Getting ready for this trip was kind of a whirlwind, to say the very least. I thought about this trip for weeks. I planned it in my mind, planned my outfits out in my mind, even planned the photos that I wanted to take in front of the monuments I was actually going to see for the first time. I know it’s a little silly, but it was my very first time in Europe and I just can’t hide the sheer thrill. The night before, and even up to the very moment that I was leaving, I had second guessed what I had packed. I was determined to pack light, but my suitcase was bursting. I just wanted everything to be perfect for my first European experience.
Heading to the airport I was excited, but anxious with the prospect of a ten hour flight and no wifi, which meant no contact with my children and lots of ocean to cross. Once we got on the plane and settled in, there was no turning back. I’m doing this. I said a little prayer and up and away my husband and I went.
We landed in London safe and sound, headed to our hotel to drop off our things and then off we went to see London town ! Finally…
My husband, who travels to London often for business, was excited to take me to Harrods. My husband actually had the upper hand with shopping for once, bless his heart ! For those of you who are not familiar with Harrods, it’s a huge, and very famous department store has 6 stories, containing everything from chocolate, to clothing, to home furnishings to meat ! It literally has everything, which is fascinating as well as overwhelming. Still, it’s iconic and a must when in London.
Another must is high tea. It’s a part of the English culture which we all know, but being there and experiencing it is something quite different. the experience is simply beautiful and cherished by all. I quickly discovered Notting Hill, and was swept up by it’s beauty and charm, ducking into quaint cafes to sip tea amidst the history and incredible beauty. I met a friend who was familiar with the area Notting Hill, making the experience of being in London that much more authentic and rich.
Being a new tourist and music lover extreme, Of course I had to visit Abby Road and take “the” picture that the Beatles made so very famous. Maybe it’s corny and predictable, but I don’t care, I loved every minute of it. Brittany, a friend and Londoner, indulged me and we walked over there and took the photos. Abby Road Studios is right there too, where the Beatles recorded. I was beyond giddy to step into history.
My favorite places to have tea, were The Connought Hotel and at the Berkeley. Both of them are gorgeous inside and the ambience is just what you would hope for while visiting London. Dreamy ! My husband and I took a day to tour Buckingham Palace. We literally got in on the very last day that they were doing tours. I highly recommend, but check ahead because they only do tours certain months of the year. I was surprised to see a complete working Palace. We also visited Kensington Palace and toured it as well. There is so much history here, it’s actually palpable. I could imagine the legacy of the monarchy passing through these beautiful rooms, I was completely taken. I felt so comfortable in those palaces that I concluded that I must be part of the royal family somewhere in my lineage. I’m going to do some research on that one. One can dream !
Now on to the food. So I have say I am a bit of a food snob. I love food and it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just good, and let me tell you it is amazing in London. One place we went to was the Corthina hotel for breakfast. The hotel itself is gorgeous and the restaurant was absolutely beautiful. The food was fabulous for breakfast, and so very worth a visit. We had a few really gorgeous and elegant dinners in London, but one evening Farshad and I ate at this tiny little Persian restaurant. It wasn’t fancy, but it’s one of those places off the beaten path that locals know about. It’s called Yaas and the food was absolutely incredible. The bread was homemade on the premises, and the flavors in the food just burst all kinds of yumminess in my mouth. We also dined more elegantly at the original Hakassan, Zuma and Sketch. Europe is a step ahead with it’s cool and fabulous factor, so these restaurants were beyond incredible. Sketch is famous for the sketches on their walls and their bathrooms are unisex. The bathroom stalls look like eggs. The food was good, but it’s more of a place to go because it’s a unique. Hakassan and Zuma both have amazing cuisine, I mean spectacularly unbelievably delicious.
On our last night in London Farshad took me to his favorite little Italian restraunt, Fratelli La Bufala. It was the most delicious Italian food have ever experienced. I imagine the close proximity to Italy had something to do with it. It definitely got me dreaming about an Italian adventure.
A few musts while in London that I will replay in my mind, are the spectacular Green Park, which really exudes Englands lushness, the London Eye, Big Ben,Westminster Abby, and Bond street. Sadly,I didn’t get a chance to see London Tower where the Crown Jewels are, but I needed to leave something for my next visit.
I loved London and the people so very much. Everyone was beyond kind and helpful, and they carry an elegance and grace that is so very different from what I am accustomed to. I think I’m going to get all of my kids dialect coaches so I can have British children. I’m already planning my next trip. London, you did me right !