If you love food you have to visit Borough Market and definitely make a pub crawl one evening! London was so fun and so cold but well worth the trip! 

Alright! I am FINALLY able to sit down and blog out my AMAZING trip to London with my friend Brandon!

So, Brandon flew over to the UK a day before me. He went to the London School of Economics and has many friends there. So he callously left me to fly alone and hope that he would come and get me at the airport. Critical because all the hotel reservations are in his name….and for that matter I don’t know to get there.

Okay, first of all let me quote a conversation for you:

whatever you do, do NOT forget to get me at the airport.  which, btw, when i get off the plane, alone, drowsy, and visibly american....WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO FIND YOU????? this is trouble in the making.”

Silly goose. Had you seen Love Actually, you would know the answer! I'll meet you in Arrivals Hall! And. I'll still have a phone. An american one.”

I have seen love actually…actually......and that still means nothing to me. Whatever. See you in.....I don't know how many hours.”

You exit the plane, you go througn customs, you pick up your bag if you failes at packing at light, one last duty-free shop, and then arrivals hall! I will be there. To meet you. Just you. For you. Wth a diet coke.”

“You are my favorite person in the world, sub category: that I intend to kill.”

Now in case you are thinking, what the devil was that about….I felt like that might help you to understand Brandon and I’s “friendlationship.” We like to quip. It is what we do. Which is merely a polite way of saying we are great friends, who are too sarcastic for our own good.

That literally was the conversation we held via facebook RIGHT BEFORE HE LEFT ME STRANDED AT THE AIRPORT. Yes, that’s right. I was there for an hour. I walked out to that arrivals hall and OH LOOK- NO BRANDON! That right there is why I classify him as the sub category of friends that I intend to kill.

So an hour late he shows up (kill, kill, kill), we grab oyster cards, he makes excuses…none of which I listen to because he is NOT holding his aforementioned diet coke I was promised…thus I am tired, cranky, and ready to go back to sleep because it’s 4 am in DC and I am not very pleasant that early in the morning.

Next stop: the hotel to drop off out bags. “Good morning Mr. and Mrs. Lee. May we take your bags up to your room?”

What the... what?

And thus began a week’s worth of marriage jokes most of which involved planning our divorce. But the jokes went along well with the fact that both of us choose to wear rings when we travel – he believes he’s less likely to be mugged if they think he’s married – I just don’t want to be hit on. Which did not work out because as Brandon says “I don’t hit anyone, except my wife.” Week. Long. Abuse.  PLUS SNORING. Worst fake marriage ever!!!! (love you Brandon, I think we can work it out).

So finally it’s time to get out and see some sights. Westminster Abby? It’s cute.  Big Ben? Yep, Ben is the bell, not the clock. Just an FYI. Parliament. Yep. And this is just on the walk to go and ride on the London Eye! ….now if you want a fun experience go ride the London Eye with a guy who is afraid of heights and water.  I’ll just assume you are mocking him and saying he’s a wuss, because I did. But as his fake wife I feel inclined to say “Be nice! That’s my fake husband you are talking about!” But at least the Eye does give you some nice views of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and lots of other lovely buildings that are far less interesting for tourists who have only been in the country for three hours and are suffering from jet lag.

Next up a long cold walk to the Guard House where I have my picture taken with some poor guards who are being tormented by a mob of tourists! And then on to Trafalgar Square! Lots of walking in the cold.
And though I do find this beautiful ship in a bottle sculpture in the corner of Trafalgar square to be pretty, by this point in the day I pretty well stopped caring. The jet lag was kicking right in. I was fairly certain it was nine pm…but no, we have to keep going.

Brandon and I are not the typical tourists…..that’s a lie. We’re corny. Absolutely dorky really. So, it should come as no surprise that one of my check list items for London was a walk down Drury Lane.  Yep.  I’m a dork.

So, then we spent time at the London School of Economics. Which was a nice trip down memory lane for Brandon…which was not, in my opinion, as interesting as Drury Lane, but we did manage to take a few fun pictures before heading off to Fleet Street (Demon Barber!) and onward to eating at the one of the oldest pubs in London.

Ye Olde Chesire Cheese was built in 1538, and then again in 1666, ya know, after the fire.  But look at the patrons: Mark Twain, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and Jana.  Ha. I so don’t deserve to be on that list. You do have to admit that’s a pretty impressive list of thinking men….not necessarily a great list of eating men however. I mean, my steak and ale pie was okay….but well, let’s face it, not the best thing I’ve ever eating.  But you really can’t beat the experience of eating a steak and ale pie, and lemon sponge with raspberry jam (that tastes like the love child of corn bread and a pancake. YUCK) in a dark, gloomy, and rather smelly, pub frequented by some of arguably greatest writers of their times.

