London Calling

Just as I’m really starting to miss Europe again (now that I’ve been back for three weeks), I’ve truly lucked out and learned that I will be going to London in a week for an interview. I’m thrilled both about the job opportunity itself and the chance to go back to London for a very quick trip.

I’ve never spent more than 72 hours in London at a time. Here’s a quick summary of my experiences in my second-favorite city in the world:

My first time in London was the day of the bombings in July 2005 – I arrived that afternoon from Madrid and experienced what remains one of the most challenging situations I’ve encountered while abroad as I tried to navigate my way from Heathrow to my hostel and then to my friend (whom I found literally by following a trail of notes she’d left me). The next day we couldn’t do very much, so we mostly wandered around the Regents Park area before leaving that evening for Italy. When we returned, we had exactly one day before flying back home, and that day remains one of the best I’ve had as a traveler: we went on the London Eye, walked around Parliament and Piccadilly, visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, and happened up on the premiere of “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”, where we waited for three hours and ultimately got within 10 feet of Johnny Depp (be still my heart!).

Last summer was my first time back in the UK since 2005, but despite flying in and out of Heathrow, I never actually got into London. (I did, however, spend the second night of my life sleeping in Heathrow, which now has sentimental value for me – I’ve done it three times total, twice within the last year.) Fortunately, when I returned to the UK for New Year’s this year, I ended up spending an unanticipated two and a half days in London and finally got to get a little more familiar with the city. I bought an Oyster card, toured Westminster Abbey, walked across the Millennium Bridge, went shopping in Notting Hill, and got lost a couple times wandering around. I loved taking the Underground everywhere and even named my new car Jubilee after one of the lines!

On this trip, I’ll have just over 48 hours in London, including all of Sunday, a little bit of Monday, and a few hours Tuesday morning. I may try to take a look at the Olympics stadium (better late than never); I also want to walk through Hyde Park and hit up a museum (on my list: the Tate art museums, Churchill’s War Room, and of course the British Museum). If anyone has any suggestions for other fun things to do or see on a Sunday, please send them my way!

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