No no, this won’t be a post about how I want to move to London, work for a publisher, live in a quaint apartment in Nothing Hill with my boyfriend who lectures at uni and our little cockapoo dog called ‘ewok’….I mean that’s the London dream, but that’s not the dream I’m talking about here!
Sometimes in February I got invited to this alumni cocktail party at Canada House in London. I wasn’t too sure at first since it was a Thursday evening and obviously I work in Scotland, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to mingle and network with like-minded people, so I decided to take Thursday/Friday off of work and make it a whole long weekend in London!
When that was decided I wrote a post about how, despite going through London many many times in my almost two years of living in the UK, I never stopped to visit anything. And the suggestions flooded – thank you again to all you wonderful people!
I decided it was that time to be a tourist and enjoy London to the fullest, make it the London dream I had been waiting for!
The weekend didn’t go exactly as expected. I went to work for a few hours on Thursday and then left to catch my flight.
First problem of the weekend- and retrospectively the only one – my train was delayed and so making me miss the tram and so making me absolutely late for my flight. I arrived at the airport at 1pm and my flight was due to depart at 13.25. You can imagine I was freaking out. After crying my way through security in a few minutes and running like a headless chicken, I finally made it to my gate by 13:15. Thank goodness that low cost airline don’t respect that whole ‘gate will close 30 minutes before departure’ thing, they were still well early into boarding.
Finally caught my flight and realised how much I needed a break from Scotland. Here I come London!
We arrived in London and despite a few bus troubles, I ended up taking the train into London and directly to Trafalgar Square. By then I had only one hour to spend in the National Gallery, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I mean where there’s Monet, there is happiness!
I then crossed to go to Canada House. The High Commission has just reopened its doors recently and were hosting this Canadian Alumni cocktail party as a showroom and a way to reach out to us.
It was absolutely fine. Free wine and appetisers and loads of interesting people. Met a girl from Montreal and from my alma mater and we chatted a while, met a guy from Germany who had gone to a Canadian university for his PhD, met a guy from Ontario who studied in BC, etc.
We then visited around and saw the diverse rooms of the building – they opened and thematically decorated one room per province and territory. It was superb and really fun!
I then went to meet a friend who stays in Canada Wharf and we had a lovely time catching up before we both went to bed to have an early morning the next day.
On Friday, I got up early to make it to the Sherlock Holmes museum. I had just finished reading my way through one of Conan Doyle’s book and I was craving more of it. I wanted to make the most of it so really read through everything and looked at every detail. What it was good for, was making me relive some of the stories – I kept being like ‘oh yeah that’s from this one story!’. A book nerd’s dream, you know?
However, I was highly disappointed by the museum – truly is too much money for what it is. I was in and out in about 20 minutes and it costed £10. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Since I was out of the museum so quickly, I had hours to kill before taking the train up to Watford Junction, so I decided that I would go down to Kensington Gardens and see the palace. I really enjoyed it! It was a gorgeous day as well so the park was full of people fully enjoying the sun and early Spring.
Finally, I kept my long walk going and walked up the very posh Kensington Palace Gardens street. I had fun trying to figure out which embassies they were by their flag – I suck at telling flags! And on a special note, I was in complete and utter adoration in front of the cherry blossoms filling the garden of the Japanese embassy! I ended my morning with having a lovely lunch in a small little cafe in Nothing Hill (when my dream took shape – I needed to live right above this bakery and come here every morning!).
The moment finally came that I met up with a friend from St Andrews and her fiancé at the Watford Junction train station and we all went, childhood excitement and all, on the Harry Potter bus to lead us to the studios! Best afternoon of my life, hands down! More on that subject on Friday!!!
On Saturday I woke up early again and walked to Greenwich, where I was completely shocked by how gorgeous it was. Never even knew! And it’s a World Heritage site too! There I met up with the lovely Marcella from WhatAWonderfulWorld. We walked up to the Royal Observatory – where I had suggested we look at an expo that, I never knew, had ended the week before – silly me!
Afterwards we passed by the Greenwich market before making our way to the Borough Market where we had lunch. It was definitely a highlight of my time in London – my first blate and also such a cool relaxed day to spend with a real Londoner! 🙂 We had the best time talking about our travel experiences, about London and the UK, about Chile and about blogging of course!
She left me just as I was supposed to head up the Shard. I had booked for 6pm hoping to catch the sunset, which was scheduled for 5:58pm that day. And Marcella told me I could go up a bit early, so I actually caught the whole thing, so great!
Another one of my highlights – although at this point you can realise the whole trip was a huge highlight! – I absolutely loved going up the Shard. It’s really expensive, but I thought it was completely worth it! And I’d do it again!
I loved the experience of being so high up and feeling tiny over the city that spreads so far out I couldn’t tell where it ended. I miss and crave the city sometimes. I also felt powerful because it was like being at the top of the world. Just a great feeling altogether.
Finally, I ended the day by going to dinner with another friend from St Andrews who works in London. We had the best time at this Italian restaurant near the Shard. Spent 3 hours just chatting away! And the next morning I had a lovely breakfast with my friend I was staying with before heading off (early) to the airport (to make sure I wouldn’t have another breakdown) to catch my flight back to Scotland. Au revoir London – I will see you soon!xx