“Oh this has gotta be the good life.”
Speaking of this song, I obviously had it stuck in my head ALL weekend and when I brought it up to my travel buddies Kurt and Kyle I was 100% sure it was sung by Coldplay. Kyle on the other hand thought it was Natasha Bedingfield or Colbie Cailiat, the F? We ended up betting 3.5 Pounds (5 USD, like 1 drink in London).. turns out neither of us were right and it’s One Republic, but Natasha..? Come on man up, Kyle! (99.9% chance he’ll never see this)
I fell in love with London this weekend. I felt like I was living out Love Actually and Spice World (aka reliving my childhood).
“Britain. We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that” (Love Actually).
Never thought I was going to enjoy myself as much as I did. Besides the fact that everything is so damn expensive there (thanks to our crappy economy) I loved every moment! Well.. give or take a few Here are some of the best and worst highlights of the trip!
- The first thing we see when we step foot in london!
- THE ACCENTS! Ugh, amazeballs. Even men describe things as “lovely” or say “Do you fancy a…?” Girls everywhere swoon over this stuff.
- Our stay – I STAYED AT MY FIRST HOSTEL! It was called St. Christopher’s Inn which is just a couple blocks over the London Bridge. Free breakfast, 2 pubs with food/drink discounts, and the location was ideal! The first 2 nights myself, Kurt, and Kyle stayed in a 4 bed room with a Brazilian guy. We talked and lived with him for 2 days and never asked his name.. but we switched it up every couple hours (Rafael, Ronaldinho, Felipe, etc.)
- Sightseeing! The first day was typical gray, crappy, cold, London weather. We decided to knock out some (free!) museums and walk along the Thames. On our way we walked through this awesome outdoor market, Borough Market, and let me tell you.. the smell was alarming at first, but the food looked incredible.
We then walked past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and I don’t know why I was excited because I truly dislike the man and all the terrible confusion he has caused me in life.
First we went to the Tate Modern Art museum, it was so nice to take a break from the frigid wind for a little while and just walk around. I must not have a very artistic/imaginative mind because everything looked like something I could make with my eyes closed.
Then we crossed the Millennium bridge – doin our thang; takin selfies – to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
As our hands started to numb, we walked along the river up towards Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. There were TONS of bikers and runners, I mean if I lived in a city that beautiful I’d probably pick up running too! Well… lets not get too ahead of ourselves, “Yeah, no, don’t sign me up for cardio” – Fat Amy. Even on a ugly day this city was breathtaking!
And the walking continues.. we passed miles and miles of London telephone booths and I swear, one day (in the fantasy world I live in) I will be kissed in a telephone booth.
Just a short walk up the street was Buckingham Palace. It’s surrounded by peaceful parks and a little lake with swans and fountains.. aka pretty frikkin magical. The guards outside kept pacing back and forth doing some pivots and high knees. A couple women walked out wearing the huge, fluffy iconic hats – should have got me one of those to make me look like a classy betch.
I’m really curious as to how someone gets a job as a guard. Like what’s the application process? Do they have requirements like, you can’t have any sense of humor, you need to be chronically miserable, you can’t like to smile and be friendly? Well I didn’t get him to budge, maybe flashing him my chest would have worked (Nani Jude, can you test that theory out for me?!)
Now it was time to meet Kyle’s friend Andrew in Soho! Soho was unreal. The shopping, the theatre districts (really wish I had more time to see Les Mis or Jersey Boys.. sad reality), the dining, casinos, the craziness!! Andrew led us in the direction of Oxford and Regents Streets which is shopping central, and THANK GOD I was on this trip with the boys or else I’d be too tempted to splurge. BEWARE LADIES.
It’s very touristy (TGI Fridays, M&M World, cheapy steak joints on every corner), but definitely a must see!
The second day was perfectly sunny, cool, and clear weather which means LONDON EYE AND TOWER BRIDGE BABAY! We walked along the Thames the opposite way from the day before, until we hit the gigantic Tower Bridge! We walked up to the top for an awesome view of the city, not as great as the London Eye, but definitely worth it! Did you know that some guy bought the London Bridge and rebuilt it in Arizona? When we went through Immigration and the officer asked us what we were excited to see Kyle answered, “London Bridge!” Multiple officers looked at each other and just laughed in our face.. stupid Americans.
