So I may have mentioned, gloated, bragged, shouted from the roof tops, that we went on an epic vacation a few weeks ago. My first ever BIG trip out of the country. I've gone on cruises with my parents to Mexico when I was a kiddo, but for some reason, I never felt like that counted. This counted. I got my passport stamped and it was so exciting!!! We had tons of fun and since this space is where I share my everyday life and adventures, it is surely a place where I plan to share my trips. I am going to break it up into parts so I don't blast you with 300 photos at once and this post is all about London!
London was the first part of our 2 week trip. We left Oakland around 8pm on Monday and arrived on Tuesday to Gatwick airport right around 1:30PM London time. We stayed until Friday and honestly, I wish I had one more day (or a week really) to soak up this city. We crammed tons of stuff in, but there was so much more! So off we go...our first photo of the trip. At BART none the less.
And that's right, you see backpacks...yeah, we were badass and that's is ALL we brought. Holy cow, I still don't know how I did it, but I did. Ok, I know how, lots of organizing, trying on all my outfits on in advance, photography of said the outfits, packing cubes, and wine. I managed. We did Air BnBs throughout the whole trip, so all of our places had washers. Some washers, come to find out, were better than others, but it was totally fine. I actually was so thankful I didn't have to haul a big suitcase around the whole trip. And, I did less shopping knowing I couldn't bring much back - not that great, but eh, ya know. Spent more money on food instead (GELATO!)
Alright, first things first (after we got to our place and I took a shower). Fish and Chips!! We found this place right around the corner from our apartment and were on it! The portions huge. The amount of chips - a lot. And delicious. And cheap! We actually split this because it was so much food.
I'm a sucker for a great floor. And this is one of my two pairs of shoes I brought (I can hear my mom and sister disbelievingly laughing at this statement.)
Next, a beer to cheers our arrival.
Cask Pub and Kitchen was a new "neighborhood pub" for the next couple of days. Sadly after two beers here then a quick stroll around the hood with some dinner we were dragging!!! Jet lag kicked in and we had to turn in for the night. Maybe around 7:30pm. Ouch...I know. I was hoping to make it longer, but just couldn't do it and we didn't want to be too run down for the next days, so we bite the bullet and conked out.
Woke up to take in our hood view. We had a great little Air BnB! It was central, simple, no frills, and reasonably priced. It actually was better looking than the photos! A nice surprise actually.
Our first breakfast was right down the road at Pimlco Fresh. I honestly had no desire to eat a "traditional" English breakfast of fried stuff and beans, but so this amazing. Chris had the savory french toast and I had the green eggs on toast, which was a lovely smashed avocado, bacon, fresh pesto with tomatoes and olive oil. It was so delicious and good fuel for our day ahead.
From there, we really didn't have a plan. I had a list of things to see, but knew I couldn't get to them all, so we just started walking to see what we could see. First stop was Westminster Abbey and I saw in awe.
The detail on this place was insane. INSANE. And so beautiful.
Then we turned the corner to see Parliament Square and Big Ben. We walked across the River Thames to get another view and back again.
From there, we decided to stroll through some of London's amazing green parks (this is St. James Park) and make our way to Buckingham Palace.
Um, I'll take that gold gate outside my house, thank you.
We didn't end up staying for the Changing of the Guards. We got there about an hour before and the place was a mad house. Since we knew our time was limited, we made a decision to just keep moving.
The Churchhill War Rooms were right around the corner, so off we went. We spent a couple of hours roaming around these rooms and engulfing ourselves in so much history!
These are some of the signs I really liked.
I think I need them for my kitchen actually.
After that, we headed to grab some lunch in Covent Garden, explored, and watched some street performers. We grabbed lunch at a small little sandwich shop and found a church garden to sit in to eat it (no photo of that one - sorry). After that, we decided to head back to the house for a little siesta since we figured we'd be out late.
After our nap - we eat again!! We left our placed and walked all around SoHo. We decided to grab some ramen at Bone Daddies and OMG was it GOOD! Spicy Edamame and Pork Bone broth that took like days to make. Delish - go there.
After dinner, which was the only thing we really had planned, was seeing Les Miserables. I've never seen or heard much about the story of Les Mis and I was blown away. We saw three shows in NYC, and this one is now totally near the top of the list as the best (Book of Morman is still #1!).
Day 2! We woke up early for another busy day and had a light breakfast of cappuccinos and croissants at The Roasting.
We got to see all the Crown Jewels, Armor, crazy weapons, and more in this castle.
These guards are rude by the way. I was just walking by and they started screaming at me to move! Haha...I had no idea I was in their way actually. Whoops.
They had some alright views, yeah? The Tower Bridge! So fun - the Golden Gate still has my heart, don't worry.
On our way to The Met. We for a quick lunch along the way...FISH AND CHIPS! AGAIN! So damn good.
Wow - such amazing art in this place. And it is FREE! I didn't take many photos of the art inside. I tried my best to be present and really embrace all that was around me. But Warhol. Warhol is one my favorite.
This sign...I mean, they know us right?
We crossed the bridge to gaze upon St. Paul's Cathedral. Another beauty of work.
Next up - The National Gallery. Another powerhouse of art! We looked around, but didn't stay too too long here. Honestly, we were a little tired at this point.
The museum did give me a good reminder though.
All that damn history and art made us THIRSTY - next for us. A pub crawl in true Kennedy Style.
Our first stop was The Harp. I mean, you can't bet that pub view. We went to another place after that, but honestly, the beer was bad, so they don't even get a photo.
After that was a little dinner at The Indian Diner. Food goals #2 (#1 was the fish and chips) was Indian Food. Goal met. The food at this place was spot on. The servers were a little creepy as they hovered a bit and one literally looked like Doby from Harry Potter, which made me wonder if JK went to this place for dinner at all? But it was weird. The food good. Everything else: weird.
Day 3: The next morning...we needed another cappuccino from The Roasting. We just did.
We only had half a day before we had to get the train to the next airport for Italy. We headed to go visit the Natural History Museum for the morning. It ended up being a huge line to get it and we couldn't stay to wait. We decide to cut our losses, get back to our place, pack up and get to Kings Cross.
By the time we got there...it was time for our last lunch in London! Dishoom!! I was SO excited to see they had one at King's Cross. We tried to go the evening before near Covent Garden but it was nearly a two hour wait.
They had okra fries - be still out southern hearts.
And the best Chai tea this girl has ever had. It was a perfect ending to our London jaunt. But like I said, there was so much more!! That's ok though, just leaves room for next time.
We browsed King's Cross. I gazed upon Platform 9 3/4 (the line for a photo was ridiculously long) and we were off to the airport to board the plane to Rome!!
Here's a quick link up/list of all things London we ate at, browsed, drank, and visited:
- Pimlico Neighborhood and our AirBnB
- Pimlico Fish and Chips
- Cask Pub and Kitchen
- Nando's - had a late lunch here one day
- Pimlico Fresh - lovely fresh breakfast
- Westminster Abbey
- Big Ben
- Buckingham Palace
- St. James Park
- Churchill War Rooms
- Covent Gardens
- Chequers - a little sandwich shop we stopped at and had lunch in a church garden around Covent Garden area
- Bone Daddies in SoHo
- See a show
- The Tower of London
- The Tate Modern
- The Millennium Bridge
- St. Paul's Cathedral
- Pub Crawl at The Harp and Craft Beer Co (drink all The Kernal for me)
- The Indian Diner
- Dishoom (Chai tea is on the house free refills - drink it up!)
- King's Cross