7/29/19

Everything I Did in London Part 1

This is the first part of my London diary. I wrote this when I was there because I wanted to document everything and have it all in one place. Since I was there for eight weeks, it was a little much for just one post, so it's split up into the first fourish weeks and the last four weeks. The first couple of days are a lot since I didn't start work until Tuesday, so I was trying to cram a lot into the first days since I had the completely free. Some of the things I did deserved their own post, so if that's the case, I linked the full post where I go into more depth about everything.

Week 0 (5/22-5/25) 
Post: First 60+ Hours in London

 

 On Wednesday morning, I flew into London Heathrow and moved into my apartment. The first day was mostly about adjusting to the time change and kind of figuring out where I was going to be living for the next two months. That first night my roomates and I ate at The Table Café, and it was really good. I got the Brunch Club with a waffle.


On Thursday, all the interns met for an orientation and then we went to the Marble Arch to begin our double-decker bus tour, which is honestly probably something I would not have done on my own, but since the program paid for it, I was totally okay with it. After the bus tour, we all went to the Tower of London, which again the program paid for, but I would still recommend going if you are a huge history person. Seeing the Crown Jewels was absolutely incredible, but the Tower was used for so much more. It's a lot to take it. After we visited the Tower, we went to Natural Kitchen, and the passion mint tea I got was easily one of the best things I've ever had to drink.

On Friday, we did the boat tour that came along with our bus tour ticket, and I personally liked that more than the bus tour. You go along with the River Thames, and it's fun to see some of the more iconic buildings. Plus, it's a lot cheaper to do the boat tour than actually go in the buildings. One of the captains did the commentary for the tour, and it was super funny. For lunch, we got pizza at 50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo. After that, I went to find my internship which is in Blackfriars, and when I was going back home I walked by St. Paul's Cathedral and then walked across the river rather than taking the tube home.



On Saturday, I went to the National Gallery and wandered around for a couple of hours. There was so much to see that I definitely didn't see all of it, but I saw a lot of the big things like the da Vinci and Manet paintings. AND one of my great grandfather's painting is there (which is what the picture is), and I didn't even know it! For dinner, all the interns went to Al Pastor, which is no Taqueria del Sol but it was still good. If you are hungry though, I would recommend getting more than one order of tacos. Afterward, we went out and went to Anchor Bankside and Flat Iron Square.

Week 1 (5/26-6/1)


I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum on Sunday, but it was probably my worst day on Tube. Honestly, it was my own fault because I thought going the opposite way to change trains would be easier than taking the closer way because all the trains were full... It took me a good hour to get to Kensington. Much like the National Gallery, there is so much to see at the V&A. I don't think I saw half of what was there, but all national museums in London are free, so it's super easy to do multiple trips if you can't see everything in one trip.

Monday was a relatively chill day since I had been doing something every single day since I landed in London. It was also the spring bank holiday, so a lot of things were either closed or had different hours. I took the day to just relax and watch some Netflix (which is so much better in Europe!!) and did my laundry. I spent my 15 minutes trying to figure out the washer, and in the end, I really just hoped for the best.

Tuesday was my first day of work! The rest of the week was relatively chill since I had just started work and was adjusting to working from 9-5:30. I interned at a branding studio, and I learned a ton. In the first week I was there, my Illustrator skills increased tenfold.

On Friday, the other interns and I went to Yen Burger, which is near Borough Market and went to Anchor again afterward.

 

Saturday started off with two of my roommates and I go to Joe and the Juice for a pre-lunch snack and then going to Blue and Black for lunch. Lunch was okay. It definitely wasn't the best thing I ate while I was in London. For dinner, we went to Soho and first went to Golden Lion but there was almost no seating so we didn't eat there. We ended up going to Pizza Express and back to the apartment to watch the last couple of minutes of the Champions League game.

Week 2 (6/2-6/8)
Post: My (Super Short) Trip to Liverpool


On Sunday, my roommates and I went to a service at St. Paul's Cathedral, and it was beautiful. To visit the cathedral and not go to service, it's 20 pounds, but it's free to go to a service, so I highly recommend doing that! For lunch, we went to Café Rouge, and I got a croque monsieur.

I decided to treat myself on Tuesday and go to the movie theater and see Rocketman. It was soooo good. I went to Moving Pictures Cinema, which is in Mercato Metropoliano. There's only one screen, so they only show a couple of movies a week and switch which times they are at. There aren't even real movie theater seats; there are seats and couches instead. It was definitely an experience.

We actually ate Anchor on Friday, rather than just getting drinks, which was nice because the weather was awful. I got the fish and chips because I felt like I had to get it at least once...it was okay. Cod doesn't taste like anything to me, so it tasted mostly like fried breading. But hey, I can say I've had it!

Saturday was the trip of a lifetime in my opinion because I went to Liverpool!!! You can see everything I did in just five hours here, but it was an absolute dream come true to be there. I really wished I had more time to spend there, but that just means I will have to go back one day!

Week 3 (6/9-6/15)

Sunday was a lazy day because Liverpool wore me out. I mostly did errands and chores, and I called my parents for the first time (don't worry; I was texting them constantly!). It was nice to recover before I started another week of work.

This work week was just another normal work week! But this was the first week where I felt like I was finally kind of settled in, and I started being able to work on more projects, which was better than sitting around doing one thing a day.


On Friday, two of my roommates (one was in Dublin) and I went to Wagamama for dinner, and it was really good. I got the chicken ramen and chicken dumplings. (I definitely didn't eat my Ramen correctly...)


