In the planning of this European adventure, London was an impulsive extra. The maraschino cherry on top, if you will, added at last minute and without aplomb. But let me tell you… the past 36 hours had PLENTY of aplomb. It aplombed all over the place.
Yes, aplombed is not a word.
When strategically organizing this journey, it made a lot of financial sense to fly into London en route to our next destination, Northern Ireland. So, Emily and I arrived yesterday at about 2pm, took a train into central London, wandered around the streets wearing our backpacks and looking hopelessly lost, then eventually getting good directions and checking into our Airbnb in Pimlico.
Immediately, we knew we wanted food. The gentleman who let us in through customs smiled nicely at us and recommended we eat “authentic” British fish and chips. [To be noted, he said this after also implying that Americans are arrogant. Not that he’s entirely wrong, but it still stung a bit].
Nonetheless, authentic fish and chips we had. Traipsing a bit down the way, we came into a take-away shop with filets of fried cod as big as my head and massive servings of chips (fries).
We ended up sitting down in Battersea Park to eat, and soon discovered that all the people who spend time in that park are ridiculously fit. We were the only two eating.
Nonetheless, it was a beautiful park [one of many within the city limits].
It was a lovely first night in the city. Walking around, I fell instantly in love with all of the brick buildings and the bridges.
That night, we were surprised by a sudden onset of pouring down rain complete with thunder and lightning. Peering out our 2nd story window, we could see locals dashing through the rain and down into the Underground. It caught everybody off guard!
Thankfully, the next morning dawned sunny and clear, with tremendous blue skies. Armed with 10 hours of sleep, we set out on foot to see some of London’s greatest tourist attractions.
As a non-related point, I would like to say that the women in London are very fashionable.
I usually like to get as few people in my photos as possible, because I think it’s distracting. But in this case, I actually feel like the swarms of people add to the images. It was crazy! The change of the guard happens every day about 20 minutes after these pictures were taken, so that’s why everybody was standing there. We watched a processional of horses and then escaped.
There are SO many beautifully maintained parks in the greater London area. We only saw 5-7 or so, but I saw on the map there were tons more. #lifegoals.
The following are a few picturesque moments that I couldn’t resist. Please enjoy.
[Household Cavalry Museum]
And, of course, a few things that you are likely to recognize. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and the Tower Bridge.
When all was said and done, we walked for about 6 hours. Towards the end, I was certainly getting hangry, and I felt a bit like an 80 year old woman when I finally took my shoes off. We cheated a bit towards the end and took the underground for the last 2-3 miles.
[As a side note, we met a man named RJ while waiting for our train. He was originally from Kent, WA, and visiting relatives in London. We didn’t get to have a long conversation because we dashed off to catch our train, but if any of you know somebody with this name who also happens to be tall, dark, and handsome, let me know]
We actually closed out our night by going to a place called the Cinnamon Club, which was an old bookstore that they turned into a restaurant. Buzzfeed made it look like it was a chill, hip place to kick back with a book and have a drink. However, not so. It was quite expensive and elitist, and–while books lined the walls– nobody was reading. We realized quickly [but not quickly enough] that it was out of our league.
I became courageous enough to explain to our waitress, after already being seated, that we misunderstood and could not afford to eat there. She probably could have guessed, seeing as everybody else was wearing suits and dresses, and I wore a neon yellow REI jacket and blue Chucks.
So, we wound up in the basement (which also happens to be their bar) eating rice snack mix by the handful and self-dubbing a Bollywood film projected on the opposite wall.
Tonight, my goals are to shove everything I brought into my backpack [which has mysteriously shrunk] and finally take a shower because my hair is a giant knot. I would also not mind getting into bed before midnight.
Traveling is SO glamorous.
Tomorrow, taking a train to the airport and then we’re off to Belfast!
Much love, all.