London, oh London. I've dreamt of the day we'd make it to this magnificent city for a long, long time. I saw some amazing prices for airplane tickets last November while we were in Waco for Thanksgiving, and I asked Curtis if he really wanted to go to the UK for our anniversary in May and if so, could I bite the bullet and just buy the tickets? He said, if that's what you want to do. Soooo.. we did it! I then proceeded to research, plan, dream, and obsess over our trip to the United Kingdom. All in all, we visited London, the Isle of Skye, Ft William, and Edinburgh, so there will be many more blog posts to come!
These photos are from our first day arriving in the UK. We flew from Houston to Atlanta and then on to London Heathrow. Neither of us had flown across the Atlantic before, so we weren't quite sure what to expect on the flight. Sleeping kind of didn't happen, so it was a tough first day because we didn't have a home base due to the fact that we were hopping on a train to the Scottish Highlands that evening. But, the adrenaline was pumping and we were just so dang excited to finally be there, we made it work.. with the help of lots of coffee. Being in my first trimester of my pregnancy made it a little more rough because I was super fatigued on top of jet lag and could only have a certain amount of caffeine per day, but it was worth it. Fortunately, I never really experienced much nausea in the first trimester, so I didn't really have to worry about that too much.
After dropping off our bigger luggage at the train station we'd be leaving out of that evening, we headed to Borough Market for lunch. Fish and chips was what we found first, so that's what we had (and many, many more times after that, ha). We were so tired and couldn't find tables to eat at, so we just sat on the sidewalk and ate with our backpacks surrounding us.. I'm fairly certain the locals thought we were hobos. They would stare and stare until we looked up at them, and then they'd quickly avert their eyes somewhere else. Those weirdo Americans just sitting on the ground eating.. We grabbed a coffee at Monmouth Coffee afterwards, a place I'd highly recommend if you're ever in London!
After filling our bellies and recharging our batteries (figuratively), we took a stroll to Bankside on the River Thames to walk across the Millennium Bridge (mostly because we're total Harry Potter nerds and how could we not?!), but also it was a direct route to St Paul's Cathedral, our first sight-seeing stop on our vacation. I was like a kid in a candy store. And, we had typical London weather -- overcast and a bit chilly. Our favorite.
I love all of the flowers they have everywhere in London. I suppose since it is a bit rainy, it makes sense to add some color where you can. I'm also a huge architecture buff (not that I'm very well educated on the subject, I just know I like something when I see it), so I was absolutely in love with this city. The charm of centuries of buildings and different styles is just fascinating to this Texan.
If I had to pick a favorite church that we visited while over there, it'd definitely be St. Paul's. You guys. This place was magnificent. I wish we could have taken photos inside, but I understand they're reasoning for not allowing it. Unlike Westminster Abbey, it was far, far less crowded (because it's not included in the London Pass), so we spent a lot of time just sitting and admiring the beauty of it all. They had a prayer time, which was really awesome to experience, and we climbed up (mind you in a veryyyyy tiny and very steep stairwell) to the dome and just enjoyed the experience of being surrounded by such history. I was sad we couldn't go outside at the top of the dome, I was really looking forward to that, but for some reason that part of the cathedral was closed the day we visited. I'd highly recommend stopping and visiting St Paul's Cathedral!
We then took the Tube towards Westminster, where Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey are located, and I proceeded to take a billion photos of Big Ben. It's just so pretty, y'all. I'm super glad we got there before they started doing outer repairs and restoration on it! I've seen some recent photos they have started putting scaffolding around the tower. Whew! Got there in the knick of time! We didn't have any major plans that day other than Borough Market and St Paul's, so we just sat and listened to Big Ben chime at 6 o'clock and then headed to St James' Park to hang out for a bit and rest our feet. The pigeons in London are far too bold though you guys. They will fly straight at you. It's terrifying! So, our little sit wasn't quite as relaxing as we'd hoped it would be.
Soon after, we headed to King's Cross and St Pancras Station (mostly so I could photograph them.. those are the buildings in the two photos below) and then we headed to our train to Scotland at London Euston. It was an amazing first day in London. I'm surprised how vividly I still remember everything, honestly. I'll be posting many more blog posts about our time in the UK, so keep an eye out!