Well, Caroline and I woke up late. [Again.] As it turns out, staying up until three in the morning working on blog posts isn’t exactly great for my sleep schedule. Still, someone has to do it!
At around 10:30 AM, the two of us hurried out of our hostel to head into Central London. Our general plan was to basically be as touristy as possible and hit all of the big monuments in the South Bank area in one fell swoop. First and foremost, however, was a quick breakfast of Japanese fast food in Canary Wharf, where we also traded our foreign paper currency out for pounds.
After all of the boring stuff, we finally headed over to South Bank. The moment you pop out of the Underground at Westminster Station, you see Big Ben towering up above you in all of its Big… Bennish… glory. I genuinely wasn’t expecting to find myself so close to it so suddenly, but it looks absolutely gorgeous framed against a dreary London sky.
I always find myself being caught off guard by how large famous monuments actually end up being up close. [Hellloooo Eiffel Tower.] It’s almost overwhelming, and you truly start to get a sense of scale. Humans are puny.
[Also, I guess a dick joke could be made about the size difference there, but hey, I’m a classy gal.]
We also took the time to cross the bridge and admire the London Eye as well. On the way, a woman gave us some flowers as a sort of good luck charm, which we both ended up losing. Whoops.
After a brief walk around the area, we started to migrate over towards St. James’ Park, going through it in the direction of Piccadilly Circus and Soho. St. James’ is overridden with geese, aka Satan’s feathered minions, but is a beautiful walk.
Piccadilly Circus is like an adorable younger sibling of Times Square, as in close, but no bacon.
We were in the area to meet and grab lunch with Caroline’s friend, and ended up just walking into a random restaurant. The food was mostly just okay, nothing to write home about, but the neighbourhood itself is one of the coolest I’ve seen, just bustling with trendy people doing trendy things.
There also seems to be an active gay scene in the area, seeing as the iconic rainbow flag was put up everywhere.
After lunch, we said good bye to Caroline’s friend and went for some boba. Soho is a good area for quality cheap eats that are a little bit off the culinary beaten path, so we kept running into cute little shops and eating snacks, making up for lunch itself.
[Disclaimer: I say food is cheap in London, but I’m from Paris, where it’s 12 euro for a mediocre salad if you’re lucky.]
Our two hits were Bubbleology for some specialty bobas and Tsusjiri for matcha ice cream, two things I’d been craving since moving to France. The sheer amount of diversity in London’s food scene is refreshing, since in France the predominant cuisine culture is based around very traditional French fare. I could probably write an essay based on that alone, but let’s move on!
After eating, we found a Starbucks to rest and rehabilitate [literally, I took an actual nap in a Starbucks] before going back in the direction of the London Eye. We’d booked tickets before to ride the Eye right at sunset, and even though we didn’t get there as early as we’d hoped to beat the lines, we managed to get on in time to catch the spectacular views during golden hour.
Big Ben is impressive during the day, but it’s even cooler when all lit up at night!
By the time we got off the Eye, about half an hour later, it was comfortably dark, so we decided to go and get an early dinner anyway. Our dinner stop was Central London’s Herman ze German, a little shop that specializes in wurst and fries.
I got a curry wurst and frites, as recommended by the internet, and it was both very affordable and very filling. [As well as completely delicious, despite whatever this unappetizing picture may indicate.]
We sat and enjoyed our dinner for a while, just people watching and enjoying the cozy atmosphere of the little shop before picking up our things and heading towards Camden for a concert. I’d never been to one and was nervous/excited/pick an adjective, but it ended up being pretty neat and not as overwhelming as I’d expected, although I’m pretty sure I’m still deaf.
After the concert, it was back to the hostel for bed, where I fell asleep before completing this blog post in time. A solid day of touristing it up!
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