All Around London Town: Part I

london_big ben

After saying our goodbyes to Paris, we hopped on the train so we could make our way to London. Funny story about our time in London. We had arrived thinking we had four full days. So, once we got all settled into our Airbnb, we started plotting and planning everywhere we wanted to visit in the city. Derek spent a lonnnng time drafting an email of all the places we wanted to discover during our time here. And I mean a longggg time. Like hours. That night, we went to bed super early, as we knew we had a packed four days ahead.

Except, little did we know we had planned ALL wrong.

Why is it that when you make some sort of mistake, the miscalculation decides to wake you up in the middle of the night? You know, instead of waiting until morning when you’re all rested and can process the news, it thinks it’d be better to hit you like a ton of bricks right when you’re having a dreamy little dream? Well, that’s what happened to me at least.

Around 3am, I woke up to the realization that we were leaving London on Monday, not Tuesday. Meaning we really only had three days, instead of four. AHH! While that extra day might not seem like much, when given the mile-long list we had of all the bakeries we wanted to hit up, it was a BIG deal!

So, after poking Derek in the back repeatedly until he finally murmured sounds to let me know he was awake, I told him the not-so-good news. But, in the end, we were somehow able to squeeze in all of our must-eats, and even stop by the Queen’s residence, so no complaints!

london_millineum bridge

london_poet

I cannot help but smile from ear to ear when looking back at these pictures. We had such a fun time in London. Despite the fact these were three busy days, this city sure did show us an unforgettable time. Not to mention amazing weather, which we must have had luck on our side since a few locals told us it had been pouring rain the past couple of days.

london_tower bridge

Even though we usually stay far, far away from the tourist traps, London is one of those places where you can’t help but give in to the crowds. Tower Bridge, London Eye, Buckingham Palace. We just had to do it all. Oh yes, and of hunting down the iconic red phone-booths, because when in London, right!?

Somehow we timed things justttt right during our visit, because we always arrived to these touristy spots right before the flocks of crowds.

london_tower bridge walkway

london_south bank boardwalk

One of my favorite memories of our time in London was when we were perusing around the thrilling Borough Market. Which, if you have never been: 1) You’ve got to go. 2) DON’T go when you’re hungry! That was our first mistake.

london_borough market 2

SO many delicious temptations everywhere!

london_borough market candies

No matter what food fantasy your taste-buds might desire, I can guarantee you’ll find the ingredients here.

london_borough market

Cheeses. Chocolates. Breads. Cookies. Fresh eggs. Cocktails. The list just goes on and on, but I better stop here because my mouth is starting to water.

london_eggs

My favorite find…

london_english muffins

We stumbled upon quite a lot of outdoor markets, but our favorites was this pop-up bookshop located in the smack middle of the South Bank.

london_street book stand

And then this treat below! I finally was able to meet my sister’s best friend from overseas!! Claire met Amy while studying abroad in Manchester a few years back, and I had yet to meet her.

Turns out she knows where to find the best street food and beer in the city! We had so much fun with her that night. Meeting someone that is so close and dear to my sister, yet lives an ocean away, sure did make this world feel a bit smaller.

london_street food market

london_london eye

It was on Derek’s bucket-list to ride the London Eye at sunset, but since it didn’t get dark in this city until about 10pm, and the last ride was at 9pm, that didn’t happen.

Nonetheless, it was pretty awesome seeing Big Ben and Parliament looking all gorgeous down below. Not to mention how fun it was seeing how many red double-Decker buses we could spot!

london_london eye_view

london_london eye view

london_parliament

london_food market

It was so nice seeing everyone sitting outside soaking up the summer sun. Walking around, you could just sense the happy vibes all around. Don’t you just love how Vitamin D does that to people!? Is it just me, or are people at their nicest on summer Fridays and at Christmas!?

london_st paul lawn

We had heard a rumor about a free elevator that will take you to the top of a department store and provide one of the best views in London you can find. Turns out this rumor is true, and yes, the view was pretty spectacular.

The best part, of course, was the fact this view was free.

london_st paul cathedral

london_notting hill

london_westminster abbey

london_parliament_big ben

Our last stop of the day was at Buckingham Palace. We had planned on rushing to the Palace earlier that morning for the Changing of the Guards. However, as our luck would have it, the city was celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday, meaning no Changing of the Guards. Instead, a giant parade. With the entire Royal Family!

While this might seem like a royal dream, to us it was more like a nightmare. We experienced New Year’s Eve in Times Square a few years back and vividly remember just how much of a mess big crowds can be. So, we decided to skip out on the parade and visit the other touristy spots since there wouldn’t be the rush of crowds. Yes, we skipped out on seeing Will & Kate, but with good reason, ok!?

london_buckingham palace

We stopped by the Palace once everything was all said and done. Just as we had hoped, the crowds had all gone home, and it was just us and the guard in red below. Well, us and about a hundred security cameras. Luckily, watching him perform his hourly routine was just enough for me!

london_buckingham palace_guards

Can’t wait to share more with you in Part II. Be on the lookout soon 🙂

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