London: My Top 10 Experiences

My week in London was a trip I will never forget. There is nothing like experiencing another culture, especially in a city that is so incredibly rich with history.

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I went with my pal Bri with the goals of taking in as much of the sights and experiences London had to offer – and to spend some time with Miss Kendra, my old roomie who is going to grad school in London and is quite the amazing lady. I heart Bri and Kendra mucho and I’m happy that the trip happened. Here’s a countdown of sorts of my favorite things that I experienced while visiting this great city.

10. Trifles from Sainsbury’s


Ingredients: fruit + gelatin mixture, custard, shortbread, whipped cream. It came in a little single-cup portion, like pudding. I was in heaven… several times throughout the trip.

9. Ginger Beer


Crabbie’s. Alcoholic. Amazing. You can put ice in it! One of the things I loved about London was that the drinking culture is so different than the United States. Big, burly men drinking fruit ciders and ginger beer with ice in it… my kinda place.

8. Clotted Creme


Another food experience! Yes. This luscious creme came with our scones at high tea in St. James Park. It wasn’t too sweet, but it was sweet enough. Like buttah, but creamier. I die.

7. In-Your-Face Daytime Lip Color


On the tube, at museums, basically everywhere I went I saw gaggles of super cute gals rocking the bright florescent red or pink lips. Absolutely stunning and a nice contrast from the gloomy weather. After a trip to the MAC store, I too was a part of the bright lips party.

6. The Tube


I live in San Francisco and am one of the few who rarely complain about our public transportation system… but that’s probably because I’d never experienced the Tube… holy moly is that thing efficient. A train comes every 2 minutes or so. Absolutely wonderful. The train cars are clean, and although they can get quite crowded, everyone is usually really polite.

5. Not having internet or GPS on my phone
I’m kind of happy I decided to not pay the $30 extra (or however much it was) to have internet access on my phone while abroad. It forced me to check email and social media accounts at the apartment only (or when I stumbled upon free wi-fi, which was rare). I was able to really focus on and absorb my surroundings. On the other hand, I didn’t have instant access to my interactive map with GPS. But I luckily downloaded a London Tube map app (which I’ll also blog about later) for my iPhone before the trip. That was pretty damn helpful.

4. Paul’s Patisserie


I really think that my friends are sick of me talking about this place but really… there are no words to describe how incredibly mindblowing their macarons were. And the strawberry tart… and the prosciutto sandwich! Delicious, amazing, oh my god.

3. British Television


I really need to write a separate post about my favorite British television shows, but they were just so informative and fun and slighty different than American television. That’s fo sho. When I was tired from a day of walking and navigating the city, I was excited to come back to our gorgeous apartment and take in an episode of Take Me Out, or My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (photo above).

2. Hampton Court Palace


I really like “touching” history. You can’t touch old things at museums, so when I’m in an old building, I like to touch the walls. I don’t know why, I just like to know that I’ve touched something that’s been around, in the case of Hampton Court Palace… since the 1500s. This beautiful palace was built by Cardinal Wolsey, given to King Henry VIII and was used as a hotel/place of entertainment for foreign royals. Good times. You can see glimpses of it in the Showtime series The Tudors.

1. The Tower of London


Once again, I totally touched these walls (once I got inside, of course). This place was built in 1066 and is really fucking old. I spent a good 5 hours here.

The first hour was spent on a beefeater tour which I highly recommend because they are a.) knowledgeable, and it’s a good introduction to what you’ll be seeing, b.) funny, and c.) slightly intimidating.

I saw the crown jewels, the ravens, and lots of old armor. The photo above is of the Queen’s houses – where Anne Boleyn spent her last days before being executed.

Bonus: The Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

I can’t believe I almost forgot about this! It was a lot of fun, and silly, and really crowded but I recommend it for those who are fascinated by this unsolved mystery. (Photo above: Mary Kelly’s pub of choice).

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4 Comments

  1. Posted March 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh man, I remember my first experience with double cream; age ten, visiting my step-grandmother in Essex. That shit is to die for. I almost hate my parents for moving back to the states.

    [Reply]

    tatiana Reply:

    I need to learn how to make it… if that’s even possible. :P

    [Reply]

    Margaret Reply:

    My mom might know. Will ask, because omg.

    [Reply]

  2. Posted March 11, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad you loved London! I fucking love Paul. Their sandwiches are just–with the butter and everything?–ugh, amazing. I love butter. Okay, now feel free to come back and visit any time!

    [Reply]

    tatiana Reply:

    Haha, totally.

    Me: Kendra, what’s this sauce in the sandwich?
    Kendra: Um, it’s butter.

    :) I’ll hopefully be back sometime next year!

    [Reply]

  3. Chandra
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Ooh I’m so jealous. I was just talking to my carpool buddy the other day about my travels… I’ve seen quite a bit of Asia and now a little Mexico, but none of those places felt truly “unfamiliar” to me. I really want to go someplace that feels Old and has History, and I know Korea does have LOTS of history, but it just isn’t the same as these beautiful photos you’ve posted. Miss you :)

    [Reply]

    tatiana Reply:

    I miss you too! And yeah, London didn’t feel as unfamiliar as I’m sure some place like Turkey would feel… it was still a city and people spoke English, but I’m excited to continue traveling. I can’t wait to see more of the world… and soon!

    [Reply]

  4. amy
    Posted March 15, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    so jealous!!!!
    All of those things sound so amazing!!!
    Kendra included ;)

    [Reply]

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  1. [...] about getting bitten by the travel bug. If I wasn’t already feeling antsy after my trip to London earlier this year… I’m even more antsy now! Woody Allen really has a talent when it [...]

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