A few weeks ago, I took a trip to London and had an absolute blast! It reminded me so much of home (minus the insane prices and silly accents) and I definitely got really comfortable really quickly. Additionally, my roommate and England-native, Rose, came along with me for the weekend and it was great to share the time with her.
I started out the first day getting into London around (normal) lunch time and taking about an hour and a half bus ride from Stansted airport to my hostel near Kings Cross station. It was my first time staying in a group room in a hostel so I was a little nervous but still excited for the experience. The hostel itself (Generator London) was really cool, modern and upbeat with lots of spaces to hang out, socialize if you want to or just chill on your own comfortably. The room situation was interesting too since most of the people in my room had been there for weeks trying desperately to find a place to live. Rent in London is absolutely insane (think NYC prices and then add a little bit more), so hostels are definitely the cheaper option for the time being. However, I couldn’t imagine living in a hostel for weeks, especially being in the top bunk like I was. Let me tell you, I’m WAY too old to be in the top bunk and ladders in the morning are tough, but I pushed through the awkward climb up and down. Anywho, back to day one! I started the day out scouting a true fish and chips spot because I had to know if it is actually better than in the states, and yes, it is 10000% better in England. It was soo yummy and fresh and not greasy and warm – I was in fish heaven after that flight! Afterwards, I headed back to the hostel (after checking out the University College in London book store) and waited for Rose to arrive and get settled so we could get together. We met up in Westminster which housed a lot of the big tourist-y stores and attractions and Chinatown as well. We headed over to Covent Garden where we got some dessert at a gelato place and went to have a cocktail at a bar nearby. Afterwards, we went to an English pub for a quick pint before heading back to bed. It was definitely a solid first day.
Day 2 was a big day for Rose and I! We started with breakfast with one of her friends who I was super excited to meet after hearing so much about! After a quick selfie, Rose and I headed out to check out the major sites and get the quintessential photos. We went to see Buckingham Palace (no, the Queen wasn’t in), Parliament, Hyde Park, Big Ben and more! It was a beautiful day and there was so much to see and enjoy. At around 3, Rose had booked high tea (like regular tea time but later and with champagne) for around 3 at a fancy boutique hotel as a gift for my engagement to Alex. So, we headed there and enjoyed some scones, finger sandwiches, tea and bubbles in our fancy clothes for the occasion. I absolutely loved the experience and felt extra British! After a walk around the High Street (and a stop at the absolutely massive Victoria’s Secret store), we headed over to the next event on our agenda: drinks at The Bletchley in Chelsea. I had seen a video about The Bletchley on Facebook a few months back, and it’s a themed bar based on Bletchley Park during WW2. For those who know nothing about Bletchley Park (including me before going there), it was the central place where British codebreakers cracked the German communication codes during WW2 using different cypher machines and ultimately changed the outcome of the war in a way. In The Bletchley (bar), you’re given a seat with the Enigma (one of the ciphers) and a cable board and head set, some vials with liquids of different smells and scents, a military coat and instructions on how to create certain codes to communicate your “agent name,” and your code which was ultimately your custom drink order. My first drink had absinthe (save my soul),gin, pumpkin syrup, mango puree and black pepper which was a strange yet extremely delightful combination. After the first drink, you crack more codes for the second drink and are able to create something with the bartender which was easy for us since we were placed at the bar. It was just an absolute blast using the machines, talking with the bartenders and just enjoying the cool atmosphere in our military coats. It was so unique and was an enjoyable way to end our full-day in London.
On the last day, I checked out of the hostel (after conveniently locking my bag in my cubby and losing the keys and having to get the lock cut – whoops) and went towards the London Eye for my time slot that I booked. I was told that it’s best to book the fast track experience ahead of time, so I decided to that. However, the option for a glass of champagne was only 50 cents more, so I said why not! It was another beautiful day there (I was super lucky with weather yet again) so the views were perfect and the champagne was the perfect added touch. Afterwards, I met up with Rose and we went for lunch to have move fish and chips (because of course) and we headed towards the London and Tower Bridges. We walked around, took some final pictures and went back to the hostel to get my bag and catch my bus back to the airport.
It was another wonderful trip! The weather was great, the attractions were better and the company was the best. I’m so happy to have had one last trip with one of my best friends here in her neck of the woods. Hopefully she will come over and visit me soon!