Back in the Fall, my school was given a schedule with newly-added holiday dates, one of these being Friday, January 30. As it turned out, school was actually in session that day, but the problem was I had already booked a trip to London. After explaining to my school the confusion, they gave me permission to miss work for the day, so off to London I went!
This was my third time to London, but I just can’t get enough of this city! And at the time that I booked it, I thought this was going to be my last year in Spain (which it might still be, but my mind changes all the time so who knows) so I wanted to be sure I went back to one of my favorite cities before leaving since I’m not sure when I’ll make it back to Europe in the future.
After a delayed flight, I arrived to London Gatwick Airport on Thursday night. I had a bunch of problems trying to print my train ticket to get into the city. Eventually I had to go pay to use the airport’s computers. What I immediately noticed about London was how rushed everyone seemed! There was no waiting for anyone. The woman working at the ticket line was so rude and hurried everyone along, meanwhile all of the people in the airport were walking at warp-speed. This observation shows just how long I’ve been living in Spain. As a country, Spaniards walk SO SLOW. Normally us English-cultures are hurrying the Spaniards along. But in London, I couldn’t keep up! I felt like an annoyance to everyone because I know how it feels to have someone in your way when you’re trying to get somewhere (basically every single time I step outside in Madrid).
I finally boarded my train into the city center, navigated the underground, and checked into my hostel located just north of Hyde Park. The next morning I ate breakfast at the hostel with my Swedish roommates who came to London because they just wanted to live there and they had been living in the hostel for quite some time while they searched for a job and a place to live. We also sat and talked with a girl from Taiwan. We had the most interesting conversation. The girl (who was actually 32-years-old, so maybe not really a girl) from Taiwan was just days away from leaving London because her visa was expiring. She had been living and working in London for two years for the sole reason of finding a white husband! She said she preferred white men to Asian men, so she had spent a good amount of her life searching for a white husband. I felt sad for her because she never met Mr. Right and was now forced to go home to Taiwan. I hope that things work out for her in the end. It was just so interesting because I had never met anyone to move to a new country just to find a husband of a different race.
After breakfast, I took London’s free walking tour which met in Green Park. Though I have been to London before, I had never taken one of its free walking tours which I like to do in most cities I go to. I always learn new things and it’s a great way to meet other people. We were a small group of only 8 and half of us were traveling solo so it was nice getting to know everyone. After the tour I grabbed lunch and drinks at a pub with a couple girls from the tour. I ordered a ham and cheese melt with SWEET POTATO FRIES!! Oh how I’ve missed sweet potato fries. I was a happy camper.
That night I met up with my high school friend, Claire! I haven’t seen Claire in years so it was so great seeing her! She now lives in London with her fiancée, Josh, so it was great having them to show me around London for the weekend. We grabbed dinner and then I left to go to the Camden district of the city for the pub crawl that was advertised on my tour earlier that day. I met with one of the girls I went to lunch with and we had a fun night! The pub crawl took us to 4 bars and a club all on the same street. There was one bar that used to be an old horse hospital so in the barn area, each stall was either turned into a seating area or into a bar area. It was so cool- unlike anything I’d ever seen before. We ended the night at Koko nightclub which used to be a theater. I love European clubs because often old theaters are turned into nightclubs which I find really cool. Finding my way home was interesting because I got off at the wrong bus stop and ended up having to walk a half hour to my hostel. It was actually snowing while I was walking which was beautiful and freezing at the same time. The streets were deserted at 5 AM which was the polar opposite of Madrid. I definitely prefer Spain’s nightlife for that reason.
For the rest of the weekend I hungout with Claire and Josh as they showed me around. Saturday afternoon we had tickets for a Charlton Athletic football match. It was FREEZING, so it was hard to fully enjoy the game, but it was still cool going to an English soccer game since I never have before. That night Claire and I walked around the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, got fish and chips for dinner, and then went to a pub for a couple ciders before calling it a night. Sunday afternoon before my flight, we hiked up Primrose Hill for a view of the city skyline, went to Trafalgar Square and went inside the National Gallery, walked through Convent Garden, Picadilly Circus, and Oxford Street. We ended our time with getting some of the best burgers in London before it was time for me to head to the airport for my night flight back to Madrid.
It was a wonderful and relaxing weekend in London. It went by way too quickly. Though it wasn’t my first time there, 3 nights is just not enough time to explore London! But it was a great trip and it was so nice seeing an old friend in one of my favorite cities! Until next time, London 🙂