Two weekends ago I jetted off on my first solo excursion! Before you get any ideas it was not totally solo, just the travel leg of the journey (baby steps people, baby steps!) I flew to London to visit my college roommates and besties who are studying there for the semester. I was very nervous to be flying by myself, on my second big trip of the semester, but this semester is all about growing and becoming more independent, so off I went! I was maybe a little too psycho about getting to the airport early (my roommates can attest and probably thought I was crazy wanting to leave at 6:30 am for a 10 am flight home) but I would rather have time to figure things out, especially since I was by myself (and had to take the Tube and a 40 minute train to get to the airport), and sit around for an hour than be rushing and stressing about catching my flight! I have just heard too many horror stories! I made both my flights and everything went smoothly so lets move on to the fun stuff!
I arrived Thursday night in London Gatwick airport. I then had to buy a train ticket to Victoria Station and then get the tube to the stop where my friends live. While I was in line to buy my train ticket I struck up a conversation with this other American girl who was getting her masters in London. She was so nice and I was asking her questions and she even gave me an old Oyster card (what you load money onto for the metro system so you don’t have to buy individual tickets) This card is worth 5 pounds and it is just a reminder that there are still good people in this world and that simple kind gestures go a long way for someone. I started off my trip on a high note would be an understatement.
Thank god I had an international calling plan so I could keep in touch with my friends and update them on my arrival. They met me outside the Tube station and it was so good to see their faces again! I have missed my roomies so much! We stayed up way to late that night chatting and catching up. We finally headed to bed because we had to get up early the next day for their Friday class.
My friends’ professor had kindly let me tag along for their class in Trafalgar square and after a few hours of exploring monuments we were let go for the day. We then had a delicious brunch, met up with other friends and made our way to all the touristy spots downtown. We saw Downton Abbey, Big Ben, the Eye and Buckingham Palace. We took tons (and I mean tons) of cheesy touristy pics in the phone booths. We then separated from our friends and headed to Covent Gardens to walk around and meet back up with my roommate.
That night we headed to a local pub for Fish and Chips (with mushy peas…apparently a must with fish and chips haha). It was such a fun atmosphere and the food was delicious. Later we went out to a local club where we met up with other friends from Fairfield (seeing a trend…everyone and their mother was in London visiting this weekend!).
After staying out way to late the night before, our 9 AM alarm was not exactly a pleasant noise to hear. But we wanted to make the most of my last day in London. We got up, got ready, hopped on the tube and made our way to Notting Hill. We had scoured Pinterest for things to do in Notting Hill (anyone else do this??!!) and found this brunch place called Farmgirl that people raved over. Of course there was a wait when we arrived but it wasn’t bad and the food was delicious and very healthy. I ended up getting a Latte (my first coffee in Europe after living here for a month..I am not a huge coffee drinker) and an acai bowl. After that we made our way through Portabella Market stopping at all the cute stands that were selling wears on the sidewalks. Also guys! the colorful buildings!! Swoon!! I may or may not have gotten a little two excited and snapped way too many photos. If I hit it rich someday I would buy a house on this road. We then decided we wanted to see the Parent Trap house and google mapped our way there. It was just so fun wandering through the beautiful english neighborhoods with houses I don’t even want to know how much they cost 😉
I was also very fortunate to have gone on a weekend where the weather was beautiful (the weather gods were on my side!). It only rained a little friday night and a little saturday morning but it never interfered with our plans! My friends kept telling me how much a rarity this was.
Another thing that was super weird was hearing english being spoken in public. After spending a month living in Madrid and hearing spanish everywhere I was not used to it. I found myself saying sorry in Spanish if I accidentally bumped into someone or going to start to ask a waiter for something in Spanish and then realizing I could speak English! I also loved the British accent (who doesn’t?!?) and my friends and I would jokingly speak with an accent as we walked through the streets haha. I could also get used to guys who bump into you on the metro saying “Sorry Love” 😉
Friday night after walking over 12 miles!! (our legs felt like noodles) we met up with some college friends who were visiting London that weekend from Galway and one of my best friends from home who was visiting from Grenada, Spain (I told you there were a ton of people in London!). We had a nice leisurely dinner chatting and spending time together. We then headed back to my friends dorm because I had an early flight to catch in the morning!
It was a great weekend visiting my college roommates who I have missed so much and seeing beautiful London. I saw so much in just 2 short days but definitely have added London to my list to go back and visit because there is just so much to see and do!
Have you ever been to London? What you you say is a must see? I would love to know so I can add it to my list for next time!