Our flight landed and I was officially in the United Kingdom. I’ve gone from knowing no one the past two weeks to now traveling with new friends to a foreign country. The good news is, however, that this foreign country is the homeland for the English language. Duh. If I’m going to explore Europe while I’m abroad, I should visit London as a great first stop.
I’ll be able to make mistakes, get lost, and my fallback will be on the blessing that I can communicate with nearly everyone in this country. It’s a great feeling knowing that I can speak with nearly everyone in this country after spending the first month in Spain. Another plus is that I’ll have my friends with me for this trip. We’ll all be lost and confused together on this adventure to visit London.
When we first got off of the airport, this taxi driver tried to scam us by charging way more than our Uber requested. This wasn’t the worst part from the first night, the hostel our driver dropped us off at was a shack. It didn’t matter that we were saving money, we should’ve just paid a little extra to find something that wasn’t sketchy.
I’ll admit I had higher expectations for a Hostel, but this place just destroyed our positive vibes. Our group, already exhausted and hungry, decided to break apart. Some people could not deal with the hostel altogether, so they found other places to stay with their friend. This was my first time in London, so I’d have to stay here regardless because I had no other place to go.
What do you do when your plans don’t start out as intended when you visit London? You find some people who’ve been in the area long enough to know how to have some fun. I headed off with my friends over to the Chinatown part of London. Ryan knew some people from his college studying abroad in the city. They’ve been in the UK for about 5 weeks so they had a good sense of what to do. Ryan’s friends treated us with drinks the second we met up with them. We haven’t known them for less than 10 minutes and still they kept cheering “hospitality!!!” for us. They even paid for our bags so we could enjoy the rest of the night. The club featured a cover band playing all sorts of familiar songs back in the states: The Killers, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bon Jovi….I was in a foreign country listening to music that made me feel at home.
It was at this time of the trip when the London vibes headed up. Aside from the fact that I had to stay in the (sketchy) hostel that night, my friend Emilio hooked us up with places to stay at the NYU London campus. I went from staying in a sloppy room full of grumpy strangers, to an incredible university dorm with rooms for each of us to stay in.
We explored Bedford Square and checked out the British museum the next day. The museum was filled with ancient textiles, sculptures, and designs straight out of your own college history textbook. It was a breathe of fresh air to take the time to appreciate the culture and history roots of London.
After our tour, we searched for some some Indian food. We confidently asked some locals (since this was our native language, we weren’t fumbling around with Spanish for the time being) for a great restaurant, but none of them could tell us where to get Indian Food…after walking right across the block we found this place called Punjab. Hands down, this was the best Indian food I’ve ever had. I still don’t understand how those local didn’t know this place existed. We split each dish of rice and chicken, and held up a toast for our London trip.
We made our way back into the dorm and made plans to check out a Pub Crawl later on that night. I had to catch a quick nap before we went out because of all of the hectic change going on around us. We invited Koche, the lad who led us stay in his NYU London dorm to check out the pub crawl with us.
Our final day in London
We woke up late so we had to rush and make up ground for lost time. Emilio brought us on a tour over to a view of the London Tower, and a walk past Parliament and the Big Ben Tower. Along the way, we also saw a closeup of the London Eye and the Southbank skatepark. Our walk concluded in front of the Royal Palace where Queen Elizabeth was probably scrolling through Netflix (aka she lives there). When you decide to visit London you need to check out these main tourist hotspots.
I still couldn’t believe after all of these years imagining what it would be like to travel to Europe and see London, I was here seeing the bulk of it all in a span of 2-3 days.
Finally night fell, and this meant that this was our last chance in a long time to experience London nightlife. We checked out this club called “Proud.”Hours later in a crowded room loaded with terrible techno music remixes, the club closed.
We got kicked out at 2:30?! This was surprising considering how in Spain that’s the time when people start HEADING OUT now heading home. We knew it was late for the London locals because the club security guards kept on harassing and following us around to leave the building.
Emilio couldn’t take it anymore: “if I here one more British accent again…” Cole laughed off all of our hate and he reminded us that we should feel grateful that we were able to find a substitute for the Hostel and explore all of the hotspots in the British capital….
From here, we all moved forward with the power move of the night. We went our separate ways straight from the club over to the airport to make our early morning flights back home to Madrid.
Successful weekend. (Still have no clue how I managed to go from the club over to the airport and not be late for my flight…completely safe….)
Visit London now!