February 19, 2013

I had extremely high hopes for London. GC had such an amazing experience studying abroad there, and I was so excited to discover the city on my own. London lived up to, and exceeded all of my expectations.  From the language, to the sites, to the food, I just loved the overall vibe of the city. My favorite moments were those spent strolling the streets and soaking in the culture. By the end of my stay, London completely won my heart.

It was so surreal to see a building as iconic as Big Ben up close and personal.

The London Eye was so modern yet so gorgeous.

Tate Modern, a power station turned modern art museum, was a relaxing retreat during a rainy day.  My favorite work was textured, colorful, and abstract.

Wimbledon completely blew me away. From the quaint town to the impeccable centre court, I was continually amazed by the most famous tennis club in the world.  It was insanely surreal to sit in the seats, to climb up Henman hill, and to see the score from last year’s final still posted on centre court.  I even got a chance to visit the press room and pose as a player giving a post-match conference. Wimbledon was by far my favorite experience of the entire ten day break.

No true shopper would visit London without stopping at the majestic retail wonderland that is Harrods.  I was amazed by the store, especially as I walked through the various gourmet food sections.  My favorite aspect, however, was enjoying a traditional afternoon tea, complete with five petite pastries of our choice.

On Wednesday we ventured north of the city to visit Leavesden Studios, the home of Harry Potter on the big screen.  The studios contained almost all of the sets, costumes, and props from the eight films.  I especially enjoyed the butterbeer (the perfect combination of cream soda and butterscotch) halfway through the adventure.

I also ventured to 2B Kilburn Park to explore GC’s old neighborhood.  The Queen’s Arms Pub next door was super cozy and I enjoyed warming up by the fire.

No trip to London would be complete without a meal of Fish and Chips.  The George Inn was close to our hostel, super historic, and known for authentic cuisine.

Covent Gardens Market was a lot of fun.  A fresh food section appears every Thursday, so it was great to hop from vendor to vendor to explore all of the options.  I decided on a chicken skewer lunch box complete with coleslaw, pickles, and potatoes.  For dessert, I sought out a piece of homemade Oreo cake.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, a cardiac foundation was also set up in Covent Gardens. I was able to make a donation and receive a heart and lock of my own to add to the display.  I loved being able to leave a little piece of GC and me in London.  It was a small way to make Valentine’s Day special even though we are 3,000+ miles apart.

Before leaving for Heathrow airport, I was able to sneak a peek of Tower Bridge.  What a perfect end to a fabulous four days.


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