“To Travel is to Live” – Hans Christian Andersen
Touch- down in London-town! After a 7-hour flight, my legs were ready to sprint out of the plane and smell the fish & chips in the air (funny thing is I don’t even like fish & chips). It was lunchtime when I arrived and I was craving everything in sight. I had only two days in this beautiful city until it was time to catch the next flight. What to do in such a big city with so little time? Lets face it, there is never a dull moment in London, the options are endless. Once I stepped off the plane, I ran over to passport control and was welcomed back to London by one of the friendliest officers EVER! We had such a nice chat, I felt we needed a table to sit at and continue our conversation over a cup of tea.
As I was walking over to the baggage claim area, my heart started beating faster and faster, hoping my luggage made it over. Once I got closer to the conveyor belt, a big smile from ear to ear appeared on my face because my bag was one of the first to come out – YES! Now it’s time to Travel With Curls! I had a busy agenda ahead of me so needing to balance both work and pleasure, I decided to stay in the heart of London where commuting was much faster and more convenient.
All London airports have easy access into the city either via train or underground (metro). Avoid taking cabs and travel with the locals by using public transportation.
I rushed over to the Gatwick Airport train station, purchased my one-way ticket to London Victoria and embarked on my journey. Once I arrived at the hotel, I freshened up and got ready to head out to meet with one of my good old friends, Jack, for lunch. A little bit about this hotel – from the outside you would never guess it’s a hotel because it blends in so well with the other buildings and has a very traditional British look. I felt as if I was a local walking in and out of my apartment. After a nice shower and change of clean clothes, I walked over to London Victoria Station.
What is the best thing about Central London? Walking! You are constantly on your feet, walking from the underground, to trains and busses. It’s always a cardio session so you get to burn off all the delicious food this wonderful city has to offer. In London, there isn’t only pub-crawling, but also food-hopping. Talk about having best of both worlds, right? Before I had the chance to step out of the hotel I glanced out the window and noticed the rain coming down.
ALWAYS carry a mini-umbrella with you before heading out to Central London. One minute it could be warm and sunny, the next minute it’s cold and raining. The weather is nothing you can control, but definitely something you can be prepared for.
Luckily, the front desk came to the rescue and handed me an umbrella to borrow for the day. The 7-minute walk to the station was quite a peaceful one. Hearing the raindrops fall on the umbrella, feeling the cold breeze on my skin and enjoying the view of the white pearl buildings with grey skies was a great way to start my day. Although it wasn’t paradise weather, London still looked beautiful in its own majestic way.
Once I entered the station I met up with Jack and he asked if I wanted to take a cab over to the restaurant. I refused and suggested we should walk and take public transportation instead. I get to know and really feel the city a lot more on my feet. After a ride on the underground and some light walking, we arrived at our destination – a hole in the wall Peruvian restaurant calledTierra Peru. In the back of my mind I was asking myself why would Jack, knowing that I am Hispanic, take me to a Latin restaurant? I have traveled overseas to experience different cultures and try their delicacies.
London has a restaurant to suit just every cuisine in the world! If your taste buds are feeling Asian or Italian, you will have a plethora of choice to choose from – just take your pick!
Sure enough I was left speechless! Not only was the food finger-licking good, but the service was also exceptional. They treated us as if we were family visiting their home. The service is given by the owner’s themselves – WOW! Our server shared with us how much they’ve missed Peru. Him and his family turned the love for their home into a family owned business and brought a taste of Peru right to the heart of London. Not only did they want to bring a peace of home with them, they wanted to share it with others too. We all know food is the best way to bring people from different backgrounds together. With a lack of words, this place definitely hit the mind, body and soul
So many laughs and great conversations were exchanged,. After awhile, we looked at the time and decided to move forward with our next journey – Hello London Pubs! You can’t go wrong with stepping foot into a pub. Yes, of course people go to pubs to have a beer or two, or maybe three, or they might even want to completely lose recollection of that night, but the London pubs offer so much more than just beer!
Walking into any pub is like opening the doors to a British History museum. The interior and décors are a very traditional, British style which makes me feel as if I have time travelled back in time. I look for authenticity and originality during my travels so I definitely experience it when I walk into a UK pub. Now, what to drink when there are so many options? Personally, I’ve never experienced the love for cider until I moved to the UK. Bulmer’s cider is a must-have for sure!
Our night was coming to an end and we wanted to end it strong. We made our way over to Brixton town. Brixton is a lively, multi-cultural area with a down-to-earth vibe. What better way to end the night in such an upbeat area, right? Once we arrived toBrixton, we started making our way over to the Hootananny, a Raucous music venue with mouth-watering food. After all that walking, we weren’t only thirsty, but HANGRY as well. A personal pie pizza never looked so good!
To think, this whole adventure happened the same day I arrived! It was time to call it a night after the pipe musician finished his set; this guy was on fire. Up on stage with a kilt skirt on and blowing the crowd away with his breathtaking, piping-playing skills, it was something my eyes and ears had to capture before I departed. London you are truly one of a kind
Stay tuned for London Pt II….