Where to start… Obviously, I want to start at the beginning of my trip, but should I tell you guys about the obnoxious drive that took an extra 2 hours more than usual (almost 6 hours total) to get to my parents the night before the flight because of Spring Break traffic, or when I got my bunny man settled, he decided to chew on my mom’s 100 year old oak table like the naughty fuzzy-butt he is, or that I woke up at 5am the day of my flight hoping to exhaust myself by the evening so I would be able to sleep soundly on the plane (which didn’t happen)?
Well, I suppose that gives ya’ll enough details leading up to my trip. That works!
Our flight wasn’t until 6:15pm on Saturday, but my dad dropped us off at the air port around 4pm, which gave us plenty of time to do what we needed to do and grab some food (more specifically, Chipotle!) before boarding.
We flew via Virgin Atlantic which neither of us had before, but Fella knew that I did multiple research projects on Richard Branson throughout my college career (’cause he’s such a business genius!) and thought it would be cool to experience one of his many successful business ventures (plus, Fella found it to be decently priced, I’m sure). Let me just say: Virgin Atlantic has it goin on! Since it was an overnight flight, they provided everyone with mini survival kits that included: ear plugs, an eye mask, a small pillow and blanket, headphones, a pair of socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a pen. Again, I’ve never flown international before, so I don’t know if this is customary, but it was a nice little surprise.Even the food they served was delicious! I was very impressed (can you tell?).
Even with the help of the ear buds and eye mask, and me waking up extra early that morning in the hopes of being able to sleep on the plane, I was too excited and only got about 2 hours of sleep during the flight.
Now to the good part…
We landed in Heathrow around 6am and were on the tube to London by 7:30am. The hotel we booked allowed for guests to check luggage before check-in which is exactly what we did. We stayed at the London House Hotel, and upon arrival, we noticed it was far more chic than what we thought; it was very nice. The front desk staff were very welcoming and accommodating with our luggage and even provided us with a map of the city, which turned out to be very helpful. We then headed back to the Underground to go sightseeing. Fella asked me where I wanted to head to first and of course it had to be to Big Ben.
I should probably mention that I have a strange fascination with clocks. There are so many different kinds, different ages, different sounds… they’re just so cool! So obviously, Big Ben had to be my first stop in London.
And boy, I was not disappointed.
We climbed the steps out of Westminster Station and there he was in all his glory. I was so giddy! I must have taken 50 pictures in just the first 10 minutes, which, coming from a novice photographer, that’s a lot! I was in love (still am actually) with everything about him, but particularly his presence (which is a better way of saying his size without offending anyone).
We didn’t have any specific destination in mind after Big Ben, so we picked a direction and wondered. I got some more pictures of my new beau and some of the London Eye across the river. Fella spotted a sign for Trafalgar Square and decided we should head for that. On our way, we came across a sidewalk sign advertising a Full English Breakfast. Sold. It didn’t occur to us until after we were seated that it was an Italian café that served an English-style breakfast. Let me tell you: them Italians know how to do a Full English Breakfast. **Spoiler Alert!** Even after all the wonderfully amazing meals I had during my trip, this was by far the best. EVERYTHING WAS SO STINKIN’ DELICIOUS!
Fried eggs, bacon (for Americans, their bacon is more like a fried slab of ham), sausage with herbs, garlic mushrooms, baked beans, hash-brown triangle, grilled tomato, and toast… Oh My! Served with my first proper English tea. Maybe it was because this was my first real experience eating authentic English food (or as authentic as an Italian café can offer), but the entire meal was absolutely heavenly.
[Enough of the food already! What else did you see!?] Calm down there reader… I’m getting to that!
We made it to Trafalgar Square where there was really nothing to write home about except for a slightly erotic statue of a thumb… Fella decided that we were going to head for St. James’ Park next which would lead us to Buckingham Palace. I glanced at our map and pointed the way. Granted, it was the wrong way…We ended up finding China Town which I had never experienced anywhere, so I was pretty excited. There were so many lanterns! We made it out of China town and continued walking the opposite direction of St. James’ Park. We then realized we weren’t seeing anywhere that resembled a park and the number of pedestrians were dwindling, so we looked at the map again.
Back en route, we found what once was an entrance to the park, but it was closed due to construction. Of course! We started walking the general direction of the palace and came across 3 separate signs, all on differing street corners, pointing the way to the palace and stating only ‘3/4 mile.’ You read that right. All 3 signs, different distances, all saying the same thing. They made me giggle. 🙂
We made it to Buckingham Palace around noon and I wasn’t really thrilled by it. I think it’s charm disappeared when I saw officers with rifles laughing and joking with each other a mere 30 or so feet from the traditional palace guards marching back and forth. We then walked the perimeter of St. James’ Park (which was stunning!) and headed for the Underground to take us to Tower Bridge. Again, I wasn’t über impressed by the bridge; maybe because I was starting to get a bit cranky or the fact that it didn’t measure up to Benny boy… but I still managed a decent shot.
We made our way back to the tube to head to Hyde Park. As we crested the steps out of the Hyde Park Corner station, we noticed that the English weather had arrived; it was pouring. We then decided to turn-tail and head back to the hotel for a power nap and skip Hyde Park. Other than the pathetic 2 hours of sleep I got on the plane, I had been ‘going’ for close to 34 hours, so a nap was a necessity at that point.
After our much needed nap, it was dinner time, but because neither of us felt particularly fresh after spending 7 hours on a plane, 9 hours frolicking around London, then 2 hours drooling all over ourselves (kidding!), we decided it was best to shower first. After my much needed ‘hosing off,’I began to style my hair using my personal power tool from home with an adapter of course, and wouldn’t you know- the damn thing blew up! And by the damn thing, I mean the adapter, my hair care device, and the power socket (actually, all the power sockets in the room). Well shit. I made do with hair mousse and willing my hair to stay in place (didn’t happen).
Fella wanted me to experience authentic fish and chips for dinner, but seeing as there were no places in the area ‘authentic enough’ for Fella’s liking, we ended up at a local pub, Bayswater Arms, where I got my first taste of bangers and mash. I think the sausage (or bangers) were a few hours old as they had a bit of a weird texture and they weren’t very warm, but the flavors where wonderful.
Since it was dark, we decided to head back out to see my main man Ben and get some shots of him all lit up. That handsome devil did not disappoint! I mean, just look at him, will ya!? I also dragged Fella (in the rain I might add) to the other side of the river so I could get pictures of the London Eye from the other side all lit up. Hey Sarah, does this picture look familiar?
After snapping this pic, we made out in the rain (cause what’s a trip to London without a little smoochin’ in the rain?), then headed back to the tube.
That was pretty much it for our time in London. We went back to the hotel for the night and woke up the next morning with one destination in mind: Paris.
Here are some more pics from our time in London. Enjoy!