Escape of the Week: Poplar Flowers

I awoke early on my second morning in London.

The first day of London, I did a walking tour of Tower of London, St. Paul’s and Oxford Circus. The second day of my travels, I was left to explore on my own.

So, I did what any bright-eyed, bushy-tailed traveler on the start of their trip (or any first experience in a city) would do: I bundled up (it was March in a rain-soaked, cloud-encrusted London), laced my hiking boots, placed my cap tight on my head and pushed my hands into my mittens, and ventured out into the day.

My first stop? Poplar, the neighborhood where I was staying for the week.

The neighborhood isn’t the city’s shining glory, but it has its own charm. Nearby the house I was staying was a large market, compete with stalls hawking everything from blankets and luggage to clothing, food stalls and bakeries.

I snapped this photo during my Poplar walkabout.

 

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An interview with customs

“Where are you going? How long are you here? Where are you staying? How do you know the person you are staying with? How did you meet? How long have you known each other? What does your friend do? What do you do? Where do you live?” The immigrations officer fired question after question at me.

I stood at the counter, silently praying she would stop asking questions and stamp my passport.

Fortunately, she did.

I had spent my entire flight across the Atlantic paranoid. When I went to check in onlineĀ earlier in the day, I was informed I had to call the airline — that my trip was beyond the limit for travel and a visa was required.

My heart nearly jumped into my chest.

How could I have missed this? I thought I was good to go.

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