Monday, April 24, 2017

London Bridge is...still standing!

To finish off our great British adventure, we headed to London. We were in London together 4 years prior on our engagement trip, and so we were excited to revisit some favorite spots, and get in some experiences we had missed the last time.

First off, London is a tough cookie on a $100 per day budget, but we were up to the challenge! We found a private room with shared bath in a hotel in Bayswater, just north of Hyde Park for $69 per night. Sure, it was a little dusty, and sure, the shared bathroom was so small you could barely turn around in it, and sure, you had to go to the hotel lobby next door for wifi, but it was warm, safe, well-located, and CHEAP! To keep transit inexpensive, we got a week's pass for the Boris Bikes and spent most of our trips in the city biking.

Our first night in London happened to also be Thanksgiving stateside, and we felt happy and honored to be invited to our good (American) friend, Lara, to her Thanksgiving feast (incidentally, my mom was celebrating with her parents back in California!). If you have never enjoyed Thanksgiving with 20 Brits who have never celebrated, you should know it's quite a treat. We sometimes fail to use the big dinner as an avenue to talk about our blessings and those things for which we are thankful, and it was a blessing to be reminded about the joyful purpose of Thanksgiving.

We spent the rest of our week sightseeing around town, with the following special highlights:
  • The British Museum: We visited the British Museum on our last trip to London, but after spending so much time in Turkey, it was a whole new animal this time. We downloaded Rick Steves' excellent (and free!) audio guide to the museum and made our way through, learning about the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, and numerous other rooms full of artifacts and history from lands we had just visited. Plus, there was a fabulous exhibit about Japanese erotic art (technically called Shunga). It was a riveting (and exhausting) afternoon!

  • The Borough Market: We missed this stop on our last trip, so it was at the top of our list this time. We showed up on a rainy, chilly London morning, and spent a few hours just meandering between stalls selling cheese, meats, bread, vegetables and other goodies. It was like a farmer's market on the best kind of steroids. After much meandering and much debate, we opted to lunch on a warm bowl of Indian food, escaping the drizzle under the protection of the bridge. It may have been the most memorable farmer's market lunch I've had...

Cost Breakdown:
We were in London for 6 days and spent a total of $973, for a daily average cost of $162. The daily averages were: Housing: $71; Transit: $19; Food: $64; Other: $8.

(This post was written in 2014 after we returned from our trip, but we didn't get around to publishing it until 2017...oops!)

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