In the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel abroad for work, and in turn, I’ve made the most out of exploring these different parts of the world every chance I get. This is not my attempt to become a travel blogger, but I’m trying my hand at documenting my adventures overseas. This was my third trip to London, and I spent most of the days working long hours this time around. I did however manage to get out and do a lot of walking whenever I could.
After not sleeping the night before due to packing and my usual anxiousness about flying, I said goodbye to Dierre and got in my cab to the airport. The only important thing I managed to forget was my keys, meaning someone would need to be there to let me in when I got back to Brooklyn. I had hoped to get some writing done on the plane. Instead, I slept for a solid 3 hours and cried more than a little bit while watching Coco for the first time. I have no regrets. By the time I landed and checked in, most of the places I would have liked to eat had closed for the night. I ended up eating a decent meal at a Steak & Co near Charing Cross. I then got some Jelly Babies and shortbread cookies from M&S for dessert before calling it a night.
Sunday was a workday, but I ended up taking a mid-morning walk to Piccadilly because I forgot to pack a belt. After work was finished, my coworker and I grabbed dinner in Chinatown. I was disappointed to see that they replaced all of the beautiful hanging lanterns over the streets with flags. I took a late night across the Golden Jubilee Bridge and over to Westminster. Big Ben was covered in scaffolding, which was a bit disappointing. I’ve always found it to be one of the more striking landmarks in the city. I reluctantly snapped my obligatory tourist selfie in front of the London Eye instead before calling it a night.
I couldn’t sleep that night, so I ended up setting up my iPhone with the Fitbit app. As a result, Dierre was invited to a step challenge with some of his coworkers. Even though I was at a distinct disadvantage without a legit step-tracking device, London is a great city for walking, so I figured why the hell not? So after work, I sought out a well-reviewed Indian restaurant that didn’t require standing in line for an hour to be seated (I’m looking at you Dishoom). A coworker and I ended up settling on Punjab, and it was delicious. From there I took the train to the Tower of London so I could take some pictures and walk across the Tower Bridge. I made for a nice long stroll back to the hotel while the sun was setting over the River Themes.
There was a little bit of midday downtime on Wednesday, so for my lunch, I took a walk to Fortnum and Mason for tea. I’m a particularly big fan of their Royal Blend and Countess Grey, both of which are expensive and/or hard to find here in the States. I also stopped by Orbital Comics and ended up picking up the trade for Space Riders Volume 2 which had just been released. Books, tea, and candy – the trinity of must-haves when visiting London.
Later that night a large group of coworkers all went out to dinner at Bumpkin in South Kensington. The Fish and Chips was one of the best I’ve had. I ended up walking back to the hotel from there. Although it was pretty far, I figured that since I had consumed at least two bags of Jelly Babies and one box of chocolate chip shortbread cookies since the beginning of the trip, I could use the steps. Also, there was that step challenge and I could get stupidly competitive. If I had a walking buddy with me, I would have ventured down some of the unlit paths near Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, but ultimately I decided against it.
Thursday was a breakdown day. All of the meetings were wrapping up, so it was a lot of breaking down AV equipment and helping out wherever needed. When the day was done, My coworker and I took the tube to Baker Street so we could look through some of the shops. I wanted to return to one of my favorite bookstores, Daunt Books. I love this bookstore because rather than organize their books by genre and alphabet, the books are instead arranged by region of the world. I wanted to browse their Kenya and East Africa sections because of my upcoming trip and also wanted to find a gift for two friends who were planning their honeymoon in South France. I thankfully found something for both.
We then walked through Regents Park, which was nice to see in the peak summer season this time around (the last time I went it was a cloudy day in mid-October). We had a nice dinner at La Brasseria back on Baker Street then headed back to the hotel early to pack.
I got from the hotel to Gatwick Airport with no major hassles outside of Vueling’s annoying checked baggage policy that I failed to read the fine print about. All in all, I will count myself lucky because right when I landed my coworker texted me about a Bomb Scare at Charing Cross Station that happened less than two hours after I left. Thankfully no one was killed or seriously injured, and I’m glad I wasn’t there for the chaos surrounding that. With my work trip over, my little vacation to Barcelona could finally begin.