Saturday was a busy, busy day. I went BACK to the V&A to see the Mary Quant exhibit, which was amazing. She basically shaped fashion in London during the 60s and 70s. Seeing all the dresses and outfits was just incredible. I also made sure to see Queen Victoria's diamond and sapphire tiara, which I missed the first time I went. After that, I walked to see the Prince Albert memorial in Hyde Park, which is HUGE. I don't know what I was expecting, but it's really big. The actual statue is blocked off, which I didn't like because you can't actually see Prince Albert. The memorial is across the street from the Royal Albert Hall, which was also cool to see. After that I ran to the Boots in Trafalgar Square and went home to eat dinner.


That night, I went to St. Martin's Theater to see The Mousetrap, which is an Agatha Christie murder mystery and the only people who know the ending are supposed to be the people who have seen it. (If you Google it, you can find it....which is annoying and ruins the fun, but I didn't Google it until after I saw it.) The play is good, and it's fun to spend two hours trying to figure out who did it. I feel like you guess every character at some point, so for me at least, I didn't feel like I "figured it out." I did guess some of the other twists! It's definitely a cool feeling to be a part of the history of the play.

Week 4 (6/16-6/22)


Sunday was kind of a chill day with an agenda? There was stuff I knew I wanted to do, but it wasn't like I had an exact plan since I didn't have tickets to anything. First, I went to the grocery store. The Sainsbury's that I was going to go to didn't open until noon, and when I went to get groceries, it was 11...whoops. I went to M&S, which is the nicest grocery store in the area where I lived. After that, I went back to my apartment to get ready for the day. My number one goal was to go shopping since I hadn't been yet. When I got off the tube, there was an H&M right on the corner, so I went there first and I found a polka dotted midi skirt, which makes me feel positively European. (I swear, every other person is wearing one when I walk around.)

After that, I walked to Liberty London, which I have been dreaming of going for forever. It is a little overwhelming because everything is so expensive and there's so much to look at. There's a cafe on the second floor, so I got lunch there because it was probably the only thing I could afford in the whole place...

 

Near Regent Street is actually the place of the Beatles' last concert, so I quickly found the building and...it was anticlimactic. I actually walked past it at first because the sign for marking it actually on the building. There's an Abercrombie and Fitch kids on the first floor of the building now. It's still cool to see though, and I feel like it's a Beatles thing that not everyone goes to see. After that, I was headed toward Tottenham Court station, and I decided to walk through Carnaby Street, which is super cool. Everything is decorated super pretty, and there are flowers and lights everywhere.

The reason I left the apartment that day was to go to Primark, and it was a disaster. I said Liberty in London was overwhelming, but Primark is probably one of the circles of Hell. Primark is known for being super cheap, and I would describe it as the Forever 21 of the UK. I seriously was on the verge of a panic attack the entire I was in there and left after maybe 10 minutes.


After work on Monday, I went to the Globe! I walk past it when I walk home from work, so I was so excited to finally go. I saw Twelfth Night (which is what She's the Man is based on), and it was really good. Whenever I read Shakespeare in high school, I always told my mom that I preferred watching it over reading it, and I still think that's true. I sat in one of the upper boxes, and my view was blocked occasionally, but it wasn't too bad. Sitting for 2.5 hours again was a little rough, but I don't know if I could have stood for that long either...

The rest of the week was just a normal work week, which I feel like I say every week, but I truly just went to my internship Monday-Friday and worked on projects. On Friday, we did our typical intern dinner and went to the Prince Albert in Notting Hill.

Saturday, however, was a busy day, which I feel like it kind of typical of my weekends at this point. Two of my roommates went to Windsor and one of them had friends in town, so I was kind of left to my own devices and I took advantage of that. I went to Kensington Palace, Notting Hill, and Abbey Road.



Right now, Kensington Palace has two exhibits about Queen Victoria since it's the 200th anniversary of her birth there. One is about her growing up in the palace and then one focuses more on her life as queen. The exhibits were incredible. I love Queen Victoria so much, and I defintely cried when I saw one of the black outfits she wore after Prince Albert died.


In addition to the exhibits, there are the regular parts that are there all the time: the King's State Apartments, the Queen's State Apartments, and the Sunken Garden. Everything was just amazing to see because there's so much history there since William and Mary, Queen Victoria, Kings George I and II, Princess Diana, and William and Kate have all lived there. It's crazy to think about everything that happened in that place, and I got to walk the halls of it.



I went back to Notting Hill afterwards because I felt like on Friday I didn't really get to see the charm of it all. I walked through the Portabello Market area, which was really interesting. There are a ton of different vendors and stores. I didn't buy anything, but it was still fun to walk through, but I think my favorite part was seeing all the different colored houses and doors. I felt kind of bad for taking pictures because obviously people live there, but also they had to have known that this would happen before they decided to live there....right?


Saturday ended with me going to Abbey Road. I have probably planned to go there three times before this, but I was determined to finally go. Like anything you read online, it is definitely a tourist stop and probably only one you should go to if you love the Beatles like I do. I didn't take a picture walking across the street because I felt so bad for all the drivers trying to actually continue their day and go through, but I did take a video of me walking across, and I feel like that counts. The gift store is cool, but I already got stuff from Liverpool, so I didn't really have a need for anything. But there was some cool stuff there.

That concludes my first fourish weeks in London! Stay tuned for part 2 (which will be posted tomorrow)

xx, jKm

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