London, Eye Love You

The next trip we took was to London. I had not planned on going to London before I left for Barcelona, but I am so glad I did. Our trip started off great until we got on the wrong train from the airport. OOPS. Even signs in English can’t lead us to the right place. Well, it was quite a shock realizing that we were going deep into the countryside instead of towards the heart of the city. When we handed the man our ticket to get stamped on the train, I knew immediately from his crumpled brow and lengthy concentration on the ticket that something was off. He told us that no, we were not on the right train, but yes, it would be easy to transfer back to the right line.

Where did we mean to go? To tea, of course J We had made a reservation for late afternoon tea at the Strand Palace Hotel. I had only had afternoon tea once in Washington, D.C. We got off the metro and stored our bags with the front desk in the hotel. I ordered a mint tea which was absolutely delicious. Then, came the towers of finger sandwiches and sweets. Our eyes widened as we realized that not only one of the four towers the waitress was holding was for us, but ALL of the four towers. We would each get our own tower. Wow. After picking through most of the tower and finishing our last sips of tea, we left the hotel to go check in to our hostel.

We decided to stay at the Generator Hostel which was great—highly recommend. Very cool, comfortable atmosphere. Very clean, as well. Music was playing in the lobby and the people at the front desk greeted us with welcoming smiles. So far, London was great except for the little train incident. We quickly dropped our bags (which was something we would be getting used to during all of our weekend trips), changed, and then went to Wahaca for dinner. I got a pork burrito and Passion Fruit Margarita—perfect meal. The guacamole is superb and must be ordered as an appetizer by anyone who makes a visit to Wahaca.

The next day, we woke up early and had a quick breakfast of eggs and toast at the hostel. Before we left, we glanced out the window and realized it was snowing. According to our friends studying abroad in London, it was the coldest weekend yet of the semester. We bundled up and made our way to the London Eye, warm coffees in hand. We waited for about 45 minutes in the line to get on the huge contraption. I looked across the river at Big Ben as we made the loop in what seemed like a snow globe. After the Eye, we walked to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. We took pictures in front of the red phone booths, of course. Then, the cold got to us. All we wanted to do was warm up with a nice hot drink… so tea it was! This time, we went to tea at Harrods. What a store. We shared two types of tea—Vanilla and English Rose—and snacked on warm scones with jam.

That night, we went to a favorite bar of our friends called O’Neill’s. On the first floor, a DJ played music that was similar to what we hear at bars near school. On the second floor, however, a live band played throwback nineties songs that we sang and bounced along to. Such a unique experience and so, so fun.

Another magical trip filled with good music, snowy London streets, and a new found love for afternoon tea.

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