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London Calling, Part 1: British Museum, Harry Potter and dessert

When I first told my mom that I was planning to go London alone, her immediate reaction was to side-eye me and say in Tagalog, "ang lakas ng loob mo". That roughly translates to "you're so brave" or courageous except instead of saying it proudly, she was saying it in a "why can't my daughter just stay home" kind of way (I'm an only child and she's very overprotective). But it's funny, that was usually the reaction I got when I told people I was going alone and the truth was, I didn't feel very brave about it in the days leading up to the trip. In fact, I definitely had moments where I wondered why I decided to do this even though traveling alone was a personal goal of mine. Luckily for me, my close friends reassured me that I could in fact do this and told me constantly that as soon as I actually got to London, I'd feel fine.

And they were right. 

Once I got to London, I was fine. More than fine. I was immediately reminded of why I loved the city the first time I visited. The culture, the history, the architecture. Getting to explore London for 4 full days on my own was an unforgettable experience and I'm so happy I didn't let my fear stop me from taking this trip. I actually found myself thinking that if proximity to family wasn't such a priority for me, I'd totally live there. It felt new but so, so familiar in a lot of ways. It reminded me of New York, only better (I know, I'm a terrible New Yorker for saying that). 

And now, I'm going to chat about the first half of my trip and then tomorrow continue with the last two days!

Day 1

I took an overnight flight to London which was kind of a disaster since I was sitting next to a screaming toddler but as soon as I saw The Underground sign, it hit me that I was in London! Even though I was half asleep, the excitement started settling in and after checking into the hotel (Holiday Inn which I can't recommend enough because it was so conveniently located), having my first of many English breakfasts, a power nap and a hot shower, I was ready to go out. Bloomsbury is a beautiful part of London and exploring on foot during my first day was exactly what I needed. 

I walked through Russell Square and made my way towards The British Museum. The entrance with its white interior and glass ceiling was breath-taking. There's a ton to see but I decided to wander around aimlessly. What impressed me the most were the Egyptian galleries, the Greek and Roman sculptures and the Rosetta Stone. 


After the museum, I decided it was time for a snack and walked to Gail's Bakery. I got a spinach and feta danish but my favorite was the lemon, pistachio and rose mini-cake. From there, I went to Waterstones aka every reader's dream especially if you're looking to add UK editions to your collection. It's four floors of books and I walked out with 5! I can tell you that seeing all those books woke me up right now. But jet lag did start to hit me so I picked up fish and chips from North Fish (so good!) and relaxed in my hotel room for the rest of the night. 

Day 2

I couldn't go to London and not check out the Warner Bros Studios Harry Potter Tour. I ended up going with a tour group so I wouldn't have to worry about transportation. It worked out because I could nap on the bus and you still do the tour individually but you are beholden to their schedule, which again worked for me too. It was unreal to see all the original sets, costumes and props from the movie. I took my time looking at it all and taking advantage of the photo opportunities because there are lot of fun ones. Of course, I had to get myself some butter beer and seeing the Hogwarts Express never gets old. 


But the moment that made me gasp out loud was seeing the rendering of Hogwarts Castle which was used for wide, sweeping shots. It didn't occur to me that they had something like this and it was just amazing to see all the detail. And my inner fangirl danced when I walked into Harry Potter's house on Privet Drive. That was really cool too. 

After the tour (and more napping on the bus), I walked to Peggy Porschen Cakes. I had been stalking this place on Instagram and I couldn't resist seeing if it lived up to the hype. I had to wait outside for an hour to get a seat but it was honestly pretty great. I got a latte, a salted caramel cake that I devoured and one of the most richest tasting brownies ever, which I couldn't finish and saved for later. (Yes, this was my dinner.) I only wish I had been there with a friend so I could've tried even more desserts. And as you can imagine, I was ready to head back to my hotel to crash and watch Doctor Who after my very busy day. 

***

So that was Day 1 and 2 of London! Check back tomorrow
to hear more.

Have you been to London? What are some of your favorite places 
to visit when you're there?

1 comment

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