I’ll admit it—as soon as I heard the chorus and second verse of “London Boy” from Taylor Swift’s new album, my heart ached. Each line just made me want to go back and experience London all over again. But since I can’t do that (at least until my friend Hannah moves there this winter and I can go visit her), I figured I’d reminisce on some of my favorite things from the lovely two days I spent there!
The city is dripping with history.
I’m kind of bummed that I don’t remember the British history I learned in middle school and high school, because there are monuments and memorials everywhere you go in London. It would have been nice to know the story behind some of them (and Google wasn’t accessible on limited data). Nevertheless, it was amazing to take it all in and think about how much has happened over thousands of years!
London is incredibly similar to New York.
I had heard this before I traveled to England’s capital, but once I saw it for myself, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to live there instead. Some commonalities included the pulse of traffic, the blend of cultures and ethnicities, the huge corporate buildings, the groups of tourists and just the urban nature that’s difficult to put into words. Of course, it’s difficult to fully compare the two because I’ve been in New York for much longer.
Apple Market – Covent Garden
Full disclosure right now: I didn’t know the names of some of the spots on this list (including this one) until I looked up the location from my iPhone’s camera roll. My friend Lucas was on a mission to show Marisa and me as much as possible, and he didn’t always narrate where we were (gotta love his enthusiasm and sense of adventure)! Anyways, this was one of those spots. If you ever go, do not pass up Venchi Chocolate and Gelato. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of my cone because it melted fast AF.
You bet I quite literally stopped to smell the roses because there were a LOT of them. I’m telling you, the English deserve an award for their gardening and landscaping skills. The photo above was taken at Whitehall Gardens, where the three of us took a much-needed power nap in the sun. Yes. Right there. On the perfectly manicured grass. It was delightful.
Walkability and transportation.
We happened to be in London during its major heat wave… and unlike NYC, London does not have air conditioning on the Tube (their version of the subway). As a result, we walked as much as possible. Although it was kind of a pain to lug around our overnight bags, we still saved a lot of money by traveling on foot (not to mention, the view was prettier above ground than underground). When we did use the Tube or the train, service was fairly quick!
Just getting to be a tourist.
As much as I didn’t want to be seen as “that American tourist,” I figured I might as well embrace it because that’s exactly what I was, right? Lucas was so kind, taking many pictures of Marisa and me and letting us poke fun at British culture. I owe him a couple pints on my next trip for that 🙂
Visiting with Lucas’ parents at their home in North London.
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Walking 22,500+ steps through London yesterday (and nearly 25k steps the day before!) was definitely worth it for this beautiful dinner 😍 – My friend Lucas and his parents were so kind to host us from Monday to Tuesday at their picturesque home in North London. We felt right at home and really enjoyed their company! Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Hartzig for having us, you’re the sweetest people and are both really great cooks! 👍🏻 🍽
We had so much fun at the Hartzig household! The whole family is so sweet, and Lucas’ parents treated Marisa and I like we were VIP guests. They cooked delicious dinners for us, took a genuine interest in our visit (and our American lives), and let us spend the night!
Tate Modern and The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
I’m not a huge art museum fan to begin with, but I couldn’t resist catching a break from the hot weather. As it turns out, I did like quite a few of the paintings, pieces and exhibits we looked at, which was pleasantly surprising. Being a creative-minded person, it was kind of cool to be in a space like that, wondering what inspired artists to create the masterpieces they did (although those canvases with just a few lines of paint dragged haphazardly across them still confuse me with their value).
If you read my last two or three posts, you already knew this was going to make the list. I’m dying for an ice-cold Amstel in a vinyl booth as I write this. In the famous words of Ed Sheeran, “take me back to London.”
Last but not least, I want to thank all of you for reading this mini-series and supporting it through your likes, comments and shares. I was hesitant at first to take my blog posts in a different direction (at least temporarily), but I couldn’t be happier about how well they were received. My first trip abroad to England was an absolute dream and I wish I could relive it all over again. I hope to do another mini-series when I go to Paris, but I have a little saving to do first 😉
If there are any other cities you think I should feature, please let me know! I hope you all have a lovely start to your week!