Hello, gov’nas! Care for some tea?
Ok I’m done, let’s move past that. I went to London, known as Londres in España, this past weekend. What did I think? Let’s just say that I’m glad that I’d never been to London before because I definitely would have studied there and spent all of my dollars. Every. Single. One. London is an incredible city for so many reasons. My favorite thing about it? Its diversity. Not only in terms of the people (our parents definitely should have raised us in London because there are so many biracial couples there!), but in terms of the architecture, food, culture, and activities! One moment you’re next to Tower Bridge and the next you’re by to one of the city’s many super-modern buildings, like the one that melts paint off of cars. On one corner there’s an Indian restaurant and on the opposite there’s sushi, Mexican, and Pret. There are über-fancy areas and then there are more casual spots. There’s nothing not to love.
Correction: I do not love the prices in London. Screw the pound. There, I said it. Do you want to know what clothing brands do in London? They use the same price point and slap a pound sign on it. So a tee that’s $30 at J.Crew in America is £30 in London. Which is $49.90. I can’t even.
Beside the pound screwing me over, I adored London. We arrived on Thursday and went for a quick, and by quick I mean 2-hour, bus tour around the city. Afterwards, I met one of my best friends from home for dinner at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Covent Garden. Fish and chips were ordered and devoured. We followed it with froyo because why not? After my frozen, sweet delight, I headed back to the hotel and watched TV because it was in English and I miss that. A lot.
Friday began with a visit to Sohot Bikram Yoga, which was awesome. I’m committed to doing bikram in every city that I visit while abroad. It’s not a thing in Sevilla, so I’ve got to get it where I can. Post-yoga I went to Pret for green juice (!!!) and met my friend, Katelyn, to go for lunch at Borough Market, AKA the most magical place in the world. I do not exaggerate. My brain couldn’t handle all of the incredible food that surrounded me. Borough is an open-air market that sells only food. Glorious food. Wonderful, fresh, delicious food. After we walked around and tried everything from brownies to cookies to 2-year-old cheese to truffle oil, we circled back to Veggie Table. The moment I bit into my veggie burger, my life was changed forever. By far the best veggie burger I have ever had. I followed it with a green juice (KALE!) and the most mind-blowing brownie. I figure that they balance each other out, yes? Sure.
We followed lunch with a walk to Tower Bridge, which often is confused with London Bridge, which is disappointingly-underwhelming. London Bridge is an average bridge. Tower Bridge is the good one. We escalated to the top where beautiful views of London awaited us. After escalating back down, we decided to take the tube to Katelyn’s part of town for a lovely Indian dinner. That is, after we went to Whole Foods and I proceeded to cry of joy.
After yoga on Saturday morning, I was ready for an awesome day. I spent the majority of it alone, which was 100% fine with me. I do well by myself and hate feeling obligated to do what other people want to do. As my dad never ceases to remind me, I can be kind of self-centered sometimes, so you can imagine that I don’t love traveling with others. I was so happy to bop around all day as I pleased, which ended up meaning Borough Market for another veggie burger and flaxjacks, walking to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey, and then strolling through St. James Park. This led me to Buckingham Palace, which wasn’t even as nice as my dorm room if you ask me. LOL.
The weather was perfect all weekend, so I didn’t mind walking for a few hours. It was awesome exercise and proved to be a wonderful way to see London. After I had had my fill of walking for the day (my feet were giving out), I tubed back to my hotel for a wonderful dinner of chana masala and mulligatawny soup at the Indian restaurant around the corner.
On Sunday morning, I went for a walk through Hyde Park, which was right by my hotel. The weather was perfect; low 60s and sunny. Unreal. As I walked by Kensington Palace, I felt a sudden pang in my heart. I’m not sure if it was caused by the toddler crying near me, all of the beautiful men running through the park, slight homesickness, or the overwhelming beauty of the moment, but I started to cry. Not the cute-girly cry, but the kind of cry that has tears globbing down your face faster than you can wipe them. As I reflected on the past year and a half of my life, filled with ups and downs, I couldn’t help but let the tears flow. The moment was so organic and I felt so lucky to be in it. It finally hit me that I’m abroad and experiencing a new and absolutely amazing part of the world. Home will always be there, so for now I am going to focus on cherishing the remarkable moments that await me in the next two months.