Last weekend, the crew and I finally got out of Ireland and traveled to the beautiful London, England. I say finally because, although we’ve only been here for a little over a month, it feels as though we’ve been here for quite longer than that.
When Meghan studied abroad, her blog was quite the rave about London, and she still swears that it is her favorite city in the entire world. I’m not going to lie, from my very brief visit when I was younger (maybe 10-years-old?), I didn’t think it was that great. Maybe it was because we were rushing around, or I was too young to appreciate the city. Still, I went into the trip with a positive attitude, thinking, I’m older, and we have more than a few hours to see the sights.
And Meghan, I get it.
London is quite the city. You can be staring at Westminster Abbey, appreciating the old architecture and beautiful windows, and then turn around and see modern skyscrapers. It’s hard to put into words what I was so enamored with in London, but I definitely liked it a whole lot more this time than the last time.
Pro traveling tip #1: Even if you look super cute, bring your comfortable shoes anyway for walking.
Friday, I wandered the city by myself and saw Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Daunt Books (a store that is so cool and chock full of really amazing books – and also a store where Meghan got me a subscription where I got a new book every month that was tailored to my novel and poetry preferences), and I got to have lunch with one of my sorority sisters, Cameron! Then, we had dinner at Wahaca (Meghan’s suggestion), a Mexican restaurant. I was a happy camper.
Saturday, we went to Westminster Abbey and spent quite some time there. Before we went in, we took our obligatory photos of Big Ben. It’s so cool and totally beautiful. We saw Charles Darwin’s grave, Isaac Newton’s, Queen Elizabeth I’s, Queen Mary’s, Mary Queen of Scots’, Richard II’s, and many more. It was actually quite difficult to walk through the Abbey without walking over a grave. My superstitions were going wild. On our way out of the Abbey, we saw people heading into Saint Margaret’s Church (the church right in front of Westminster Abbey) for a wedding. It was very fancy, and the people attending were clearly very rich, and I very much wanted to go in and see it.
Pro traveling tip #2: Download the app Citymapper to use as a map. It works so well, and has the maps of the tube, the subway, the metro and bus schedules as well.
After the Abbey, we headed to Borough Market, a very busy but fun market full of raw ingredients, spices, fruits, vegetables, and good food to eat. We had lunch there and it was so so good. From there, we headed to King’s Cross Station to take our obligatory Harry Potter photos (spoiler alert: you can’t actually get through the wall to Platform 9 3/4).
From King’s Cross, we went to Hyde Park and saw the sunset there. We went to dinner at really good restaurant called The Minories (good find, Kim!). I had the El Mariachi burger (sans bun), which was basically a (really good) burger with jalapeños, guacamole, pico de gallo, and lettuce on top. I thought it would be best to keep with my Mexican food dinners in London. Everyone else (Guy, Kaitlin, Kim, and Conor) had more traditional British food, but as most of it is fried and/or very bready, I did not partake.
After dinner, we walked to the Tower of London to see it all lit up, and to see the Tower Bridge at night. It was very beautiful and we were all very glad we walked down to see the view. Then, we explored an area called Covent Garden – very touristy but very beautiful at night – again at Meghan’s suggestion.
Sunday morning, the boys left really early for Ireland, so the girls and I headed to the British Museum to explore for a short time before we headed to the London Eye. This was a totally touristy experience, but the views were cool! Mom would not have enjoyed it – even I had some trouble looking at the top!
We all really liked London, so I call the trip a success. Now we’re back in Ireland looking forward to our next few trips, and really settling into school (because midterms, you know?).
P.S. I didn’t take too many photos on the trip, and I am sorry for that, but my friends did so I’m sure I could get you all copies if you’d like.