Two Days in London
8 months ago / in Travel
This week I wanted to show a little love for my favorite city.
The title is a bit misleading: while we did spend only two days in London during our last visit, I spent six glorious weeks living in an old dormitory on Tavistock Square when I was twenty. Our whirlwind trip last October, which capped off a week in Scotland, was the first time I’ve been back since that summer, and it was like coming home.
It’s a little basic, isn’t it, to love London so much. There are so many mass-produced pieces of art featuring Parliament or Big Ben, and what tourist doesn’t have a photo of themselves hamming it up in front of the stone-faced Royal Guard? I couldn’t care less about any of that — London was my first time across the pond, the first time I was really and truly on my own, and the starting place of some of the most meaningful friendships I’ve known. It is so huge and complicated, old and new, beautiful and strange.
I was thrilled to share a bit of this place with Joe, who’d never been to jolly old England at all! We arrived on an early train from Edinburgh, and had only 36 hours or so to get reacquainted. We stayed in the bright Kensington Hotel in Kensington, and threw back an espresso as soon as we arrived. Like cliched tourists that we are, we made a beeline to the Tower of London. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not worth it: It is so rich with history, you’d be cheating yourself to skip it
I mean Traitor’s Gate! The ravens! This is classic history that you just can’t get anywhere else. The views from inside aren’t so bad, either.
No, that’s not London Bridge in the back — though it’s still standing, London Bridge as you know it was dissembled and shipped out of the country. That’s the beautiful Tower Bridge. After leaving the Tower, we wandered closer for a better view.
Because the it’s London, the weather turned and we took refuge in one of the oldest pubs in London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Their literary history is about as rich as their steak and kidney pie — the pub was frequented by Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and even Mark Twain. The pub was moody and dark, and each winding corridor led into another cosy room, lined with tight booths.
The next day, before our afternoon flight out of Heathrow, we made our way to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens.
Each path was more beautiful than the one before. After only a few hours, we had to return to the hotel to fetch our luggage for the trip home. I know we’ll be back, but London is so very hard to leave.
As a bonus for making it all the way to the end of this post, I’ll treat you to a true Throwback Thursday photograph, featuring my two of my girlfriends and I lunching al fresco in Hampstead Heath. Not much has changed — I’d still be pretty happy with a lunch of French bread, brie, and a bottle of wine. London, we loved you then, and love you now!