A bite of the British life: London

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.

The Battle of Britain Monument
The Battle of Britain Monument is located on the Victoria Embankment, along the River Thames

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.

A narrow side street in London
I wish I could go back and weave my through those classic, narrow streets…

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

Inside Covent Garden Market
The natural light is gorgeous, right?

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.

Flowers everywhere.

sitting on the grass with flowers around me
Um, can I live here?

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.

underground at The Tube
You know how our signature subway phrase is “Stand clear of the closing doors, please”? Theirs is “Mind the gap”

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.

Posing in front of red telephone booth
Serious question: has anyone made a phone call from one of these since the ’90s?

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.

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.

Vibrant patterned book covers on a bookshelf
Most vibrant book/journal covers in the world…

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).

The pubs.

Marisa drinking a beer with her phone on the table
Ended our day with a cold pint at The Plough, which is right by The British Museum

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!

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