It is a journey that I dreamed for many years and thanks to an offer, we fly to the discovery of one of the most important cities in the world: London. Although I already visited numerous cities such as Berlin, Lima, Bogota, Medellin or Buenos Aires. But somehow I never made it to London or the choice fell on another city, mostly Paris. Although my time in London was way too short, I still got a first great impression of the metropolis on the Thames.
24 Hours in London
The plane leaves punctual and we land at Stansted. The sky that welcomes us is the classic London leaden sky and to be late April it is rather chilly. We take the bus, with tickets bought in advance on the web, and in less than an hour and a half, we are in Liverpool Street. Before taking the metro that will take us to the hotel we stop to have breakfast inside Liverpool Station. We have a nice muffin and a hot cappuccino and go to buy the card that will allow us to travel on public transport at discounted prices.
Our hotel is located in King Cross, in a quiet square surrounded by Georgian houses. There is a double room with private bathroom and English breakfast. We leave the trolley and go to the discovery of London. Our first stop is the British Museum. The admission is free and the museum is very interesting (not for nothing is one of the most important in the world). After a quick lunch, we take a nice ride to Oxford Street and next stop at Trafalgar Square. The statue of Admiral Nelson dominates from above, with the fountains on the sides and the National Gallery that frames them.
The next stop is the Harrod's store and on the way, we catch a glimpse of the legendary Big Ben. The stores are something exceptional, with aquariums, Egyptian statues, the statue of Lady Diana and Dodi Al Fayette. But our purchases are limited to a few souvenirs to bring back for friends and relatives. We take the subway and head to Piccadilly Circus to admire the statue of Eros and shop in the sports shop that has very low prices.
As the day draws to a close, we decide to return to the hotel not before taking some pictures on the Platform Nine and Three-Quarters of Harry Potter (recreated inside the King Cross station) and eating an exquisite fish and chips.
48 Hours in London
After the alarm rings at 8, we have breakfast at the hotel. It is an authentic English breakfast with bacon, eggs, beans, tomatoes, and tea. We leave and head to Big Ben. At the exit of the metro, I am literally speechless in front of the gigantic clock. It is magnificent and impressive. We walk around the Parliament, in Westminster but unfortunately, the abbey is closed. We rested a bit in a small park adjoining the houses of the parliament, overlooking the London Eye and the Thames river.
Then we go to visit the Westminster Cathedral which, with its white and red facade, is something very special. We walk to the Buckingham Palace just in time to witness the famous change of guard. Before reaching the Palace we stop at a cute store that sells only tea and herbal teas and, after various tastings, we are satisfied with our purchases.
Buckingham Palace is majestic and beautiful. After watching the change of guard, we take the subway to visit the Nation Gallery in Trafalgar Square. This museum, like most London museums, is also free. Inside it preserves priceless works of art ranging from the early Renaissance to post-impressionism. There is art pieces of Leonardo, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Raphael, Renoir, Van Gogh, just to name a few. From Picadilly, we move to Soho and Chinatown. Here beside the impressive smell, we find turkeys and chickens hanging in the windows of the restaurants.
We went to St John's Wood, the closest stop to Abbey Road humming one of John Lennon. We went down Grove End Road (where there were a synagogue and many people at the door). And at the end of the street, there it was the most famous zebra crossing in the world.
As we were, we went to the Beatles store on Baker Street. They had amazing things. And also incredibly expensive. Next, we went to the London Eye, or also known as Millenium Wheel, the famous Ferris wheel in London. It has a height of 135 meters, which makes it a great viewpoint of the city. Once down to earth we continue walking through Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square.
For lunch, we sit on the Trafalgar Square steps to eat Japanese food (sushi, sashimi and California roll) bought at the supermarket in front of Big Ben. Refreshed we take the subway again and we stop in Hyde Park. It is a nice ride among flowers of a thousand colors and squirrels. We enter Hyde Park Corner to travel from east to west the park, following the shore of Lake Serpentine full of ducks.
We arrived at Kensington Gardens, where there is the statue of Diana (which is a huge, round fountain, and in theory symbolizes a river). They say that finding this statue is part of his grace so I will not give clues. We are positively impressed by the perfection of the place. Everything is very clean and cared for.
After another roundabout, we move towards Camden Town. This is a very special neighborhood. I was struck by the shops that all have giant signs and was very special. We take the subway again and head to the Tower of London. Unfortunately, we cannot get in as it was closing. We take a few photos. Turning the corner, we see the famous Tower Bridge in all its beauty. It is beautiful, and we are off to take more photos.
We thought we would have dinner at Brick Lane, which, in short, is Little India and Bangladesh of London, but I was too lazy so we stayed in the neighborhood.
We go back to the metro again and make a stop in Covent Garden. After a nice stroll through the lanes, we have a nice slice of cheesecake and head for dinner in Leicester Square. The square is really beautiful, full of illuminated signs, cinemas, clubs, and theaters. We have a frugal dinner of a ice cream and, tired, we return to the hotel.
72 Hours in London
Even today we wake up early and have an English breakfast at the hotel of freshly made tarts and juices. We leave the trolley at the reception and take the metro towards Portobello Road. The market is full of tourists, but it is really very characteristic, with fruit and vegetable stalls and antique shops. We get to the end of the famous market and take a nice ride to Notting Hill. After some pictures of the houses, we take the subway towards Covent Garden.
We decided to have lunch at the fast food center with sandwiches. I was mostly intrigued by the fact that there are many stores in the city, but we remain quite disappointed. The cost is quite high, but is not up to quality! Unfortunately, it is almost time to leave London. We return to the hotel to pick up the trolley and then head to Liverpool street where the bus brings us back to the Stansted airport.
I left my heart in London. It was love at first sight. I return home with the certainty that sooner or later I will return. See you soon London!