Up next : LONDON EYE! We raced a couple miles back to the London Eye to make our 12pm reservation. Buy a day and night pass (online)! It’s just a couple pounds more than the day pass and gives you the full London effect. Make sure you don’t get stuck in the capsule with a group of asians, too many peace sign pics & the way they quickly shuffle and scurry around made me really nervous to be in a glass bubble so high off the ground..
and at night…
- CAMDEN TOWN! Probably my favorite place we saw in London! Andrew took us, we got to ride in the sweet taxis they have in London that make you feel like you’re in Harry Potter! Camden was so eye opening and probably the biggest culture shock I’ve witnessed thus far. It’s a small alternative, hippie, punk town built over a canal. People walking around in full leather and chain punk outfits. Dragons and Monsters hanging off buildings. And the coolest market area called Camden Lock! Tons of food stands from fish n chips, to “Cupcakes and SHHHT”, to pancake stands, and more paella. We got a steaming slice of crispy apple pie and walked along the canal. It’s lined with houseboats and if you peak in you’ll see people just livin the Good Life. It’s so bizarre, but I fell in love with the town’s vibe. A MUST SEE!
- FOOD! The first day when we met Andrew in Soho, he took us to get Thai food and ZOOOMGGG IT WAS AMAZING (And he paid for it all!)! My mouth is watering just thinking about the pad thai. That night we ate at the pub right below us and had classic fish n’ chips! Felt like I was back in Australia.. but wait, I’M IN LONDRA! Drinking Mexican beer in London? Yeah, that’s the cheap college student thing to do. Ran across the street to finish the night with a 1 Pound 8 pack of ice cream bars, demolished them like champs.
The next day we caved. Yes. We had Chipotle. AND I LOVED EVERY BITE OF IT! I’m really missing fountain drinks, well actually just my raspberry iced tea! But the chips and guac, how could we not!
- GOT TO SEE MY BESTEST FRAND, CIARA “GOODIES” COLLINS! Ciara’s studying at City University in London and it was her 20th birthday this past week which was half the reason I went this weekend. She took a cab out by us (cause she rocks and is the greatest friend), but I waited outside in the rain for her for 45 min because she had some (4) ATM technical difficulties and we couldn’t communicate (so we’re even). Classic Mario-Kierzy dilemma. Ah I cannot explain how amazing it was to catch up, listen to her highly animated stories, and naturally end the night with some irish car bombs.
- Each way the travel time was 9 hours.. we took a bus, then another bus, then a plane, then another bus, then a walk there. And back we took the tube, then bus, then plane, then bus, another bus, then a walk home. Nauseating stop-n-go bus rides next to stinky people.. my worst enemy.
- Remember when I told you the first 2 nights we each had our own beds and a Brazilian roommate? Well that room was unavailable the 3rd night and we had to get a 2 bed room, and guess where I slept? If you guessed the cold hardwood floor then you’re cold hearted, but certainly right! Thanks boys, so sweet of you to make me sleep on the ground, on my towel, in my puffy North Face jacket. Chivalry is definitely DEAD. (Unless you want to take in account the nice Indian man I sat with on the plane home who gave me a giant Chunky Kit Kat Bar because he woke me up – probably took him forever for those of you who know my sleeping habits – so he could go to the bathroom).
- Rome Immigration – there honestly must have been huge shipments of Asian people coming into Rome and we got stuck smack dab in the middle of their group. We stood in immigration for 45 minutes, as each one with their Hello Kitty backpacks got thoroughly interrogated. They would have been laughable if I wasn’t so tired and pissed off. The little Asian man behind me even had a Gangnam Style ringtone.. can’t get more stereotypical than that!
SORRY FOR SUCH A LONG POST! IT WAS JUST A “BRILLIANT” WEEKEND AND IF YOU GET THE CHANCE: GO!
I’m in Rome this weekend, so until next time. Ciao!!!