After my field study course, the very next morning I got on a plane to travel to London! I’ve always wanted to visit London and was very excited for this trip. My flight left early Friday morning and after going through customs, I got on the train from the airport to the city. I was meeting up with my friend Emily, who was already in London. After checking in and getting settled, I realized I was hungry (what else is new). CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!
London is one of the few cities on this side of the world that has the holy grail known as Chipotle. A Mexican fast food restaurant of deliciousness and also a place I haven’t eaten at since before the e-coli breakout happened in late 2015. I ordered my usual burrito bowl and am still salivating thinking about it. After gobbling on some fake Mexican goodness, Emily and I took the tube to the Capital Hotel for our afternoon tea (with the Queen duh).
Ummmm, YUMM!!!! The servers at the restaurant were very hospitable, making us feel welcome. Even the bathroom was fancy! Our afternoon tea was hot and fresh and our tiny treats were to die for. I’m not sure what a crumpet was before this fancy meal but I thoroughly enjoyed it. We had our double decker tray filled with tiny sandwiches, pastries, crumpets, and scones. After our perfect tea, we decided to wander around Hyde Park and check out the Princess Diana memorial. It started raining again and we headed back to the hotel when we got the brilliant idea of searching for the famous location where a classic Disney movie was filmed- the Parent Trap house (the Lindsay Lohan remake)! We were excited to see that the house was only a few blocks away from where we were. We found the house at 23 Egerton Terrace, snapped a few pictures til my phone died and then made our way back to our hostel.
It was already getting a little late when we got back so we charged up and headed down to the bar at the hostel, ordered some brews and quickly met some people staying at our hostel. As I have mentioned before, one of the things I LOVE about traveling is meeting new people from around the world. We hung out with our new friends from Mexico and Argentina, socialized and danced. I called it a night at around 1:30 and dozed off to sleep.
The next morning, I was going to be taking the walking tour offered by our hostel while Emily was off to do her own thing for the day. I met up with my new Mexican and Argentinean friends I made the night before (as well as some other study abroad students from Spain) and we made our way to our tour. Our tour guide was funny and a pure bred London-er. We walked around Buckingham Palace (mah homegirl Liz lives here), watched the changing of the guard, checked out Kensington Palace (the place where Kate and that other guy live) and many other royal buildings. According to our tour guide, who has met Prince Charles, William and Harry, this is what he has to say about them: Charles is meh, not much of a personality, William is cool but very proper, but Harry is SUPER cool and the kind of person you want to be friends with and is living the bachelor lifestyle (and is also single btw 😉 YOOOOOO).
We were led around the Parliament area, checked out the exterior of Westminster Abbey and gazed at Big Ben. Fun fact, the clock tower is actually not called Big Ben, the bell is named Big Ben. The clock tower is called (as of four years ago), Elizabeth Tower (previously known as just Clock Tower).
After the tour was over, I took some basic white girl pictures in the red telephone booths, and crossed over the bridge near Big Ben to take some more up-close pictures. I was on my own by this time and decided to grab some lunch at Borough Market since it was near my hostel. EVERYTHING is expensive in London so I was informed by some friends who have studied in London to check out one of the many food markets in the city. I enjoyed pasta and a green smoothie before making my way to check out Tower Bridge. I crossed over the bridge and gazed over the city on both sides. The place was flooded with tourists so soon after, I parked myself at a coffee shop and people watched and wrote in my travel journal.
After a cup of tea, I went back to the hostel to freshen up for my much anticipated event of the weekend, seeing a musical! For those who really know me, you know how much I LOVE musical theatre. A few weeks prior I had bought a ticket to see Les Miserables!!!!! Probably my biggest splurge of the weekend but I knew it was going to be well worth it and make me a very happy camper. I took a double-decker bus and the tube to get to the London Theatre District. Seeing a musical on the West End in London is basically London’s equivalent to Broadway in New York. I picked up my tickets about an hour early and walked around the area for a while soaking up the theater district.
My seat was in the dress circle in the way back but hey that’s the price you pay for cheap tickets! The theater was a full house since it was a Saturday night and the musical was outstanding! All of the actors were exceptional and there was a standing ovation. Les Mis has become a new favorite musical of mine; I could see it ten more times. A perfect way to end a busy day spent in London!
The next morning, Emily and I slept in, checked out of the hostel and made our way to have breakfast at the Cereal Killer Cafe. Located in a very hipster neighborhood where a flea market was being held, this is a part of London that is not seen on postcards. The area was full of many cafes and boutiques that we wandered through on our way. The cafe was super original looking with not only European brand cereals, but a few American ones too. Being the plain jane cereal lover I am, I ordered the UK equivalent of rice krispies, strawberries and milk. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone for an interesting breakfast in London. After making a stop at the Black Cab Coffee Co., Emily and I headed to the train station to make our way to the airport.
I loved London! Definitely a city I’ll make my way back to (and to see another musical obvs). As always, here are some things I have learned during my stay:
-When in a pub, you may or may not get some comments from Brits such as “awww you’re an American!” after them hearing your accent.
-Nothing screams “America” more than when a pub tries to appeal more to Americans by playing country music (lol what?).
-They drive on the wrong side of the road here. Deal with it.
-Don’t plan on buying anything you can get for so cheap in literally any other country because you might end up having to pay 3.5 pounds for a pack of shitty makeup wipes (almost $6).
That just about sums up my first experience in London! Next post will be about my experience in Germany as I will be joining my friend at Springfest!