As most of you know, we are absolutely loving our time here in Scotland. In fact, we’re absolutely loving every blessing of our lives the Lord has poured out on us, and school in Scotland is definitely one of those blessing. It’s crazy the way the Lord intervenes in our lives and how perfectly He has woven together every aspect of who we have become and what we are able to do. Again and again, we’re blown away with how the Lord fulfills His promise of giving us the desires of our hearts.
As if you couldn’t have guessed, one of our strongest desires is to get out and travel — to explore the world, embrace other cultures, and see the land the Lord has given us. Multiple blessings, a change in perspective, and seeking wisdom from the Lord allowed us to escape again on a quick London getaway.
So here it is…
Man, where do we even begin with our London vacation?! First, we are no city slickers. In fact, when traveling we try and avoid big cities in general, typically stopping in them only to catch a bus to the next smaller destination. However, London was one of our must see places to visit while here in Scotland. Not really for the city itself, but to reunite with our friends Flick and Luke. (If you don’t remember them, they’re our friends we made backpacking through South America whom we repeatedly ran into during our six months down there.) Since we moved to Scotland back in January, we have been trying to plan an ultimate reunion with them. Coincidence that Jay had six days off at the same time Flick had a week off before starting school? We think not… It was the perfect time to go to London!
Flick and Luke were getting back from a holiday themselves the same day we were flying into London, so we booked an AirBnB for our first two nights down there and left meeting up with them for our last two nights. The AirBnB was lovely. We stayed with a Spanish couple (again, the Lord planned that one as we’re visiting Spain in a month!) and were able to reach everything by foot.
We didn’t actually get to our AirBnB until after midnight Tuesday, so exploring the city had to be saved for the next day. And, with a Thursday deadline for Jason’s paper, we had to squeeze in some editing and final touches to our exploration day. Game plan for the day… Get lost in the city, find a cafe to relax and work on the paper, and then get lost in the city again.
Can we just say London is an incredible city?!?! Within the first hour, the vibe of the city and amazing architecture stole our hearts. We found ourselves getting so lost in the beauty that we surpassed a proper breakfast and even lunch. Our morning at a café working on the paper was shot because we couldn’t stop sneaking away down random streets and through beautiful parks.
By the time we realized our hunger, we were actually quite starving… and maybe even getting a bit hangry, so we stopped into a local pub, grabbed the worst food ever (for London standards) and scarfed it down. Ahh… Finally we could walk around again at a leisurely pace! We stumbled upon the most hole in the wall café you could imagine, grabbed a coffee to go, and wandered through the nearest park soaking in the warm sun.
We soon found ourselves in the SoHo district: The area of London with bohemian cafes and restaurants everywhere, loads of theaters, and £9 haircuts! Hello, haircut for Jason. 😉 With Jay’s fresh new do, we made our way over to Neal’s Yard grabbed a slice of delicious pizza and a pint and started editing Jason’s paper. Yes, for those of you wondering… beer and schoolwork go great together!
After spending a few hours there, the place was getting crowded with the dinner rush and we were not so welcome to sit and work anymore, so we made our way down to Trafalgar Square. Here we found a nice table to finish the bulk of the editing. (Only later did we realize back in Washington D.C. years ago, we had talked about how cool it would be to work in a busy public area of a big city, and this dream was coming full circle here!) We ended our night with dinner from food stalls and a walk along the river, followed by hours of conversation with our AirBnB hosts.
Our 6:30 wake-up call came all too quickly after a late night with our hosts. However, Jay’s paper had to get finished by noon! We did one last run through of the paper, submitted his final copy, and hit the road to meet up with Flick! Our reunion as sweet as we could have dreamt it to be! To sum up our time with Flick and Luke we could simply say great food and even better people!
To start our time with Flick, we indulged in delicious food from Borough Market and explored the neighborhood Luke works in for the afternoon. This meant wandering across Tower Bridge, stumbling upon the cutest harbor, and ending our evening at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Once Luke got off work, we did the typical London businessman thing and grabbed pints at a local bar before having dinner at Tayyabs, the best Indian food restaurant in all of London. After nearly an hour wait, the food came quickly once seated and the four of us ate family style, enjoying our meal for hours! Ahh.. our mouths are watering just thinking about that meal!
Friday, our last full day in London, was a local treat. We hiked up Parliament Hill, had coffee at the cutest café in Hampstead Heath, napped in Hyde Park, and met up with Luke after work for drinks at The Shard (a new building in London with a bar on the 33rd floor). Even with the posh atmosphere, we had a great time at the Shard, and thoroughly enjoyed our fancy drinks!
Dinner for the evening was amazing street food before freezing our tooshies off doing some night photography.
The next morning, we were waking up to embark on a long day of traveling. We walked, trained, bused, flew, and eventually ferried to the Shetland Islands! Can you think of any transportation that we didn’t do?! More on our journey to Shetland and our adventures up here are soon to come!
For now… If you’re even considering a trip to London, do it. It’s a big city unlike any other. It’s one of the first big cities we would actually enjoy returning to. It’s full of amazing food, lovely people, and beautiful architecture. And if you do plan on visiting London, you better plan before 2018, so you can come up to Scotland and adventure for a bit with us up here! 😉