After popping a second half of Ambien, the pilot announced that we would be landing in London Heathrow in about an hour and a half. I thought to myself, “Crap. I definitely didn’t time this right” but continued to indulge in the movie, Bad Moms and my second meal on my Virgin Atlantic flight. After a few funny looks from laughing a little too aggressively to be in the middle seat, in the middle row of the aircraft, I quickly realized that this is what my dad warned me about.
Luckily, I was greeted at the airport by my personal tour guide and social planner, Top Lad Tom, who I conveniently met in Croatia only 5 months prior. He was gracious enough to meet me at the airport and I repaid him by falling asleep on his shoulder on the Tube to Canary Wharf while he attempting to hold both me and my suitcase from rolling around.
Day 1 in London and I was off to a pretty blurry start. I dropped my bags off in the Isle of Dogs/Canary Wharf and then headed to Central London. First stop was Borough Market for Fish & Chips and Mulled Wine. I was encouraged by Tom to try “Mushy Peas” with this meal and after one bite, I decided that baby food just isn’t my thing.
The market had an awesome view of the tallest building in the UK, The Shard, and plenty of great smelling treats. We wandered around and then headed towards Millennium Bridge. On our walk over I spotted some of the most prominent buildings in London including, the Walkie Talkie and the Cheese Grater. I debated sneaking into The Globe, the open air theatre where Shakespere’s plays were first performed but opted for a quick visit to the Tate Modern (London Museum of Modern Art) instead.
My first night out was shared with friends from my hometown who I haven’t seen in years. We conveniently found ourselves to all be in London at the same exact time. We started the night at the oldest pub in London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and continued to bar hop around to places like Shakespeare’s Head Pub. It felt only right to pause the pub crawl for some karaoke at Karaoke Box in Farringdon. We were having so much fun, the staff had to kick us out of our room after we continued to go over our time limit. Serenading them with Backstreet Boys didn’t seem to help. Looking back, I am grateful that my little mishap with a sleeping pill didn’t put a damper on this perfect first day in London!
As my time in London progressed, so did my British Accent. By day 2, I was starting to use the word “nice” to describe food and pronouncing words as posh as humanly possible, for a Jersey Girl like me.
No matter how immersed I thought I was by living the life of a local with my London Lads, the American Tourist in me came out when prompted. See photographic evidence below. Sorry, not sorry.
My stay in the UK was briefly interrupted by a pit stop to Paris. I spent three perfect days and 2 romantic nights wandering around the city. This was the perfect amount of time to see everything on my list but still left me wanting more, which is great because I hope to go back again in the future.
After Paris, I headed back to London for a few more nights where I celebrated a traditional American Thanksgiving that Tom arranged with some new friends. Ironically, I was the only one to not order the turkey and pumpkin pie.
The trip came to a close with a road trip to Wales where I watched my first Rugby game. Wales beat South Africa for the 3rd time in 100 years and I’d like to think it had something to do with my sheep hat and excessive Wales garb.
The top 3 highlights of this trip:
This post sums up my short stay in the UK but doesn’t do justice in evoking how memorable it was for me. I feel incredibly lucky to have friends in a city 3,459 miles away that welcomed me in and took the time to show me around like a local. A huge shout out to Top Lad Tom & Dinesh for hosting me! I look forward to coming back soon.
Now on to South America 🙂 T-minus 2 days.