Afternoon in London – London Part I

After our quick stop in Amsterdam we flew to London to visit my best friend and spend some time exploring the city. Our flight landed in Luton airport late Saturday morning and by lunch time we were at my best friend’s apartment in London. E and I hadn’t seen each other in four years and when I was­­ planning a trip to Europe I made sure to have her on my top list of people to see. We have been best friends for over eleven years now and thanks to technology and social media we talk almost every day and stay connected. Every time we reunite it feels like we just saw each other only a few days ago, and we simply pick up where we left off, even if it’s been a few years.

This was my second trip to London, the last one was in 2005 with my family and E had joined us for a day of sightseeing too. I could hardly wait to see how the city has changed and spend time with two of my favorite people =o)

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Borough Market

R and I only had two days in London so we wanted to see as much as possible. After catching up and refreshing from traveling, we headed out in the early afternoon with E as our tour guide. It’s always a plus when you are in a new city with a local because they know where to go and what to see and how to get around without you having to stress.

E lives in Bermondsey, a neighborhood just south of the tower bridge and a short walk to busy Southwark. Southwark is a district that is a part of the London Borough of Southwark and forms one of the oldest parts of London. Today you can also find one of the newest parts of London, the Shard, a 95 story skyscraper and the tallest building in Europe. A few blocks away from the Shard we walked to Borough Market, a fantastic marketplace with the best fruit smoothies!

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Fresh bread at Borough Market
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Cheese stall at Borough Market
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Walking past Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

As we sipped on our smoothies we walked along the river Thames, past Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and towards Millennium Bridge. As we neared the bridge dark clouds started to form and we knew we only had some time before it started to rain, but the skies did make for really dramatic photos. One of my favorite things about walking through European cities is seeing old and new architecture synchronizing on every corner and street.

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View from Millennium Bridge towards The Shard, Southwark and Tower Bridge; photo credit:R

Across Millennium Bridge is St. Paul’s Cathedral, we walked around and peaked inside to see the dome but didn’t stay for the tour. Construction on the Anglican cathedral began in 1675 and was completed by 1708. It sits on the highest point of the City of London and is an incredible structure surround by modern offices and residences. As we continued our walk towards Covent Gardens it began to thunder so we decided to stop somewhere for drinks and wait out the rain.

I have heard so many great things about Ladurée and read about the bakery on several blogs. When I saw there was one in Covent Gardens I insisted we go grab drinks inside. I was not disappointed, the drinks were great and I took home a macaron that I ate within two minutes. I hope they open one soon in Chicago =o)

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Millennium Bridge looking North – see dramatic clouds rolling in
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St. Paul’s Cathedral, surrounded by new residences and buildings
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Left: Cute sign in front of coffee shop; Right: Planes flew over us on our way to Covent Gardens, patriotic colors of England – we did happen to arrive just a day after Brexit

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Covent Gardens – Chanel store
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Inside Covent Gardens
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Finally!
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So many choices
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Salted Caramel Macaroon from Laduree

We took the tube back towards Tower Bridge, watched a few of the boats pass under the bridge and walked around city hall. After walking all afternoon we found a nearby pub, The Garrison Public House to have dinner at. The atmosphere was lively as we chatted and ate our meal but I must say, the highlight was the dessert. Apple pie crumbled into a bowl with creamy sauce poured over, it was heaven.

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Tower Bridge with City Hall on the right
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The most delicious dessert

One of the top things on our list to see in London was the Shard and go up to view all of London. We decided to skip the viewing deck and instead see the city at night with drinks at Oblix, the bar on the 32ndfloor. What a great way to end our first day in London, sipping on cocktails with the city of London glowing below.

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View from Oblix towards Tower Bridge
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View towards London eye and west London – photos taken on my phone, not the best quality

x the Adventurer

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Coffee drinking, food loving, Czech yogi raised in the US dreaming of adventures =o)

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