A few weeks ago, Jim and I were finally in London for vacation. Let me tell, you, missing out on vacations because of COVID sucks. This vacation, however, was unlike any other I’ve taken as an adult. Going back to London for the fourth time, and knowing that we’ll be back again, removed all pressures to see and do everything.
Instead of my typical approach of planning something each day, we made plans for every other day. The extra time in the evenings and “off” days let us really relax.
The British Museum was our first scheduled activity. The architecture was surprisingly contrasting, and the sections we walked through were fascinating.
It had a surprisingly awesome afternoon tea themed after the Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything. (Check out the cool menu!) I loved the tea so much I asked what they used and where I could get it. For those interested, it was Newby Earl Grey.
We walked around the museum some more after tea (lunch) and found the Japanese section, which happened to have some fabulous examples of urushi art.
Around our activities, we managed to find a bunch of awesome food. The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden had an amazing rabbit and langoustine pie and an even better dessert, the Chocolate Bombe. It also had the fanciest bathroom I’ve EVER seen.
I’d heard a lot about Choosing Keeping from members of the DC Metro Pen Crew. We made it over there this time, and they definitely had some interesting things to see.
The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)
We found more items to spark our interest at the V&A, our second scheduled activity, than we did at the British Museum. They had several examples micro mosaics that held my attention as I stared at all of the amazing detail.
The jeweled boxes were awe inspiring as well, if for no other reason than because of the amount of money someone has to have at their disposal to commission such an ornate snuff box.
This metal swan captivated me for the level of detail.
And, of course, the jewelry exhibit had a lot to catch the eye.
After having seen Hampton Court last time we went to London, Kensington Palace, our final scheduled activity, was a little bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t anywhere near as fascinating as Hampton Court. However, what it lacked in size and décor, it somewhat made up for in history. I won’t bore you with details you can find on Google, but something that really stuck out to me is that I got to stand in the same room that Sir Isaac Newton would have displayed crystals to explain about light refraction. How cool is that?
The current temporary exhibit is Royal Style in the Making. They had some really interesting items, including Princess Diana’s wedding gown.
We had fun visiting different areas around London, and got very lucky finding amazing food and snacks. A Greek restaurant near our hotel, Nostimo, had an excellent Mixed Platter and a phenomenal dessert called Ekmek Kataifi (I was so intent on eating it, I forgot to take a picture). The Chai Guys in Seven Dials Market had several types of chai unlike any I’d ever tried, and some great pastries. Jim made sure we went to SAID dal 1923 for their drinking chocolate, which is basically a melted bar of chocolate. I also took some time to admire the architecture, especially the older buildings which are so different than our own.
By sheer dumb luck, our visit coincided with several London boroughs’ Christmas light hanging. So we got to see the decorations go up in multiple areas.
I look forward to planning other vacations in a similar manner. For the first time, I didn’t feel as though I needed a vacation to recover from vacation. I was able to slide right back into normal life, well-relaxed and satisfied with my time off. It was great!
How do you plan your vacations? Do you fill them with activities, or leave lots of time for relaxation? Have you been to London? Do you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments.