A mega European tour begins in London


England / Topdeck Mega European

I have embarked on my greatest adventure yet and my very first trip outside of Australia. I will be spending the next two months exploring the most popular and well-known destinations around Europe and I will be documenting all my experiences right here on loneXplorer.

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During my time on this epic two month adventure I will be spending time in the capital of the United Kingdom, London which will be the launch pad for one of the biggest group tours on offer from Topdeck that will last 49 days around the European continent called the Mega European Tour. Right here is the place where you will be able to read a day by day account of that tour right beginning with day 1 in Paris.

Once the tour is over I will return back to London where it all started and from here head north to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh to join a smaller tour, the three day Haggis Adventures Sky High Tour which will take in the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, the Isle of Skye and of course Loch Ness. After that tour the adventure in Scotland doesn’t end with a couple of nights to explore the capital before heading back to London and flying back home to Australia.

28 APRIL, 2012 – Melbourne to London

Knowing very well that the next 32 or so hours will possibly be the longest of my life, I crawl out of bed to get ready to leave my home in Melbourne at around 3am for the long hour and a half drive to the airport for a 6am departure flight. The first stop this morning is strangely Brisbane, when you think about international flights leaving Australia the first thought is usually to depart from either Sydney or Melbourne, so this was quite different having to fly up to Brisbane first.

The first flight is with Virgin Australia with code share flights with Etihad Airways (racking up the Virgin Velocity points, cha ching!), our next port of call from Brisbane was the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi which included a short refueling stopover in Singapore. From Abu Dhabi it was then another seven and a half hour flight straight to London’s Heathrow Airport, it was one grueling series of flights for a first timer travelling overseas.

29 APRIL, 2012 – London

As we arrived into London Heathrow Airport we were greeted with some of London’s most notorious weather… drizzle or a typical London day. We arrived at Terminal 4 and after collecting our belongings headed straight for The Tube to catch a train along the Piccadilly Line to Kings Cross/St Pancras Station (one of the favourite catch cry’s of anyone arriving in London for the first time and catching this line is to repeat “This is a Piccadilly Line service to Cockfosters. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform”) which is the closest to where we will be staying for the next two nights, the Clink 78 Hostel.

The weather didn’t make this the ideal start to the trip, but really the first day was all about acclimatising to the new time zone and getting the bearings right, plus things can only get better from here on in. The first goal was to firstly drop our bags off at the Clink 78 Hostel so we could then go and check out some sights. Secondly we needed to try and stay awake so we could adjust to the new time zone, we arrived in London at 7am so it would be silly to fall asleep at this time and we couldn’t check into the hostel until later that afternoon so we were forced to stay awake until at least then as painful as it was.

We headed down for stroll along the River Thames in the rain and found the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. Now completely drenched and shoes so wet that it will take a week to dry out it was now time to check in to our hostel for the next two nights and have a bit of a Nanna nap to try to get over some jet lag. The hostel is also the departure point for our Topdeck Mega European trip. There was a small hiccup with our reservation having paid extra for a twin share room for a bit of privacy, however on arrival they were all full and we had to go into a shared room with four beds, we received a small refund for this inconvenience so it wasn’t all bad but very frustrating at the time.

Later in the afternoon the weather had cleared up and the sun was out as Londoners rejoiced apparently being the first time in two weeks the sun peeped out and it stopped raining. The break in the weather provided us an opportunity to see a bit of the city at night before catching up on some more sleep to get adjusted. We checked out Covent Garden where I caught up with a friend of mine who moved to London and I used to work with at Lizard Island Resort. The area is quite a posh location and the home to The Lion King musical, a really nice area and I encourage you to head here to take a look around. After some dinner it was time to head back on The Tube to the hostel and call it a night so we were rejuvenated for a full dat of London sightseeing tomorrow.

30 APRIL, 2012 – London

The next day we couldn’t have asked for a better day fearing that the gloomy weather of yesterday would continue into today as well, sunny and warm it was a perfect start for our first activity taking some obligatory tourist photos of Big Ben and the London Eye basically doing the same walk as the previous day but not getting drenched this time. One of the things we had planned on doing for this trip was at every opportunity to do a bike tour of the city we were in, so it was a short Tube ride to Queensway Station outside the Kensington Palace gardens to met up with Fat Tire Bike Tours.

Fat Tire have four bike tours around Europe with others being in Paris, Barcelona and Berlin and we plan to do all four of them. The London tour took us around to all of the major tourist draw cards the city has including, Westminster Abby, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and the Houses of Parliament just to name a few.

Spending three hours on the bike tour gave us a taste of the other three bike tours we planned to do, and if they were anything like our London tour we were in for a treat, the Fat Tire crew are really professional and knowledgable and made exploring London’s sites a real memorable experience. I highly recommend that you hop on this tour when visiting London, especially for the first time and make it one of the first things you do so that you get a good knowledge of how the city is laid out from above rather than being underground on The Tube all the time.

When we finished our tour it was back on The Tube (this is an experience in itself for someone as tall as me trying to squeeze into a train that small, most of Europe was not made for tall people) with our next destination being the Tower Bridge. We walked over the famous crossing and this included going inside the museum housed within the bridge. While the museum itself isn’t the most exciting experience, it is an excellent way of going to the top walkways of the bridge for great views down the river and views of greater London.

Following the Tower Bridge we continued along the banks of the River Thames walking past the Tower of London (we will go inside here on our return to London) and then making another river crossing along London Bridge. It had been an action packed day full of biking and walking around and exploring London, with sore feet from new shoes and still a bit jet lagged it was time to head back to the hostel for an early night. Tomorrow is the start of our 49 day Topdeck tour, the Mega European adventure around Europe and with that an early start to the day.

We have a lot to look forward too!

NEXT: London to Paris: Day 01 & 02 Topdeck Mega European Tour


Just your average guy doing his 9 – 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer…

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