Travel

A Very British Birthday

Was it “The Parent Trap”? The Royal Wedding broadcast live for every American princess to see in 2011? Or is it the rumor that some #blackgirlmagic may soon move onto the Kensington Palace grounds à la Meghan Markle? I’m not quite sure.

What I do know, is that I’ve always dreamed of traveling to London. Just days before turning the page on year 28, it happened! I snapped this photo outside the gates of Buckingham Palace! Can we say PRECISION? Get it, guards!

I was giddy from the time my sister and I stepped foot on our Virgin Atlantic flight (worth every penny might I add). I couldn’t wait to stand in front of all the iconic landmarks. Big Ben. The London Eye. Tower Bridge.  I’ll be honest, though. After one or two, hailing an Uber to each spot and dodging the insane amounts of tourists who I swear have every intention of knocking your camera out of your hands, you’ve seen enough.

The moments I enjoyed most were times it felt like we were hanging out like locals: laughing hysterically at an improv comedy show or dancing the night away on the 68th floor of The Shard (the tallest building in the UK). Top Secret Comedy Club was. a. riot. These comedians take suggestions from the audience and make up the sketches as they go. That’s crazy! I never stopped laughing. If ever in London, it’s a must-see.

We also took a Friday stroll through a garden on the banks of The River Thames. Seriously, it was one of the most beautiful green spaces I’ve ever walked through! However, the wind had no chill that day, so what we really needed was tea! The Southward Cathedral didn’t disappoint! Scones and jam? Tea and cream? Yes, please!

My only complaints? The food around London was less than satisfying. I was told by coworkers and friends before leaving the U.S. to eat “ethnic” and I should’ve done that. Fish and Chips? They can keep that. My huge piece of pollock was completely unseasoned! If you’re ever on Brick Lane in East London, try Okura Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar and Sloane Bros. Frozen Yoghurt Co. The owner gave us this amazing concoction, The Croyo, for free! It’s frozen yoghurt inside a crepe with strawberries and Nutella. Yum!

Secondly, only a handful of people were ready to party for St. Patrick’s Day! (It’s the day after my actual birthday and I’ve long since included the holiday in my celebrations.) While researching trips, I’d read online that London played host to the 2nd largest St Patty’s Day events in the world! To my surprise, there weren’t as many parties as I thought scheduled on 3/17 and I kept running into people who were in awe of the shamrocks around my neck and the green bow in my hair. Like where is all the green people!?! I later found out the big event was scheduled for Sunday, March 19. Bummer. We flew home that day.

One question people have repeatedly asked: How much did you spend over there? Well,due to Brexit, the exchange rate really wasn’t too bad. At the time of the trip, one dollar was equivalent to .81 british pound. Friends told me I’d spend THOUSANDS while in London. I spent a whopping $930. That includes money spent on a day trip to Amsterdam (post coming soon)!

Check the gallery for all the pictures we took! I should note most were taken with my sister’s iPhone 7. Sideeye. Someone please remind me why I splurged on a new Sony?

Happy swiping!

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