I love getting to the point in a city when I don’t feel the need to be a tourist anymore.
After more than two weeks in beautiful northwest England with Dave, we bade each other yet another “See you soon” (spoiler alert: six weeks later, he flew to Boston!), and I headed down to London.
I had been to London a few times before — never longer than a few days each time, but enough to see most of the major tourist sites: Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, the Tower of London and the like.
So by now I was ready for post-touristic London: hanging out with my local friends and gallivanting around the city, seeing cool things and having them take me to their favorite places.
This is the kind of tourism I enjoy the very most.
I also reunited with two of my best travel buds from Asia: Chris and Jon, with whom I traveled from Sihanoukville to Luang Prabang (and back to Vang Vieng)!
Here we are at a London pub they love:
By contrast, this was the three of us crammed into a train compartment on our way to Vang Vieng:
London being as expensive as it is, I wasn’t about to plunk down money for London vacation rentals. Chris, having arrived home from Asia only days before, generously offered me a place to stay.
Since Chris had been away for Christmas (in fact, that was the day that we met — in Sihanoukville!), his family planned a special “Christmas dinner” that Sunday! They welcomed me in and even gave me a Christmas cracker.
So what did we do during this time in London?
We explored Shoreditch, a London neighborhood I had never visited before (and reminded me of New York!), and Chris told me about makeshift illegal strip clubs that used to fill the area. You’d just drop in money every time a girl went by.
We also hung out with a number of cool London travel bloggers — and I had my first sip of Pimm’s, which tasted like springtime!
How fancy is this mall in Shepherds Bush? That’s a CHAMPAGNE BAR. In the middle of a MALL.
My friend Beth suggested I get a photo of myself doing my signature dance move, the Quasimodo, in every place I visited. While that didn’t happen, I made sure to do it in Camden Market!
This was the best time I have ever had in London. While I really like London, I must admit that it’s never been one of my favorite cities. But carefree, relaxing, post-touristic London? My kind of place!