By this point, it’s only 4:30. I’M SO TIRED.  Probably just as tired as you are of reading…and we’re not even done with day one yet!

Next up: a pasty because Brandon is ALWAYS hungry. It became a habit to have first dinner, second dinner, and then a midnight take out delivery. So,  we walked over to the Cornish Bakehouse  and got some vegetarian pasties and hot chocolate to wait for out bus back to the hotel.

I was beat. I think we might have done some night photography, but if we did. I’m sure all I did was complain about being cold and tired. So….we’ll skip over that.

DAY 2:

BRANDON SNORES! My fake husband is not an ideal roommate. But, if you hit him really really really hard….he stops. Apparently we’re both rather abusive.

So we finally wake up, leave the hotel and see the changing of the guard.

Okay, here’s the thing about the changing of the guard. They lost me when they started playing stand tunes like a high school marching band. I am somewhat  put off by the idea of the Buckinham Palace guards playing Celebration by Kool and the Gang.  Not Kool. Not Kool at all. Brandon tells me that the guard is made up of first years who are basically being embarrassed, somewhat like organized hazing.  I’d believe that.

After that we did a horribly touristy thing and had tea at the Ritz. Whatever you do in London do NOT have tea at the Ritz. It was not good. The service was actually rather rude, Brandon’s tea tasted like death, the sandwiches were bland, the scones were pathetic, and do not get me started on the desert plate. I will admit that my passion fruit and orange tea was lovely.  That’s really the best thing I can say for the experience. Brandon and I were both rather put off by the experience. 

After that we simply had to go to Harrods because I need quality treats to make up for the horrid tea.  We went to Laduree and I got myself a lovely box of macarons that I loved (except the currant and violet…too pungent).  The macarons were so lovely that I ate them all before taking a photo. Sorry!...that’s a lie. I’m not sorry. Not sorry at all.

Okay, so then we went to Stonehenge and Bath and then we went to Edinburgh, but I’m going to write those in a different post, and skip right over to when we got back because I LOVE the next part!

Day 6: Borough Market!

I can’t stop expressing just how much I LOVE Borough Market. It was wonderful! I had tons of hot apple cider to keep me warm, delicious paella as I walked around, and the food stalls were really something. I love the salt venders, cheese shops, and the thirty types of Turkish delight. 

I walked over to one of the butcher booths that was filled with hens, and pigs, and what looked like half a dear hanging on a board, and large turkeys etc, when one of them MOVED!  So, I screamed, I jumped, I laughed, my eyes bugged out and I got closer…AND IT DID IT AGAIN!......yep. I fell for the oldest market joke there is. The butcher though I was a good mark and was poking the chicken from behind a screen! I can’t believe I fell for it! Ugh!

Next up? Shocker! Another pub!  We headed over to the Wheat Scheaf, a CAMRA bar (that’s Campaign for Real Ale for anyone like me who had no clue).  Brandon and I went over with a few of his friends, who were very enthralled with the South Africa Rugby game. It was rather nice to be in an English pub for a rugby game.  What was interesting was their definition of a lemonade….which basically was a lemon soda. Um. That was a surprise.

Next up? Another shocker: MORE FOOD!  I had my first experience with a Wagamama. Um. It’s an interesting experience. Fast food ramen and a dining room that looks like a cafeteria was interesting, and the food was tolerable, and I’m sure that DC will go berserk when the one actually opens because it’s foreign. DC has really bad taste when it comes to foreign establishements moving in. Like Paul Bakery. Ugh.

Day 7: Ultra Tourism

So you’ll notice that we didn’t do a whole lot of tourism in the last few days. So that meant we had to pack it all into that last day. We went to the British Museum (overrated), the V and A museum (AMAZING, and the Cameraless photography exhibit was fantastic), off the the Coal Hole for Sunday roast, Kings Cross (where we could not find platform 9 3/4 sadly), Monument, Tower of London, Tower bridge, London bridge, St. Pauls (where William and Kate will be married next year), and Millennium bridge. It was a lot of walking, thus we began a game, I got points for every Starbucks we saw and he got points for Pizza Express. I totally won. Starbucks is everywhere, and thankfully near the Tower because I really needed a third hot chocolate for the day.

The short of it is a ton of walking in the cold to see places where one of my ancestors, Henry VIII's last wife, who outlived him would have spent her days. That part's kinda fun for me. :)

The last bit? Tube strike the day we fly out. Are you kidding me? Yep. That's the luck. took us a good long while to make it to the airport. Bleah. But on we go!

Also, if you're still reading, you are are a trooper! Go you! I'll do MUCH SHORTER posts about Bath and Edinburgh soon!