***Disclaimer: I wrote a post on our trip to London our first night in Pretoria. Unfortunately for my mental health, after writing the post and uploading the photos (a painful process with slow internet), the internet glitched and deleted the post. Here is my attempt to redo that post.***
Before we headed on our grand adventure in South Africa, Brian and I wanted one more adventure with just the two of us. After me begging and my amazing husband consenting, we headed to London (we planned it so we had a nine day layover on our way to Johannesburg).
Because it's been over eight months since our trip, I've had quite a bit of time to reflect on our time together and in such an amazing city. Here are a few thoughts from the trip mixed in with copious amounts of photos.
- We had both been to London before, so we spent a lot of our time going to off-the-beaten-path locations. We still hit up touristy spots, but one of our favorite parts of the trip was all of the walking we did. We got a good feel for the city because we just walked through neighborhoods, visited local pubs, and embraced the city life for the short time we had.
- Being in London right after Christmas and over the New Year was magical. Many places were still decorated for Christmas. I loved it! (I've wanted to visit London at Christmas since watching Love Actually.) We were so fortunate because the weather really cooperated for us. The days were usually in the mid-50s and cloudy, with the occasional rain.
- Brian and I have talked about this trip often and we both have a hard time picking one favorite thing we did. It was just the overall feeling of London we loved. BUT I can confidently say that the food was spectacular. We got to enjoy a Sunday roast at a pub on a rainy afternoon, got the traditional fish and chips, ate at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, maze, and ended up at the British equivalent of Panera for breakfast thinking we were visiting a quaint French bakery (well played, PAUL Bakery).
- As an Anglophile and book lover, I LOVED running into spots that had been mentioned in books I had read or film locations. It felt surreal to be walking down Gracechurch Street in Cheapside (Pride and Prejudice) or walking through Leadenhall Market (what J.K. Rowling based Diagon Alley on and a filming location for the first movie) or walking down Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes mysteries) or getting off at the Tottenham Court Road stop (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the Cormoran Strike mysteries).
- One event I slightly regretted at the time, but now look back with a little humor, was going to the Monument dedicated to the Great Fire of 1666. The Monument has stairs you can climb up and a great view at the top. I thought 311 stairs was going to be super easy. I. Was. Wrong. Not only was it a cardio workout, the stairs got more narrow as you went up and people were going up and down. It was insane. The view was great, but I spent most of my time on top trying not to get sick.
- While we were in London, we got to visit some friends of mine from college. It was really good to catch up with the McRaes. They were so kind to have us over for dinner, watch most of our luggage for a week so we wouldn't have to haul it around, and even drove us to the airport. I greatly regret we didn't get a picture with these sweet friends.
- One of the most British moments was when we walked across the Tower Bridge in the rain and wind. My Anglophile heart almost burst with the British-ness of it all! It was cold and it was rainy, but I was walking with Brian in London—all was right in my world.
- Along with hanging around London, we went to the Harry Potter Studio Movie Tour. It was magical!! The great hall was decorated for Christmas, which was really wonderful to see.
- On our last full day, we went to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which felt a little like a pilgrimage to me. Charles Spurgeon's sermons have seen me through some rough times in my life. Being there at the church where he spent so many years preaching the Gospel made me realize the value of a life well lived.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. We were thankful to have had some time away before heading on our greatest adventure together yet. We still have a few things on our London to-do list, so I'm sure at some point, we'll return.