Monday, April 16, 2018

London Calling, Part 01

I have wanted to go to London ever since I was in the sixth grade and first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. True, the majority of this story doesn't take place in London, but I associated the city with magic because of it - and so, my dream of going to London was born. While I still haven't gone on my ultimate dream trip (which involves going with my best friend since the sixth grade, my cousin Carmela and my husband Macky), I was pretty darn lucky to be finally able to visit the city this year with my sister Melissa for a long weekend trip.

After taking a red-eye flight on Thursday night (which was, unfortunately, very cramped and uncomfortable and meant I didn't sleep a wink), I went through the usual hustle and bustle at the airport before hopping a train on the London Underground. It was a straight shot from there to our designated meeting spot: King's Cross Station. I left my luggage (Honestly, Left Luggage is the best thing ever!), then met up with an old friend - my high school English/Drama/Creative Writing teacher, Jess Bermudez. We grabbed a bite at the Fortnum & Mason in nearby St. Pancras International, before we finally met up with Mel and could start our walking tour of all the sites in London.

We began by walking through Green Park (all of the daffodils!) until we hit Buckingham Palace (the queen was in!). We wandered through St. James Park, walked through the Horse Guards parade,  and waved at the Prime Minister when we went by 10 Downing Street. We grabbed the prerequisite red phone booth photo (despite the scaffolding) and paid our respects at Westminster Abbey, before walking across Westminster Bridge and taking a photo or two with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben as our backdrop.





We split up for a little bit after walking past the London Eye and across the Hungerford and Golden Jubilee Bridges, with Mel heading back to King's Cross for a bit and Sir JB and I making our way to Trafalgar Square. We popped into the National Gallery for a brief peek, before we wandered to his favorite Japanese restaurant Misato for lunch.


We reconvened with Mel at Piccadilly Circus, and took the Underground over to the area of St. Paul's Cathedral. It was a lovely afternoon for a leisurely walk over the Millennium Bridge (where we stopped for peanuts) and over to the Tate Modern (where we popped in for a brief wander). We walked past Shakespeare's Globe (where I geeked out a little), crossed the Tower Bridge and checked out the Tower of London as our last site for the day. The night came to a close as we reclaimed our luggage, took the train to Bedford and settled into Sir JB's lovely country home for a nightcap and a good night's sleep.






The next morning, we had a delicious breakfast (homemade waffles, bacon + coffee) before setting out for a quick road trip to Cambridge. Visiting the university city hadn't been on our original itinerary, but I'm so glad we wound up doing it! We got to wander the grounds and catch glimpses of a variety of landmarks - King's College, Trinity College, the Cambridge University Library, and the River Cam - before we headed out again and back to London.




After bidding goodbye to Sir JB, Mel and I checked into Point A Hotel. We freshened up a little before venturing out to Oxford St. to do some shopping (primarily at Primark and Stradivarius, though we ducked into a couple of other shops just to browse as well). We dropped our haul off back at the hotel before finishing off the night with a delicious dinner at Dishoom (seriously, would highly recommend this restaurant - so worth the wait!).



And there you have it, my recap of the first two days of my trip to London (and to Cambridge)! Be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow to check out what happened on days three and a half.

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