So I still can’t do any weight lifting or exercise besides walking with my back pain, especially not until my MRI this coming Monday. So I decided to go swimming as my doctor recommended. Right as I was about to start changing into my swimsuit I heard my name… being called by one of my professors… We ride the same bus sometimes home from class so I should have figured the same pool would be close, but that was sufficiently awkward. Luckily she felt the same way since she brought it up that way in class.
The pain was a lot better in my back but I had to stop taking the ibuprofen because of the heartburn it was giving me, which meant in London it hurt quite a bit more. That, along with the Airbnb being a bit further than we were expecting, and there being nowhere in the club to sit made things a little worse, but nothing that a heating pad and some rest and stretching can’t overcome.
I got into London (via the very large 3 gate Granada airport) on Thursday at around 9:00 after classes. I was going to sleep but happened to be surrounded by babies on all sides, many of whom would not be convinced to calm down, despite what the parents tried.
Luckily I had downloaded a movie, Isn’t it Romantic with Rebel Wilson, which I watched and enjoyed the parody of romantic comedies. I took the train and then the metro to meet up with my friends Belle and Ley to see Ley’s flat and then for Belle and I to go to the Airbnb together. It was a little farther away from the main subway than we had thought but the room was super nice and the bed super comfy. The only other problem was that on our way there it started to downpour so I was dripping wet when we arrived. (Thank goodness for hot showers, and that the common Spanish concern about being cold and getting a cold isn’t a real thing. Because viruses.)
The next morning we woke up at met at a cute tea place near Buckingham called The English Rose. They had Gf scones and delicious tea and vegan tea cakes for Belle (egg allergy).
At 11, we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham which was really cool. My favorite part was that there were police to protect the guards…
We walked around the area which, surprisingly had a lot of the major London sights. Big Ben was under renovation but we saw one clock face. Westminster we were supposed to be able to go into the church without paying for the whole tour but the time we got there they said we had to wait an hour so we left without doing that but the outside was impressive. We saw the London Eye (Ferris wheel thing) from the ground (yay shared fear of heights) and, also from outside, the Admiralty House, Houses of Parliament, St. James Gardens, and Piccadilly Circus (basically a square with large screens, like a very small, watered down NYC Times Square).
We had Mexican for lunch because I hadn’t had it since I’d gotten to Europe. The enchiladas and taquitos were amazing, as was having sour cream again.
Afterwards, we went into the (hugeee) National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery (both free and probably my favorite museums so far).
Mehra and two of her abroad friends flew in and met us and we walked around and went to a small cafe for pie and tea. Belle, Ley, and I went to Coven Garden (a indoor and outdoor mall and group of stores and restaurants) and got chocolate and looked at other things while the others went off on their own.
We met back up at an Italian place with GF and vegan options (Bella Italia) for dinner and to celebrate Ley’s 21st birthday. We got her a headband and chocolates, dinner and cupcakes (and obviously our presence). After delicious GF penne with a mushroom, spinach white sauce and a GF red velvet cupcake for me, we made our way to our first (and only) pub in London (and no rugby was on so perhaps we were cheated of the real experience) where we talked with an older couple that we shared a table with.
Finally, tired, we made our way back to the Airbnb and fell asleep.
The next day, we made our way to Flock, a cafe near the Tower of London and the London Bridge. Tea, of course, for all. “English breakfast” of beans, eggs, ham, bacon and mushrooms for me. The day was a lot colder, grayer, windier, but we braved it and walked around the old tower and over the Bridge.
We made our way to Oxford Street (a main shopping street) and I got GF brownies and more tea as we met some of Belle’s family friends. Next was Kensington Gardens and Palace. We saw where Meghan and Harry announced their engagement, where the royal family lives (unfortunately only from the outside) and different embassies for multiple countries. For lunch, one of the highlights of the trip, we had high tea at the cafe in Kensington as well. GF tea sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam and three little gf pastries- lemon and chocolate and chocolate chip, along with Earl Gray with Blue Flowers tea which was amazing.
After tea we took the tube back to the Airbnb and napped/rested before rallying to go to Cereal Killer Cafe whose menu consists only of cereal type products — milkshakes or ice cream from cereal, cereal with toppings or milks, etc. Next, we went to Tiger Tiger, a club that was hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Night (kind of an oxymoron I suppose). We got back late, after getting Five Guys Fries, especially with the tube ride being between 30-60 minutes.
A few hours later, we got up to check out of the Airbnb where Belle and I said goodbye to the others and got breakfast at a cafe (cheese omelet and more tea for me) before I got the train to head to the airport.
One thing that was really smart was that they let you check your carryon at check in for free. Less cool was that apparently peanut butter (which they don’t sell in Spain) is considered a liquid and was confiscated. Also not horrible but not ideal is that many major airports in Spain don’t post the gate until 30 minutes before boarding. Luckily I used that time to get peanut butter cups (also not sold in Spain) and buy my bus ticket from Malaga to Granada (since we were flying into Malaga and I had to take a 2 hour bus to get back to Granada, the payment for which hadn’t been going through).
The flight was smooth although unfortunately I woke myself up by drooling all over myself so that was both fun and super cool of me…
The bus to Granada got in a half an hour early which was really nice and a great way to start the new week.
Puppy on the Tube!
Cereal Killer Cafe
Cereal Killer Cafe
Top of a Double Decker red bus
Embassy near Kensington
GF high tea!
Tower of London
Ley’s Birthday Dinner
Two da Vinci works
The London Eye
Big Ben, Under Construction
Classic London phone booth