April 11, 2016

London Recap

We decided to cut our London trip short and today are headed to Paris on the train. So I thought I'd give you a recap of our short time in London. You really could do all the tourist stuff (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, etc) in one day as it's fairly close together or easy to get to via public transportation or the bus tour, which we did. We stayed in Holborn which was a quaint city right outside all the main attractions and close to the Underground. I would recommend this area except on the weekends a lot of the shops are not open because it's more of an "after work" crowd so during the week it's bopping but the weekend is much more quiet. But it was clean, safe and there were several chains of food so it didn't feel completely foreign.

Friday we had reservations at sketch for afternoon tea. It was quite the experience especially in the bathrooms. The inside was all pink and girly then the bathrooms were weird space pods. They thankfully had a vegan spread that included tiny sandwiches and desserts to nibble on while you enjoyed your tea. I would recommend going here. It's a cool space, great treats and easy to get to via the Underground. Definitely make reservations in advance! The rest of Friday we wandered the area, which was Soho. London's Soho is very similar to New York's - overcrowded and a lot of shopping. Although I noticed a lot of chain stores - H&M, Topshop, Gap - whereas SoHo in NYC tends to be designer boutiques.

Top R-L: Big Ben & London Eye // Bottom L-R: Tower Bridge & Marble Arch on the corner of Hyde Park

Saturday we headed out on the Big Bus tour as you can hop on and hop off where ever you wanted. It was cloudy, cold and rainy so it didn't provide the best opportunity for photos. We saw all the main attractions - Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Westminister Abbey, Hyde Park. Unfortunately it began raining so we didn't really want to hop off the bus. We waited until Hyde Park, which to me was a much flatter Central Park. Then at the end was the Marble Arch. We passed by the Tower of London, which was a misnomer to me as it looked more like a castle and was very small compared to the giant high rise buildings around it. Buckingham Palace and was beautiful and well manicured as to be expected. Friday we passed by the Prime Minister's house but then Saturday the roads were closed because there were protests after the Panama Papers scandal came out. Not sure if it was just me but I was detecting a bit of British humor in the tour guide's tone while explaining how great everything in London is compared to other places around the world lol. Around dinner time we headed to Harrods but it was quite crowded and we couldn't buy anything so a bit of a bust.

Since Sunday was my last day in the city I took the opportunity to just wander and walk around. We ended up walking over to the British Museum. It was a short walking distance from our hotel and it had some interesting historical pieces like the Rosetta Stone. We also definitely noticed that the tourism picked up on the weekends with many other European tourists coming in for the weekend so the museum got crowded as well as central shopping areas.

Unfortunately I couldn't upload anything until we had WiFi, which typically wasn't until we got back to the hotel so my Snapchat was a bit slow so I know you were all so disappointed. I really loved the city and it felt a lot like home. We were grateful that we spoke the same language so we could ask locals where the heck to go. The "tube" or Underground was fairly easy to maneuver - I like to think my New York City subway skills played a part. I would definitely come back and try to enjoy more of the local life/nightlife rather than being such a tourist since I feel comfortable walking around solo. But I know I'll be coming back! And hopefully then I can meet Sherin - bummed we couldn't get a chance this time.

Now onto Paris!

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