Before I start, I have something to own up to: I have been putting off this post since I started my blog.
It’s not because I haven’t had time or because I don’t want to. It’s not because I couldn’t find my pictures or figure out where to start. It’s not because I hated London.
Quite the opposite, actually. I love London. I am obsessed, infatuated, and madly in love with London. And I have put off this post because I can’t look through my pictures without an overwhelming feeling of needing to get on the next flight to Heathrow.
Not that this doesn’t happen whenever I look through any of my pictures or journals from my trips. But it is 1028856x stronger with London.
In 2014, I went to London twice. The very first time was to visit one of my best friends at college, Monica, at her school in London, as she was studying abroad there for the semester. I came back five months later with my family. London became the first place in Europe I have been lucky enough to revisit.
The first trip was very important. It was the first trip I had ever planned completely by myself. It was also the first time I traveled with any of my friends from college. We saw Big Ben, walked along South Bank, and ate at Nando’s. It was incredible to see places that I had only heard about or seen in movies- we just casually passed the Globe Theatre, and stood under the London Eye. We met all of Monica’s flatmates and friends from around the world, and went out on the Camden Pub Crawl (which is super fantastic by the way, and is the first thing I want to do when I go back!). The other friend I traveled with to London even managed for us to have a tour of Lloyd’s, which is essentially the Stock Exchange for Insurance in London. I know absolutely nothing about insurance, but it was still incredible (The place looks like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory from the outside… It’s actually super cool.). Though we hit a few bumps here and there, travel-wise and personal-wise, to this day I am thrilled that I did the trip. When Monica left, I was so sad that I was going to miss out on all of the cool stuff she was doing, and I wouldn’t trade getting to be a part of her study abroad experience for the world (Also, sorry about the lack of pictures, we are AWFUL at remembering to take pictures together!).
I got to go back to London that August with my family. We arranged for five days jam- packed with all things touristy. Seriously, we did everything from a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus to a tour of the Tower of London. We walked back and forth 825 times over Abbey Road. I was astounded at how many of the places I recognized from having been in the city just months beforehand, and to be totally honest, it made my second visit that much better. I knew where we were when wandering around, so I was able to pay attention to the little, charming details that are everywhere in London. I got to appreciate my ride on the London Eye so much more because I knew exactly what buildings I was looking at. Nando’s was even better the second time. Camden was 1000x more amazing in the beautiful summer breeze.
A couple more highlights: Camden Market, a real football game, an outstanding pub by St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a surprise visit to some family friends in Bristol.
Just talking about this incredible city excites me and saddens me all at the same time. It’s modern and funky, charming and eclectic, old and new- literally simultaneously. It’s New York with more history, Boston with an edge, Miami with better accents, more black clothes, and a few clouds. I immediately felt at home. I know another visit is far away from where I am right now, but I will get back to London. Perhaps we’ll even make it a little more… permanent?