We really should stop disappearing for weeks on end, don’t you think? I call it the “Instant Social Media Syndrome,” in which we post pictures and updates on Facebook and Instagram and think that everyone can see them. I forget there’s a world out there where Facebook doesn’t occupy multiple hours per day – it sounds magical!
Anyway, I thought I’d reintroduce our blog to you, yet again, with an update on how our first big trip since moving to Germany went. Since Brian and I were unable to go home for Thanksgiving this year, we thought it would be great to spend it with some friends – more specifically, some American friends! So we jet-setted to London to visit one of my best friends, Liz, and her husband Mark. I tried to put the pictures with their respective paragraphs to break up the text, but the blog host is being finicky this evening, so all the photos are at the end of the post. Sorry about that!
**Side note: once you’re in Europe, it’s insanely cheap to fly around. One roundtrip ticket from Basel (Switzerland) to London costs about $80 (and that’s close to the holidays – it could probably get even cheaper if you fly on weekdays and offseason!) Double bonus: the flight is just over 1 hour long, so I barely have time to register the fact that I’m on an airplane. Hail Easy Jet!
We arrived in London late Tuesday night (11/26) after navigating 8 super fun travel legs (tram, tram, train, tram, bus, plane, train, car). Upon arriving at Liz’s place, we found in our guest room: 2 London guidebooks, a visitor’s phone, 2 Oyster Cards (the metro card in London), and 2 Reese’s PB Cups on our pillows. BEST HOSTS EVER.
We aimed to get an early start on Wednesday, but fresh bagels and cream cheese called our names from a local bakery, so we didn’t get moving until mid-morning. Brian and I decided to hit up East London for our first day’s adventures, so Liz walked us to the Underground, and along the way we saw that their quaint neighborhood of Hampstead is seriously adorable (sorry to all the men reading this – I’m sure you love reading about quaint and adorable things.)
We went up into Tower Bridge (where the Olympic Rings were hung in 2012), walked along the River Thames, over London Bridge (pretty underwhelming to look at, but surprisingly neat to walk over), and then took a tour in the Tower of London. For those who don’t know, Tower of London is a historical fortress in the middle of an urban city. It houses not only the Crown Jewels, but also the Bloody Tower, which is home to several torture devices that were used on “traitors” back in the day. Quite the contrast. Anyway, later that evening, Liz took us to the 32nd floor of Centre Point, which has an outstanding bar with 360 views of London, and after that we met up with Mark at an even more amazing Japanese restaurant for dinner.
On Thursday, Brian and I ambitiously walked around what seemed like the rest of London. We saw: Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey (where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married), Buckingham Palace, an accidental witness of Changing of the Guard, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street (think M Street for my DC folk, or 5th Avenue in NY), Covent Gardens, and several Harry Potter pit stops! Nerd alert: we saw the lobby of Gringotts from the first HP movie (Australia House), and the outside of 12 Grimmauld Place!! For Thanksgiving dinner, we pigged out (pun intended) on BBQ and Blue Moon, and it was delicious!
Friday was great because Liz was able to take the day off, so we made good use of her as a tour guide. We took a double decker into town and visited the British Library and King’s Cross (and yes, of course we saw Platform 9 3/4!) We visited Camden Town and some cool flea market type vendors, and THEN, you guys, we ACTUALLY had tea and scones! It was super British and I loved it. 🙂 Later that night we met up with some of Liz and Mark’s friends at Camden Town Brewery and got to have some local beer, which was also great!
Finally, on Saturday, we cooked Thanksgiving dinner. And we cooked. And then we cooked some more. It was great fun and we ended up with a party of 12 for dinner, including 7 Americans, 1 Canadian, 2 UK’ers, and 2 French folk. It was definitely the most international Thanksgiving I’ve ever witnessed.
And that wraps up our trip! Sorry if I lost you at any point with my excruciating detail and lengthy descriptions of non-important things. You can just look at the pretty pictures and come up with a story on your own.
Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! And Happy Hanukkah!