The past five days have been amazing. Since we’ve landed into Gatwick on Wednesday at 7am, we have undoubtedly hit the ground running. And while I was last in London three years ago, this time around, the culture shock is a bit more prominent due to being immersed in British culture without my family.
This time around, we all threw ourselves into hostel culture and pub crawls, Indian food, and TONS of walking. The best part about walking around town is snaking through tiny alley ways, & finding cute shops and cafes nestled between buildings. London is beautiful because it has hundreds and hundreds of years of history in every other building.
On a side note for anyone traveling, lessons so far include:
Roll up all your clothes and wrap with an elastic band. It’s a space saver because you can squeeze them into random spaces in your bag.
Yelp! is one of the best apps. It was able to show us reviews for different restaurants within our budget range and at the same time, we could find authentic non-touristy traps. On the topic of apps, Google Maps have also been great.
Hostel living is best if you’re neat and organized. Splaying your stuff everywhere makes packing insanely stressful for any day.
Markets in London are just gorgeous, and sumptuous dishes abound! We lived by Borough Market and Vancouver could take a few lessons from these public markets.
If you’re traveling on tours and know you’ll be walking around, pop into Sainsbury and grab some cheap sandwiches. We luckily had a Sainsbury across from our hostel.
Eye covers are saviours when sleeping in hostels. We slept under a skylight and especially in a shared dorm, you never know someone is going to turn the lights on!
Get an Oyster card for the Tube but if things are 30 minutes away walking, take a walk. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
And did I mention we saw the Queen? It had been a bit of a running joke that one of the items on our to do list was to see her and while we were on a tour, our guide jokingly shouts “It’s the Queen!” when a policeman on a car rushes past our group … Then our guide freaked out and went “It IS her!” And we turned and saw a trail of cops and a giant black car with the Queen inside cutting through traffic.
London has been amazing! I’m typing this out on our way to Amsterdam via flight so until then!