Saturday, February 23, 2019

Winter Weekend in London, Part 1

Living in Florida, I hear a lot of people tell me that they're visiting to shake off the winter blues from their home up north. The gray skies can wear you down, and the cold leaves you feeling permanently exhausted, so why not escape to a little sunshine.


I'm no stranger to cold weather, but never in Florida, and never for more than a few weeks. 

It can be a beautiful thing to stretch out on the green lawn in January, sunlight warming you in dappled patterns. But holidays don't feel quite the same at 85 degrees, and winter doesn't feel like winter at all.

For a taste of what we were missing, the girls and I packed our bags for an extended weekend in London in mid-January.


I had a friend working in the city and pitched it as a perfect excuse to visit. We booked our tickets with a few short weeks to go, and then we were off.

Our flight landed in Gatwick around 7am, so we freshened up in the bathrooms and took the Express into the city. With a few hours to go before we could check-in at our AirBnB, we dropped our bags at a nearby hotel (through Bag BnB, a worthy £5, if you ask me), and set off.


We grabbed a coffee at Pret and talked about our game plan before skipping on towards Buckingham Palace.


 

We had dodged the big crowds by coming early, but after half an hour or so, things were starting to fill up.

Ready to move on, we traded one crowd for another at Portobello Road Market. We lost ourselves in the antiques and colorful homes as we meandered through the throngs of people.




With check-in time inching closer, we headed back towards Victoria, popping in to the Museum of Natural History to waste a bit of time on the way back.





After we checked in, we indulged in showers and grabbed a bite to eat, taking the long way so we could explore our neighborhood a bit.


After 28 or so hours of no sleep, we found ourselves hitting a wall. A nap recharged us enough to wander back out for a night pub hopping in Soho and dancing the night away at my old haunt in Chinatown.

I wish I'd snapped some photos for you, but we were a bit too busy singing along to the band at the top of our lungs. So, here's a throwback to when I did the same thing three years earlier.

 

The perfect beginning to the trip!
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