I’m writing from Amsterdam, which is the first city/night I’ve been able to sit down and gather my thoughts. I’ve been to London, Paris and Brussels in the last 10 days, and I’ve never felt so contentedly exhausted.
London was fabulous. I was able to see two of my favorite musicians, Porter Robinson and Madeon, as well as get my new tattoo. I found the Underground to be incredibly efficient and I so wish we had such reliable/widely used public transportation in Los Angeles and San Diego.
I stayed in Wombats City Hostel with my sister from Feb. 6-9. We were in a 6-bed female room, so our roommates changed each day. I met travelers from Spain, Poland, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Each woman was traveling alone and most of them were on their third or fourth month of world travel. Hostels in Europe are really common and they have everything down to a science. We were able to place our luggage in storage lockers inside our room that were only accessible with our personal room keys. Another cool feature of the hostel was its basement “Wombar,” which served alcohol from 6 p.m. – 1 a.m. Aside from the great happy hour prices, the bar was a great place to mingle with other travelers, play games and kick back after a long day.
We arrived on separate flights and met up at London Heathrow. Getting to our hostel was so easy with the Underground. We got off at our stop and trudged up the stairs to find the TOWER OF LONDON just across the street. There is so much history and culture everywhere in Europe, which is something I wish I could say about home. We had dinner at Leman Street Tavern. I had the traditional fish and chips with mushy peas, which was SO GOOD. I don’t typically like seafood, but when in London? We went to a nearby pub and then went in search of a bar for a nightcap. We stumbled upon a speakeasy located underneath a dry cleaner, and it was packed even on a Monday night. We ended the night pretty early and went back to Wombats to get a good night’s rest.
We were still adjusting to the jet lag and didn’t wake up until 2 p.m. We were determined to make the most of the afternoon, so we took a stroll around the city and had lunch before getting ready for the concert. We spent some time with one of our roommates, Maria, who is a retired teacher from Poland with so many wonderful tales to tell. The Shelter Live Tour with Porter Robinson and Madeon started at 7. My sister had not bought a ticket, so we planned on having her wait for me at a lounge near the venue. As we made our way to the o2 Forum, a man said he had a ticket to sell and offered to let her take the ticket while I waited with him to see if it worked – and it did! THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN LA. EVER. The show was fantastic. Louis the Child opened and Porter and Madeon’s set was unreal!
I woke up bright and early to get to the borough of Lewisham for my tattoo appointment with artist Yaana Gyach. I found her page on Instagram in December, emailed her my ideas and found myself in her studio less than two months later. The power of social media, you know? The sketch she came up with was more than I could have ever dreamed of. I discussed the symbolism in an earlier post, so seeing it come to life was breathtaking. However, it was absolutely AGONIZING. Completely worth it, but SO PAINFUL. I can’t remember the entire session and I think it’s my mind protecting itself from the trauma lol. It turned out absolutely gorgeous, though!! After my appointment, it was already nightfall (yeah it took like 4 hours I wanted to die) and my sister and I had a quick dinner, then headed to AquaShard, located 32 stories above the city. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer a view of every major landmark you can think of. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The cocktails were a little pricey, starting at about £17, but with a view like that, you’re probably sipping slowly anyways.
We were walking distance from the Tower of London, so we had an English breakfast near the site and did a little sightseeing afterward. Breakfast was AMAZING. It was bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, hashbrowns, baked beans and toast. AMAZING. AMAZING. AMAZING.We stumbled upon the oldest church in the city of London, which had a crypt museum that houses mosaic tile flooring from 2nd century Roman occupied London. (Yes, my history boner was raging.) After, we walked around until it was time to head to the airport for our flight to Dublin. (More on that wonderful place later)
London is a city filled with so much to do, and one that I don’t feel I had nearly enough time to explore. But there are a million reasons to come back eventually! Have you ever been to London? What did you like the most?
Dublin, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Munich posts coming soon! Thanks for reading!