A year and a half after my brief encounter with this beautiful city, I found myself making an actual trip to London so I could get a little more acquainted. And this time around, I had my partner with me who is much more familiar with the city than I am, which was a great help.
We decided to stay in the Covent Garden area at the Strand Palace Hotel, which was centrally located to everything, including the Covent Garden Market. And after arriving on the first flight from Barcelona (which left at 7am), I definitely needed a quick nap to recharge my battery and get ready for a great day of exploration.
The first stop was the Tate Modern Art Museum. We took a nice, brisk stroll along the river and found ourselves there within minutes. There were definitely some great exhibitions, some of which you’ll see in the photo gallery below.
After leaving the Tate, we headed over the bridge and made our way towards St. Paul’s Cathedral so I could take some photos. It was such a beautiful building that I couldn’t help but just stand there for a minute to soak in its grandeur. So I get my fix and we move on, walking the streets of London.
The next stop turned out to be the National Portrait Gallery which I LOVED! Ever since I was young, there was something about oil paintings of royalty or aristocrats that intrigued me. I remember the only ones I ever saw before I left Hawai’i were in a hotel in town. All along the corridors of the main lobby were oil paintings of every monarch of the Hawaiian Islands. And every time we had to go to that hotel for an event, or to do some shopping in the department store, I would always wander off and stare at the paintings. Needless to say, at the National Portrait Gallery I definitely had tons of paintings to look at. Each with its unique story behind it which you could read about. I must say though, that my favorite part of it all was seeing the school children on a field trip to the museum doing drawings and being inspired!
We neared the end of our day and had to head back to the hotel and get some rest before meeting up with friends. That night we ended up having a great dinner at Chotto Matte in Picadilly that you can read about here. Catching up with old friends is always a great thing. And the friend that I got to meet up with, I haven’t seen in almost 19 years! There were great conversations and insight to her life in London. We both grew up in Hawai’i together and it was interesting to learn about her journey.
Our second day in London consisted mostly of walking around in the morning and grabbing some lunch before heading to the airport. There was more great architecture to see and we also made sure to stop at Trafalgar Square on the way. I picked up some souvenirs to send back to relatives, and we made our way back to the airport.
There’s something about London that is so attractive to me. The feeling that I get when I’m there is not the same as being in New York City, where I live. Maybe its the architecture, or the cloudy weather that day, or a combination of both that somehow put me in a state of melancholic bliss. You feel like you’re in a big city, because you are, but there isn’t the same sense of hurriedness like New York has. The energy is much more relaxing, yet keeps you moving. In the end, I was sad to leave, but am sure that I will be back soon. For now, memories of this wonderful city remain fresh in my head and the photos I took will keep me satisfied, as I hope they do you! Cheers!