A large melting pot city, London represents over 279 nationalities and 300 tongues! The proper dialect of the English language with a British accent is quite the ‘fancy’ to overhear.
First piece of business, get our buttocks over to the Buckingham Palace to witness the Changing of the Guard! Apparently arriving 15 minutes before this 45 minute ceremony is not enough time. Thousands of people crowded the palace gates, kids on top of their dad’s shoulders, selfie sticks high in the air and umbrellas threatening to poke you in the eye each step you took. We ended up not staying the whole time because of limited visibility and anxiety running high but the little peek of all the action we did get was really exhilarating in itself!
To calm my anxiety, we took a stroll in nearby colorful St. James Park, away from the masses of people. One local seemed to be besties with the squirrels. They loved him for his nuts, seriously. The little critters knew exactly where he kept these salty snacks and would climb on him respectfully, waiting for their treat. They’d then go bury it to save for later. How cute!
Just across from the park is Westminster Abbey, Palace of Westminster, Big Ben and the Westminster Bridge. All of which we just took as photo sesh opportunities.
Another picturesque scene is the iconic Tower Bridge. The length spans 800 feet while the 2 towers stand tall at 213 feet.
The pic above is of us on the London Bridge, famous from the nursery rhyme, “London Bridge is Falling Down”. Not much to see of this standard bridge though…It really only offers great views of the Tower Bridge 🙂
Between the 2 bridges is the Tower of London, a castle founded in 1066 that was from time to time used as a prison throughout history. Aside from the architectural beauty and famous white tower, tourists can admire the crown jewels on display in the Waterloo Block.
The main reason we added London to our Itinerary was to visit JC’s friend, Qsub. The two business-minded guys were roommates in Peru during the summer of 2014 participating in a fellowship program. Qsub now works for Ernst & Young and has been living in London on-and-off for 7 years.
We met up for lunch in China Town followed by amazing coffee and super fancy donuts at Crosstown Doughnuts. We each ordered premium fried dough and split it 3 ways; perfectly sweet and delectable! Such a wonderful time catching up and spending the afternoon with an old friend!
We continued our “old friend meet ups” the following day with my childhood neighbor Blake. Blake and her husband, Matthew, moved to London a few years ago for Matthew’s job and are now expecting a baby boy!
It had probably been close to 15 years since I last saw Blake. The 4 of us enjoyed catching up and sharing stories over afternoon coffee followed by drinks (virgin cocktails for Blake) at a nearby “haunted” pub!
The neighborhood of Belgravia was quite the ritzy area, with almost every single car passing by being either a Bentley or Porsche. JC mentioned he had never seen so many Bentley’s in one place! J.K. Rowling’s home was also in the vicinity!
We finished up our trip with some window shopping down Carnaby Street in SoHo. Many independent fashion boutiques line this road but the best of them all was Irregular Choice. This funky shoe store is decked with the most unique and eclectic heels, sneakers and flats.
London was fascinating, brilliant and just lovely (said in English accent)!
Dates Visited: 9/9-9/13, 2016