I started writing this post a few days ago but due to internet difficulties and exhaustion, I put it on hold until we got to Oxford. So here we are in Oxford, UK but I’m going to tell you about London.
We spent 4 days in London and loved it. What a fantastic city. Our first day was travel and grocery day. I think we were exhausted just trying to get from Gatwick airport to our place. Thank you lovely stranger for helping us figure out the underground system!
We rented a flat in Kensington just around the corner from Hyde Park. It turned out to be a really nice area. Everything was just a few minutes away. Can’t say the same thing about the actual flat itself. It was more like a prison cell. What a disappointment but we had to remind ourselves that it won’t be the worse place we’ll be staying at. The most inconvenient part was the lack of Wi-Fi specially since Bruce needs access to work. But thankfully there was a Starbucks just around the corner on Queensway.
Next day was Brexit! And my 40th birthday. Little unfortunate I might add. It was a sad day for the world economy but to be selfish, I had an awesome day. I really wanted to go to Tiffany’s and have Indian food so towards Soho, we walked.
After hours of walking through London streets we arrived at Piccadilly Circus. Hello tourists! we found a little place but it was empty. Perhaps because it was 2pm. We hesitated a bit but decided to take a chance. Chili Shaker did not disappoint but I was a little annoyed that he charged us $10 for water. Lesson learned, always ask for tap water. I assumed, “just water” would mean “free” but I guess not!
Finally time for a visit to Tiffany & Co. And I did walk out with something. My awesome husband treated me to a gorgeous ring. I felt a little awkward walking into the store, but the staff was fantastic and very helpful.
What do you know, we walk out of the store and were greeted by rain. How typical of London eh! We had to take cover at a little shopping alley but the little one needed a bathroom badly and we ran across the street to a coffee shop and were soaked so after that we figured we might as well continue. We took the tube but needed to switch lines at South Kensington. It was smack middle of rush hour so instead of getting on another tube line, we walked out towards our place. I think 16 Km of walking is not bad for a day!
Next morning, we woke up to sun and the news of UK voting to exit the EU. How disappointing!
The day was spent doing the typical tourist attractions, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, etc. We followed the Westminster walk from WALKLONDON. And of course Whitehall which was on Bruce’s must list. He is a huge Patrick O’Brian fan. We were going to skip 10 Downing street thinking it might be a little crazy after the vote but shockingly not much was going on and only a few kids were protesting.
We got our fill of the tourist attractions and took a turn on a side street to continue on quieter streets and made our way back towards our flat. We had one more thing to do before going home and that was figuring out where to take the bus to Oxford. That took a little while!! But we did it. We found the X90 bus so all set for our Sunday trip to Oxford. But it’s not Sunday yet, we still have another day in London. I thought we walked a lot yesterday but apparently we covered about 20Km!
Saturday was our last full day in London and we wanted to spend it in a more quaint area. Looking at the map, we saw that we could walk to Notting Hill and off we went. I have to say Google maps has been a life-saver. We didn’t really have a set destination in mind. We just used the map and turned on random smaller streets and came upon Portobello Market. It was pretty amazing! It wasn’t quiet but so lovely. It seemed to go on forever with all kinds of different stalls lined up along the streets. The smell of food was fantastic. We had BBQ lamb for lunch and it was delicious. Once our bellies were full we looked at the map and continued towards Kyoto gardens through the gorgeous streets of Notting Hill. You can smell money in these neighbourhoods. I’ve never seen so many high-end cars in one place. Streets are just lined with Porsches, Aston Martins, BMWs and Mercedes!
The Kyoto Garden & Holland Park were so serene and just lovely to walk around. And hardly anyone around! It seems most people don’t want to step outside the comfort zone of the tourist sections and explore other parts. No complaints from us as we got to walk around some beautiful streets with hardly a soul around.
If you are visiting London you should definitely go see the usual tourist attractions such Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Westminster Church and visit a museum or two but take time and get off the beaten path and admire the beautiful architecture around the city. You will be pleasantly surprised. Just make sure you look the right way crossing the street and mind the gap on the tube 😉