“Living the Dream Like a London Queen”
I’m a New York City kind of girl. NYC is magnificent and beautiful. The larger than life skyscrapers always make me feel small in a humble sort of way. For some reason, before I went to London, I expected it to look similar to New York City. I expected to be in awe and get that same humble feeling from the tall buildings. London definitely wasn’t the same as New York City. One thing that kept blowing my mind while I was in England was the fact that England is so much older than the United States. A lot of the buildings were built way before the U.S. was even created. There is so much more history in England than in the U.S. I think part of the reason why I like New York City so much is that it’s such young city, and it seems to have all of the bells and whistles. Don’t get me wrong – London was a pretty cool town, and I had a wonderful time there. It was just different than the cities I’m used to.
Before going to London, I kind of expected that the buildings there would look similar to the tall, newer buildings in NYC. Instead, most of the buildings were older and seemed to have very intricate architecture. The architecture of a city defines it. It was incredibly interesting to walk through London and admire the beautiful architecture.
I enjoyed my time in London, experiencing a historical city that was also different from my interpretation of what I knew to be a “city.” We spent about 12 hours in London packed with sight-seeing, food-eating, and bar-hopping. Here’s a taste of our trip to London:
Monuments & Sights
Our focus was to pass our time in London by barhopping, but we made a little time in the morning to see some of the well-known and sights of London. The highlights of what we saw were Buckingham Palace, Drury Lane & Theatre Royal, and Big Ben (kinda… I’ll explain).
The first place we went to in London was Drury Lane. It wasn’t too different from any other street in the city, except for the fact that it is home to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Even so, it was cool to see. And, no, I did not meet the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane.
The one monument that Adam really wanted to see was Big Ben. We trudged all the way there, and guess what – Big Ben was under construction. There was scaffolding covering him entirely so that we couldn’t even get a glimpse of him. I don’t remember hearing any bells chime while we were there, so I’m assuming Big Ben’s bells were off too. It was the saddest thing. I took a picture of Big Ben in the scaffolding. I can at least show it to people and tell them I’ve seen Big Ben… kinda.
After that, we decided to go to Buckingham Palace. I’m not as crazy about/obsessed with the Royals as some Americans are, but we had to see the palace. It’s classic London. We took a nice stroll through St. James Park, stopping at a cafe to eat lunch on the way. When we got to Buckingham Palace the entrance road to the gate was blocked off. We later learned that it was because that day was the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Even though we couldn’t go right up to the palace gates, we were able to get really good pictures of the palace without a bunch of tourists in the way.
Like I’ve said before, whenever Adam and I are in a city, we look for vegan restaurants. Two locals recommended Mildreds to us. Mildreds is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in London that has a few different locations. We went to the Soho location around 6 PM and had to wait a half hour to be seated. Even though the place was hopping with people, our dinners came out soon after we ordered them.
I got the green falafel with sour cherry and pistachio jeweled rice, rose harissa and preserved lemon aubergine, basil oil, and tahini sauce. I was super hungry and ate my meal fast, but I did stop to appreciate the eggplant. The eggplant melted in my mouth, giving it a contrasting texture to the crunchy falafel. I liked the use of different spices in this dish. It took what I thought I knew about falafel and Mediterranean food and brought my taste buds to an interestingly new level.
Adam got the gyoza dumplings for his appetizer and the wood roasted mushroom and ale pie with minted mushy peas and fries for his meal. I barely got a taste of his food, but he said it was delicious. I could tell it was delicious by the way he scarfed it down before I could have a sample of it.
Finally, my friend (a meat-eater trying her first vegetarian/vegan restaurant) got the sri lankan curry, with sweet potato, green bean, roasted lime cashews, pea basmati rice, and coconut tomato sambal. I thought this dish was good. A little milder than the curry I’m used to. It also seemed to be kind of soupy. The other ingredients were included in the dish, but they seemed to get lost in the curry sauce. I had expected the other ingredients to be a bit more pronounced in the dish. Either way, my friend enjoyed her dish and her first experience at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant.
Mildreds was a good restaurant, but I’ve eaten at better vegetarian/vegan restaurants. They did have very interesting combinations and an array of different dishes on the menu. The menu also did seem to appeal to both meat-eaters and veg-friendly alike.
My favorite place we went to in London was Coq d’Argent. This restaurant had a beautiful rooftop bar and a generous gin and tonic menu. Throughout my trip to England, I had made it my goal to try a number of different gins. I was more than happy when I saw Coq d’Argent had an entire page of their menu dedicated to gin and tonic. I got the Pink Pepper Gin, which is supposed to have hints of pink peppercorn. I’m not sure if I picked up on the pink peppercorn hints, but this gin was very flowery and refreshing. Maybe the view of the city had something to do with it, but that was my favorite gin I tasted my entire time in England. Also pictured with my drink is my friend’s drink, Blossom City, which was Pothecary gin, strawberries, and rose syrup topped up with sparkling wine. This bar boosted beautiful views of the city that you could peer at from its gorgeous rooftop garden.
Below Zero ice bar
One very interesting bar we went to in London was the Below Zero Ice Bar. To be honest, I was actually afraid to go into this bar at first because I didn’t want to be cold. I just about put up a protest to not go, but I gave in eventually. I’m glad I did because it was a cool (no pun intended) experience. It was £16.50 for 45 minutes in the ice bar and one free drink. We were given cloaks to wear in the 23º the room. The entire room was made of ice – from the seats to the bar to the decorations. The room was lit by a blacklight that illuminated the neon colors in the room. Music was playing, but very few people were dancing. Most people were standing around and taking pictures of absolutely everything. I actually really liked the drink I got at this bar (which was served in a cup made of ice). They called it the Paloma. It was a mix of Olmeca Altos, pink grapefruit liqueur, pink grapefruit juice, and lemonade. It was really fruity and thirst-quenching. We drank our cocktails, took some pictures, and left after a half hour when the cold really started to seep in. Yeah, Below Zero Ice Bar was a chill place (okay, pun intended).
Our day London was very long. Those are just a few of the highlights from my trip to the city. London was definitely different than New York City. It was fun to visit and explore for a day, but during this visit to London, I realized how much I love my NYC. Going to London made me miss my city even more than I thought it would. In a positive light, going to London helped me realize that I’m happy with what I already have!
Cheerio, my Dolls!
I had a few expectations about what I thought London would be like. Expectations aren’t always good, especially in relationships. Read “Expectations in Relationships” to learn more.