Ah London. You were so much more than I was hoping for. My original expectations set the bar pretty low, rainy day and fish and chips. Let's face it, the fish and chips is pure disappointment every time. Gordon Ramsey has done so much for this country, but will it every be enough? There are a few fun facts about London: 1. Everything is covered in scaffolding and 2. this city is meant to be walked the first time you come. If you take the underground everywhere you'll miss out open air markets and shakespearian graffiti. So when you get there, get the touristy stuff you need to do out of the way and then go have some real fun. I present to you... tower bridge and Big Ben.
Hooray for culture and enlightenment and now on to the real stuff. I stayed right next to Hyde park so if you are a runner, or someone who likes to watch other people suffer through running, this is the place to do it. The park is much like Central Park minus the creepy parts. No matter where I went, my morning commute started out here. If you want to feel fancy you can cut through Hyde park to get to Kensington Gardens.
And if you go early enough you can sip your tea without having an pesky peasants disturb you.
After my fix of feeling like royalty as I sipped on my Starbucks wondering why I got up so early, I headed toward the Thames. Londoners are very divided, you are either north of the river or south. I don't have time for that so I crossed lines. The best way to do that in my opinion is Millennium Bridge.
Please pardon the pigeon...
If there is good food to be had I'm finding it. And oh did I. The Borough Market was heaven. Food from every possible corner of the world being prepared right in front of you. And me, walking around with food in my mouth and both hands wondering what I'll eat next. If you don't want to walk around like a starving street urchin you can always buy fresh food to take home. This is where I started to fall in love with British food.
This is why walking is so important. Gives you a little time to track down your next meal and see some parts of the city you might not have heard of.
And if you want to cheat and see the whole city from one place, a trip in the London Eye will accomplish that.
If grabbing a pint, some pad Thai and apple pie is your thing, then Churchill Arms is the bar to go to. If not, you should still go. This place is not only stunning from the outside with every inch of it covered in flowers, but the inside is everything British.
Did I mention the pad Thai and apple pie?? Can't. Wait. To. Go. Back!
So no, Churchill did not frequent this pub but... it was the first English pub to serve Thai food and it's rumored that Churchill's grandparents used to grab a pint here. So this place counts as history.
Sometimes I like to think I can dress up, but mostly I just settle for running a brush through my hair and throwing on a pair of heels. So as a reward for such things, there are some amazing places visit and sit down so you don't have to stand in those god awful heels. If you're noticing a trend, of course these places have to do with food.
Nobu can do no wrong. And with 3 locations you're bound to get into one. Little mini tacos!! Who says no to that? Certainly not me, I know better.
Some restaurants are just so good you have to go there twice. So I did. First night was at the chefs table near the kitchen. So whatever you order, expect someone to randomly put a plate in front of you, compliments of the chef. Second trip back was to the bar. The cocktail menu is presented as a magazine and each cocktail has a back story tied to fashion icons. If you don't know what fashion is (like me) and you just care about the alcohol (like me) you can skip to the back where they have the short descriptions. Don't judge these drinks, that cocktail that just came to your table on a light up runway platform deserves to be there.
Alas, my trip is over and it's back to the states. A special shout out to those two awesome little boys behind me on the flight back. 8 hours on a plane and they survived better than I did.