Sunday, May 6, 2012

London

London has just soared to the top of my favorite cities list.  I'm not sure if it was the company, the shopping, or the city itself.  Probably a mix of all these plus a dash of royalty - I mean, who doesn't feel like a royal when walking from Buckingham Palace through St. James Park? Well, a girl can pretend at least...

We didn't let a little wind or rain hold us back either.  If Norway has taught us anything, it's that you can't wait on the weather.  Just dress accordingly!  A quick visual of the few stops we made exploring this grand city:












We are fortunate to have a good friend living in Chelsea who hosted us for the weekend (see red X for general location).  We took the Heathrow Express from the airport to Paddington Station (1) where Brittany met us for lunch and took our bags.  First stop - Hyde Park and Kensington Palace (2)!





We enjoyed walking through Hyde Park and would love it if we had Pistol with us, but other than all the puppies, there wasn't much to look at.  We took our time though and eventually made it over to Buckingham Palace (3) where we were surprised with beautiful flowers and sunshine (but, sadly, no Princess Kate sighting, ugh).



A quick stroll through beautiful St. James Park and we were at Westminster Abbey (4), Parliament and the clock tower housing Big Ben (5).  We could even spot the London Eye (6) across the Thames from Westminster Bridge







We ended our excursion in Trafalgar Square (7), wandering down Whitehall along the way.  




With Brittany's guidance and Oyster card in hand, we mastered the area's bus system and felt comfortable using the metro.  I can't believe I've never tried the buses before in other cities - they are cheap, a great way to get your bearings/sightsee, and if you are going the wrong way just hop off!  

Another benefit to knowing a "local" - restaurant recommendations.  London isn't exactly known for its culinary experiences unless you are only looking for beer, fish, and chips (which of course we indulged in).  Some to note:

(A) Thomas Cubitt - a pub in Belgravia with a great atmosphere and yummy pub food
(B) Baker and Spice - scrambled eggs with creme fraiche? Yes please!
(C) Wagamama Noodle Bar - quick, filling, inexpensive, noodles. Enough said.
(D) - Cantina Laredo - a Texas chain in London? How could we resist?
(E) 202 - trendy brunch near Portabello Road, a market shopping mecca

King's Road and Sloane Square provided distractions from the rain on our second day.  


But once the clouds went away, we took a bus back into the city center and walked from Piccadilly (9) to The Tower of London (10).





Not sure if you noticed, but we walked a LOT.  Our last day was very relaxed with brunch in Notting Hill, a little more shopping, and naps in Brittany's cozy flat.  A perfect, rainy afternoon in London to end our trip.


I want to go back!!

4 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! And I love seeing my southern cousin getting so weather hardy!

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    1. Now that winter's coming, I may need a few more tips!

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  2. Looks like SUCH a fun time. Isn't it great having friends all over the world??

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    1. It is! Especially those that live in Norway.. Hint, hint :)

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