or flying, as it were. I think I slept most of the journey actually, but it was dark outside, so there wasn’t much to miss in terms of scenery.

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I think you can sum up my first experience flying with one word. Uneventful. Which is probably a good thing. You don’t want much drama when you’re that high up in the air.

When I arrived is a different story though. First of all, it was a long walk to baggage claim. I was messaging with Kylie as I was waiting for my baggage, and she was waiting for me in the lobby. And when I finally got there, well, let’s say that my heart was in my throat.

The first thing I noticed as I walked through the doors was her mother standing to my right with a video camera. I looked around awkwardly for Kylie but couldn’t see her until she appeared from behind a pillar in front of me.

The second thing I noticed was that, as shewas running towards me, she was limping. She had told me about her accident of course, but I had too much in my brain at the time to think about it.

She had started running towards me, and I didn’t know if I should run toward her, with all my bags and stuff, if I should just drop everything and run to her like in the movies, or if I should just keep walking, and before I could make up my mind, she was already upon me and we were hugging. And we were falling against the railing between us and her mum. It felt really good. But also kind of awkward. I can’t tell you why. Maybe because of the shyness because you haven’t seen each other in so long and you’re not entirely sure of how to act, and maybe because her mother was there. Maybe because we were being filmed. I don’t know, but it passed pretty quickly. Then we looked each other in the eyes, smiled, and with the acute knowledge that her mother were watching, I kissed her. A quick, light kiss, but it was a kiss.

Then I said hello to her mum, whom I had only talked to on Skype previously.

It turned out then, that she hadn’t started filming. So we had none of our first meeting on camera. Which was just typical. This was the second visit, and the second time we failed to get first hug on video. So we had to stage it to the camera, which for some reason felt even more awkward. Though I did like to have another reason just to hug her.

I like hugging her.

After that, we got to the London underground. I got myself a an Oyster card and we were off on my first London adventure.

There are many things you can say about London, both good and bad, but I think I’m gonna keep it pretty neutral. I don’t usually get very attached to places and if I do, it’s usually more to do with a person than the place itself.

I like exploring new places though, and London is a really nice city. Lots of old iconic buildings and nice architecture, which I’m a fan of. Got a few nice photos of Big Ben and the river Thames.

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The first thing Kylie had in store for me was something she had teased me about for a while. A secret surprise. Shrek’s Adventure!

Now honestly, Kylie is definitely more the Shrek fan in this relationship, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was clearly designed for kids but it was definitely fun for all ages! Even for me. There was adventure, a 4D movie section (my first ever) and the guides and actors went a long way toward making it a fun experience all around!  At the end, we got to walk through and get photo opportunities with other Dreamworks characters.

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It was very similar to the London Dungeon, which we visited afterwards, and they obviously borrowed some of their stuff, like the confusing mirror corridor and the benches that felt like they had creepy crawlies inside them which made us squirm in our seats!

The London Dungeon was a very different experience though. It had the same guided nature, but instead of an epic adventure, we got to walk through the dark and disturbing history of London, but it was done in a humorous way. If you appreciate dark humor, that is. It felt really authentic at times as well. Including the horrid smell! I got picked out a few times from the audience during the interactive portions of Shrek’s Adventure, but both Kylie and I took care to stay unnoticed in the back of the London Dungeon.

After we got back out outside, we turned our eyes to the sky above us. We were already on the South Bank, so why not take a ride on the London Eye?

But first we took a walk along the water and we saw a street performer, Tom, riding a tall unicycle among other things.

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We waited ’til just before it got dark before we headed to the London Eye. First we did the 4D experience, which was not nearly as good as the Shrek one, and then we got into our pod. It was just getting dark as we rose up, and by the time we got to the ground, it was night. On our way around, we took a lot of pictures and videos.  It had started to spit towards the end, but thankfully we got to enjoy the sights before that!

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Afterwards, we met up with Kylie’s friend Hayley and her partner Dom. We had a three-course dinner in a cosy little West End Spanish restaurant called Andalucia. We both had the potatoes with homemade garlic for starters and the custard with caramel cover for dessert, and I had pork tenderloin for main course while she had chicken. It was all really good. Very recommended.

On our way home after dinner we passed the Platform 9 and 3/4 shop at King’s Cross. Kylie had told me about how they were expanding the store, and she was surprised to see that they had already finished the expansion by then, which means that within the space of a week she got to see the store both before and after expansion! We got lucky, because we arrived shortly before closing time, but we did have time to buy a Platform 9 and 3/4 t-shirt and Ravenclaw, notebook for me, a key ring and Hogwarts Express ticket and lanyard for her. Then we of course had to take our obligatory trolley photo!

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After a fun and eventful first day in London, it was very nice to finally come home to the apartment we were staying. Kylie and I slept in the double bed in the bedroom, and her mother took the bedsofa in the livingroom. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t great to finally spend a night with Kylie again. There’s nothing better than falling asleep next to someone you love, and I’m sure most of you will agree… Even if her hair gets in my face and it tended to get really hot under the blankets with two people sharing the space. I can’t wait to get to do that for the rest of my life.

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