I thought long and hard about how I would share my trip photos and recap with you guys and, in the end, decided that I'd do it city by city. I really think that putting two weeks' worth of info and pictures into one blog post would be torturous - not only for me because I have zero idea how I would pair down everything to avoid creating a novel - but for you to read. I'll be posting about cities in the order we visited them, so I hope you enjoy this first one. As the title and pictures probably clued you in, it's all about our days in Londy town!
We landed in London (we flew West Jet by the way, fab prices for direct, round trip from YYZ!) and flew out of London. So, we managed to fit in a couple days at the beginning and end to explore the city. At the start of the trip, we stayed at The California London which is a super cute, converted row house complex. We had booked an "extra large family room" since we were traveling with my brother (he's in the picture above with me by the Buckingham Palace gates) but it ended up not being available and we scored separate rooms for the same price. Cha-ching! We were on the fourth floor of the walk-up building and these were the second best rooms we stayed in the whole trip. Bright, airy, modern and right in the heart of the action at Kings Cross.
We checked out The British Museum, Buckingham Palace gates, the London Eye and ate at a few really good places that I'd 100% recommend you visit.
The British Museum is a free museum located in central London. I loved the architecture more than anything else. The glass ceiling in the main hall is gorgeous and there are a bunch of red phone booths outside along the fence. Naturally, we took turns taking the obligatory red phone booth photo before carrying on with our day.
Visiting Buckingham Palace was really cool and felt surreal. The gates and building look so regal. I think, as a Canadian, I feel a special tie to England and the monarchy that non-Commonwealth nations may not feel. I was glad that I went and saw it in real life!
The London Eye was one of the most touristy things we did in London but it was also my favourite. The views are stunning and it was amazing to see so many notable London landmarks from one spot. If you're interested in getting some seriously good photos of the city from different angles and heights, then the London Eye is a must. I think the full rotation takes just over half an hour but it felt even faster than that, probably because we were soaking in the views and enjoying the sun as it began to set.
Two restaurants that we visited that I would love to go back and eat at again are Daddy Donkey, a fresh Mexican burrito joint on Leather Lane, and Dishoom. Dishoom is an Iranian-Indian style restaurant located near Kings Cross. The drinks and food were ridiculously good. The service was impeccable, too. Everything about it was awesome and I really wish we had an option like that in Toronto. Ah well, I suppose it's just another excuse to get back to London sometime soon right? ;)
Our second stint in London came at the trip's end and we stayed at a "modern hostel" called Generator. It was modern, sure, but you could tell they spent 95% of their budget making the lobby look amazing and forgot about everything else. The A/C didn't work, the windows didn't open more than two inches and the washrooms left something to be desired. It was cheaper than a hotel, sure, but in hindsight I should have just booked back at The California. At least I'll know for next time.
From London, we took the Eurostar train to Amsterdam. To get back to London at the end of our trip, we took the Eurostar again but this time departing from Paris. I loved the trains we took in Europe - they're so much faster, cleaner and busier than the ones in Canada. The food is great on board, too, which is a definite plus. My only complaint from any of the trains on the whole trip would be the DB City Night Line train that we took from Munich to Rome. The bathroom in our car was out of order so we had to use those in the cars attached to us which made it a bit of a pain. But, considering we planned everything ourselves, I can't complain too much - not a single flight or train was cancelled and everything went as close to plan as possible.
Stay tuned for my next post all about our days in my favourite city ever, Amsterdam!
Until next time,