You can see why everyone loves London. Not only do you have the perks a big city offers like a great transit system, amazing food and things to do, but you also have a wealth of history you can’t find anywhere else. While I’ve been here before, I was excited to explore it again with Katie and we’re lucky we have multiple friends in the city which gave us places to stay and friends to hang out with. So our nights we were living like locals and our days like tourists.
Our days in the city were spent in very typical tourist fashion with lots of walking and tube riding to see things like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Eye of London and multiple museums. The highlight for me though was seeing the Broadway musical, Wicked. Katie didn’t know what she was getting into as I have been singing the songs pretty much every day since. When she gets mad I just tell her I’m defying gravity and she can’t pull me down.
We first crashed with our good friend Natasa as her roommates were gone and offered us their room. It was an awesome place just north of Hyde Park on Edgware Road which gave us easy access to the tube for sightseeing and the park for some long runs. It also had a plethora of ethic food within arm’s reach. Natasa still had to work while we were there but she did a great job of hanging out whenever she could and we also scored when her sister Marina came in to spend time with us too.
The first night they took us out to Dinerama, an awesome indoor/outdoor bar with delicious street food vendors all circled around communal areas. This was a great place to just hang out, grab some cocktails and sample yummy foods.
The second night we went to a pop-up cocktail festival where about 25 alcohol brands had booths set up and each making one specialty cocktail. Each elaborate drink was $5 and the booths tried outdoing each other with the fanciest cocktail. One place served drinks in a personal shaker, others drinks in coconuts and my personal favorite was the Bailey’s milkshake with real pumpkin pie slices inside (picture below).
At the cocktail festival, we also reunited with a couple of friends, Ashley and Will. Ashley is a friend I’ve known since college who recently moved to London to manage the opening of their new flagship Lululemon store. Will is a past boyfriend of Natasa’s, from years ago when I met her, who was working to rekindle things (fast forward to now and it worked!). Will is good people so we were stoked about it. With those two added to the mix we had a regular group to go out with and have some fun. After the cocktail festival, we made our way to a bar, Bounce, that specializes is black light ping pong. Seems random but it was amazing and we spent the night playing ping pong, dancing and drinking until late.
After our couple of days at Natasa’s we switched places to stay with our other friend, Stephanie. She is the one we met at surf school in Brazil and met up again with in Portugal a few months back. It was fun getting a few days and meals in with her and nice as she lived only two miles away from Natasa’s making it an easy transition and hopefully we didn’t overstay our welcome at either place.
All in all, a great time and a true reminder of the unique position we’re in traveling full-time. We were in a typical westernized working city during the work week while everyone else was getting up early and going to work, we were lollygagging around and just having fun. It gave us a nice gut check and reminder on how we are on the right side of the grass is greener equation!