So within hours I was in love with London! It just felt so quaint. Our hostel was located right by the Thames river and it was lovely to be in fresh sight of a body of water after being in Madrid for about a month with no body of water within sight. After living in San Diego, I had grown accustom to seeing water every day on my daily commute. Its just soothing.
Anyways, we arrived in the morning, dropped off our stuff at the hostel, and hit the ground running. We had 2 1/2 days in London and by golly we were going to see everything we could! The hostel advised us a bus right outside would take us where we wanted to go (which was picadilly circus) so we hopped on and try to interpret our money to give to the bus driver. Luckily, he was nice and helped us sort our change. I had finally gotten used to Euros and now I had to figure everything out in Pounds. So we start our journey through London and everywhere I looked, I just felt such a sense of joy by being in this amazing city.
The one tricky thing about riding a bus in a foreign city is that you need somewhat an idea of where you are going or else you won't know when to get off the bus. It was even trickier that day because after seeing the bus not turn where we thought it would (following along on our map), we realized the buses were still on the detour route from the Olympics, the paralympics olympics were taking place while we were there. So after we realized we were just getting further and further from picadilly circus, we decided to get off and have lunch. I was quite excited for lunch because Spanish food had not been curing my appetite very well. We had lunch at a pub and I had never been more excited to order a grilled chicken sandwich in my life (my go to menu item). I went for the combo and it came with beer, even better! America, you need to get on this trend.
Finally we navigate our ways by walking to Picadilly Circus. It felt like a mini Times Square.It had the electronic billboards and it was packed with tourists.
So then we just continued walking and taking pictures of everything. Everything we saw was so iconic, the Underground signs, the phone booths, the buses, Big Ben. The Olympic signs were still up to add a little flare to the photos. And I will admit, I got quite giddy when I saw all these things because I feel like it really captured London's quaintness.
When I first saw Big Ben, I was much more excited than I had anticipated. I am not really into history so I don't even know the significance of it but it just made you feel like you were in such a magical place. Maybe I watched Peter Pan and Mary Poppins one too many times. I have learned that my astrological sign, Virgo, has the tendency to research anything they have interest in as we are very curious. That night, I researched Big Ben. And since I am not into the history, I found the trivia about it more interesting. Turns out a girl has actually "married" Big Ben. I suddenly felt a little competition for my love, just kidding ;-) but look how cute we are together...
So we continue our wander in awe throughout the afternoon and get caught in a slight rain shower which we should have expected in London. It also started to get a little chilly so we attempted our route back to the hostel. As we were walking back, it seemed to be much farther than we thought so we stopped in a local pub for some kind of meat pie and cider. I say local pub because it was definitley outside of the hustle and bustle and a guy at the bar was smoking a pipe so I am sure we didn't look like we fit in. Nonetheless we left a little warmer and full on our way "home" for the night.
The next day we decided to tackle Camden market. I am a huge fan of markets, you never know what you are going to find! I loved this one, probably one of my favorites and I don't even care if it is touristy.
I also really loved the "food court." There were all these food vendors in one area along this little river and there were these long boats, not sure what they are called.
So Mariana really wanted to go to Abbey Road. I was not really excited about it, I mean its just a road. Like a real road too so there are people trying to drive on it. Its also really out of the way so logistically it wasn't the most efficient tourist spot but I was a good sport and accommodated Mariana to this hot spot.
**Note, if you decide to go see Abbey Road, do not go to the subway stop called Abbey Road. I don't remember the name of the subway stop where it really is but luckily we asked a policeman before we hopped on the Underground.
Mariana has our cool crossing the Abbey Road photos so if you want to see them, please see her. I am a slacker in blogging, she is a slacker in photo sharing.
After we did Mariana's tourist spot, we moved on to mine, Notting Hill! Yes, I wanted to go to Notting Hill just because of the movie, don't judge. Side note, Mariana made me go with her to see some Harry Potter spot so I felt this was equal. So off we went to see this cute town!
Unfortunately it was a little gloomy and the famous market there had closed for the day but we enjoyed walking around and ended up at a pub meeting some interesting Londoners. To make it short, lets just say this old man tried to convince Mariana, three guys, and I that he was famous but wouldn't tell us who he was. Also, one of the guys went to New Zealand to be a sheep shepherd and showed me photos for proof. I can't make this stuff up.
We then made our way back to the hostel to close out our second day in London.
**Traveling tip: find a hostel near a convenient store, restaurant, because if you are hungry, you are SOL unless brought snacks. There is a side story there but it is not significant enough for this blog. Let's just say there was alcohol involved and food was not to be found.
So our third and last day in London was quite grand like the others. We decided to do Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. I say we but Mariana did the Tower of London and I walked around. Mariana and I had different travel styles but found a nice compromise. I don't like museums, I like walking around and sitting in cafes, absorbing the culture. She likes history and museums. So while she did those things, I did my thing. The tricky part of this compromise is that we didn't have cell phones that worked in London so we had to time constraint our solo tours but I think it worked out well since we had limited time in the city anyways.
I really loved the Tower Bridge, it was my second love after Big Ben in London.Again, it could be a Peter Pan or Mary Poppins thing, I am not sure.
Yes, we really lucked out on the weather. I was so glad we didn't have to endure a foggy day in London town. We then continued our compromised exploration. Mariana went to Westminster Abbey and I walked around.
For evening activities we went our separate ways again, I saw the Michael Jackson show, and she went to see Phantom of the Opera. I wasn't impressed with my show, probably because it wasn't the real MJ, but Mariana enjoyed her show.
We then said "goodbye" to London the night before heading to Barcelona the next morning:
Thanks London for showing us a wonderful time! I will be back for sure!