London Calling

I’m not sure where to start with this, because I’m not sure when my obsession with London started. Let’s just say I’ve been obsessed with London, and British culture in general for a long, long time. Every now and then, I would start to feel wistful and nostalgic for London — and I’d never even been. The pull was strong, like I was sure I really needed to go there. And it was the Olympics last year that was the final straw. After the first week, I said to Alan; “Alan, if I have to live one more day not having been in London, I will DIE.” 

So, this amazing guy of mine cautiously began to look at flights to London, and I looked up the best time to go, and before the evening was over, we had booked the trip for May of this year. I already knew the place I wanted to stay, which was a leftover from my failed plan to travel to London after I graduated from college. Anyway. The trip was great, but exhausting. I didn’t really want to, y’know, become *those* tourists, that just go-go-go all day and barely get a moment to breathe. It did feel like we crammed a lot in, and we were exhausted by the end, but I think if we hadn’t done and seen all we could, we would’ve regretted it.

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We stayed in Belsize Park and spent a lot of time at this tube station. Everyone said buy an Oyster card, it makes public transit a breeze. I was still terrified, but it turned out to be the best decision we’ve ever made. It was painless.

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From our first day there, when we walked everywhere around Central London, and then found this great  restaurant like, on the main drag! And I had delicious fish and chips.

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My excellent traveling buddy.

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We did a ton of touristy stuff, including walking over to Buckingham Palace. I was mad crazy about this statue and took a billion photos. I mean, isn’t it beautiful??

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Spaced is one of my all-time favorite shows, and the house in it is practically a character. So, we made the trek one night to find it. I suppose it’s like Mecca for Spaced fans.

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Ultra touristy, but the London Eye: Very cool.

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I had a Pimm’s cup outside on a patio one evening on the South Bank of the River Thames. I dig British-y things.

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In the middle of the trip we took the train up to Manchester on Morrissey’s birthday to visit what is the Mecca for Smiths fans: The Salford Lads Club. Brilliant!

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And then Mecca for Beatles fans. This place, I tell you. What a bunch of idiots that are there. Holding up traffic, making me embarrassed for the human race. This photo isn’t so great because I was trying not to be an idiot. But I did it! I walked across Abbey Road. That album is one of the most important to me.

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Our accommodations. We stayed at Palmers Swiss Cottage where we got our own room, and there was a bar, and decent showers, and a fine breakfast, but I’m not sure we’d stay again. But Hosteling was obv. the best option.

There was a ton of stuff that would be considered run-of-the-mill tourist traps, but there was also a lot of *super cool* things we did that I didn’t really take pictures of: We went to an awesome off-the-grid restaurant in Camden which had an extensive gin list and was in an old, big house. Lots of people in their 20s and 30s there, which made us feel like we were in the right place. We also went to David Bowie Is which was unbelievable, and on our first night, we had the enormous pleasure of seeing my *favorite* comedian Stewart Lee do a work-in-progress show in the intimate basement of the Soho Theatre. Basically, any time we were anywhere where the majority of people spoke with British accents, we knew we were doing something right.

At the end of the week we were tired and ready to go home, but I had nothing but fond thoughts for London, and can’t wait to go back. Good combination? Yeah. Yeah, it is.

About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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Personal, Photo, Travel

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