I enjoyed London much more than I actually thought I would. Don't get me wrong, I have always placed London on my top 20 international cities to visit, but it wasn't high on my list. When a great opportunity presented itself to get over to London, I had questions about the food which I had heard was not very good, and questions about whether I wanted to use so much of my precious time off from work to be in London. All of that has been put to rest and I will spend some time talking about why I love London.
They speak English! This made the whole trip a lot easier really. Although, I found that I was a little hard to understand, I understood Londoners pretty well. At restaurants when the waiter or waitress would ask if I would like another drink or dessert I kept saying "I'm good" which was met with a blank, confused look. I had never thought about this saying being confusing so I had to make extra effort to say "No, thank you" instead. I enjoyed how polite everybody was to me. They would say, "this way love" instead of "you're trying to go through the wrong subway gate you idiot!"
Changing of the guard is worth watching. We hunted down the BEST place to see it and get great photos. I will share all the details with you in the next post including which shocking song the band played during!
Even though it was summer break and tourists like me were in abundance, it wasn't that crowded. Not in comparison to Paris at the same time. I enjoyed finding little nooks in quite neighborhoods and sitting at cafe's just taking it all in. I didnt feel overwhelmed by crowds even though I was visiting a lot of touristy places.
The tube was not difficult to navigate. I never got lost. When I first arrived I went to the closest underground station and purchased an Oyster card to use for my week of bus and subway rides. I put 30 pounds on it and had about 12 pounds left over by the end of the week that I had refunded back to my credit card. I used the Google Maps app to map everything and looked up subway directions as I was traveling. The app is an absolute must, it told me what station to go to and which "tube" to take along with the stops to look for. It was incredibly helpful to someone like me who is navigationally challenged.
Notting Hill is pretty hilly. I took the tube out there and walked all around Portobello Road market popping into little shops and had a light lunch at Bluebelles Cafe which was really delicious. I finally found all of the colorful townhouses which more than made up for the hill walking. This are located in little off streets of the main road so you have to hunt them down a bit.
The red phone booths are still neat (and they actually work, I asked) even if it is cliche to have your photo in one, it's an absolute must and we found the best place to have your photo taken in one with Big Ben in the background! I will share the exact location in the next post.
I can't get over how neat it is that London still upholds such formal traditions. Even though it seems strange to an American to have all of this fussy pomp, it really is special and I am so glad I got to see it. By the way, the weather on this day was 95 degrees. It was the hottest day in a decade and these poor guards had to have been absolutely suffocating in these outfits. God bless them.
I really liked this row of houses in Notting Hill. The green is super fun and I love the dark grays. Such beautiful and unique colors. It makes me want to paint my front door a bright color.
You need to wear comfy clothes and shoes when exploring and my Born Crown sandals and LOFT romper were perfect. I felt put together but also free to play.
Buckingham Palace is incredibly impressive, as it should be. It is enormous which you don't really understand from photos. Seeing it in person was so much fun. The intricate details in the architecture and gates are really something to see in person.
Speaking of gorgeous architectural details, the Tower Bridge from afar looks neat but up close you see all of the beautiful colors. It looked freshly painted and I am in love with the gold and blues on and surrounding the bridge.
We had so many great meals in London. I was warned that British food leaves much to be desired so I had very low expectations going in. I didn't have a bad meal the whole week. In fact, I had some of the best food ever in London. We tried traditional British cuisine and of course French and Italian restaurants. My favorites were Four to Eight, Champagne Frommage, and San Carlo Cicchetti. Also, we had mixte sandwiches in Paris and London that were delicious. I've never had better bread or deli meat in my life!
I will leave you with a little corner of the Tower of London surrounded by what I think is lavender. This is on the way to Tower Bridge and is a very old medieval castle that you can take a tour through. It was once guarded by lions.
Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed a peek into London. More of my favorite London moments to come!