Kyle couldn't wait to visit London. He's a loyal Chelsea fan, so we stayed with an AirBnB host in Fulham, a short walk from Stamford Bridge. We planned on watching a Chelsea game at a pub that week, but after running around from pub to pub, we learned the game wasn't on television. We were so disappointed! But we still had a great time in London.
We arrived to King's Cross after a four hour train ride from Edinburgh. I was thrilled to see the infamous Platform 9 and 3/4 from Harry Potter while leaving the station.
We waited in line in the pouring rain for a black cab, and it took us just under an hour to get to our AirBnB. While driving through the bustling streets of London, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Our trip was flying by so quickly, and I couldn't believe we were halfway through our five-week schedule. I had trouble contacting our AirBnB host, so we walked to Stamford Bridge and had a few pints at a nearby pub. Eventually, we got into our flat. We were both burnt out from yet another day of travel, so we grabbed a quick dinner from Whole Foods and relaxed the rest of the night.
The next day, we made up for lost time. Our day began with an Uber ride to Buckingham Palace, where we witnessed the Change of the Guards. This takes place every morning at 11:30, and it was really neat to watch. After that, we walked to Westminster Abbey. The line to get inside was really long, so we skipped the tour and kept walking. Big Ben eventually appeared in the distance, along with the Houses of Parliament. We took some quick photos before continuing our journey. The icy wind was frigid that day, so we tried to stay warm with constant movement. Despite having hand warmers in both jacket pockets and my shoes, I was freezing. The cold, combined with the travel exhaustion that was slowly taking over my brain, made me feel like a zombie. I couldn't stop shivering, and I wasn't in the best mood. The London Eye turned out to be the perfect remedy! When we saw the giant ferris wheel towering over the River Thames, we immediately joined the ticket line. With fast track tickets in hand, we hurried into our passenger capsule and slowly inched higher and higher until we were soaring above London. The view was incredible, and the warm capsule gave me sweet relief from the wintry weather.
After our ferris wheel ride, we walked to the Leake St. Graffiti Tunnel, otherwise known as the Banksy Tunnel. Graffiti is authorized here, and the colorful art on the walls was pretty mind-blowing. We even witnessed a few artists in the middle of spray painting.
For lunch, we took an Uber to Borough Market to stand in line for raclette at Kappacasein. (We ended up using Uber frequently in London because everything was so spread out!) Originally, I saw raclette featured on a Buzzfeed video that went viral on Facebook, highlighting a restaurant in New York City. I didn't realize it was already a popular European meal, so when a friend told me about the infamous Kappacasein dish, I was excited to try it. After we got in line, an employee approached us, took our order, gave us a ticket, and collected our cash. We had to wait for about thirty minutes, but it was totally worth it. As we inched forward in line, surrounded by British accents, busy vendors, and stylish men and women, I saw a giant wheel of cheese slowly spinning and bubbling under a flame. When we got to the front, an employee filled a paper plate with boiled potatoes and baby gherkins and scraped a generous amount of gooey, hot ogleshield cheese over everything. After sprinkling a bit of salt and pepper over the dish, we dug in. It was delicious. Kyle isn't even the biggest fan of cheese (which is slightly offensive to me), but he loved it.
We simultaneously ate and walked to the iconic Tower Bridge, where we took some photos and admired the view. We also took some photos with the infamous red telephone boxes, because how can you visit London and not do that?
The next day, Sunday, Kyle and I had one goal in mind, and that was to visit Harrod's. That place is seriously magical. If you haven't heard of it before, it's basically a department store on steroids. There are individual sections for everything -- seafood, clothing, wine, stationary, chocolate, and so on. There are also restaurants, champagne bars, and bakeries. The very best part of Harrod's was the ice cream parlour on the second floor. Their sundaes and decadent desserts all looked and sounded incredible. Kyle and I split the Banoffee Basket Signature Sundae, which contained vanilla and caramel ice cream, caramel sauce, sliced banana, whipped cream, and sugar wafers. It was delicious! And rightfully so, since it cost £19.50! We spent most of our time browsing, and I bought half a dozen gourmet chocolate truffles and a Moleskine planner. That afternoon, I was in a sugar coma.
For dinner, we indulged in a traditional British Sunday roast at The Rose Pub. Our meal included Angus sirloin with horseradish, Yorkshire pudding, cheesy cauliflower, carrot and sweet potato mash, beets, and steamed broccoli. I loved the diverse variety of food. You can basically visit any pub in London on a Sunday night, and a hearty roast will be featured on the menu.
On Monday, our last day, we decided to Uber to Trafalgar Square in Central London. I really wanted a picture with a bronze lion, so I hoisted myself up and scaled the giant statue until I was right in front of it. I told Kyle to snap a picture quickly, because I was pretty certain I wasn't allowed to be up there. Sure enough, as Kyle was fumbling with my camera, I heard a loud whistle, and a policeman started jogging over to us. By this point, it was lightly drizzling, and the surface was wet and slippery. I was scared to jump down because I thought I might fall, so I basically catapulted into Kyle's arms. It's a wonder I didn't hurt myself/him, haha! We didn't get in trouble (the policeman just waved us off and walked away), but my heart was hammering in my chest the entire time.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Piccadilly Circus (which is very similar to Times Square in NYC), admiring the colorful walls and shops in Neal's Yard, and browsing a cozy bookstore that caught my eye. While walking down the street in search of coffee, we got stuck in a massive downpour. We tried to seek shelter in a doorway, but we eventually admitted defeat and frolicked in the rain, enjoying the gray London weather.
The next morning, we woke up early and hopped on a flight to Cork, Ireland.