What happened to January? Is the calendar correct? I mentioned when I first moved to London that the pace of life here is unforgiving and hectic, and that still holds true. But it’s also energizing and full of life and means there’s never a dull moment. I don’t know how anyone could honestly utter the words, “I’m bored”. There is no excuse for boredom here! Take a weekend trip to Europe. Explore the rest of the UK. Walk through the amazing parks and outdoor markets. Find a free museum to visit. Explore a new neighborhood. Attend a concert or meet friends for Sunday Roast. The list is endless. Basically, next time I’m being lame and lounging around in my PJ’s all day – please give me a reality check and remind me where I live.
One of my friends had the brilliant idea to reserve spaces for us at the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. Attendees observe up close and personal while the Yeoman Warders (AKA Beefeaters) lock the gates for the night using Queen Elizabeth’s key. It’s a 700 year old ceremony and the guide shares a bit about the history of the Tower and the key ceremony. If you want to do it when you visit London you have to apply in advance by mailing in a paper request; as old-fashioned as the ceremony itself. Here are the instructions. Visitors, let me know and I can help make arrangements.
- Touring Kensington Palace. Unfortunately I didn’t bump into my future besties Will and Kate. Maybe next time. On the plus side, I saw the current “Fashion Rules” exhibition which displays dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, and Princess Margaret.
- Explored Brixton – an up and coming area of London with a huge outdoor market every weekend.
- Had a wonderful afternoon walk around Hampstead Heath and discovered why everyone raves about this park. It feels like the countryside but is just a few minutes from the center of the city, plus it has stunning skyline views of London.
- Finally found good Mexican food in London on the recommendation of a coworker. I got my margarita and guac fix at Boho Mexica in East London a couple Friday’s ago. I’ll be going back there soon.
Upcoming travel plans:
My next trip outside the UK isn’t until mid-February when I’ll be exploring Prague. I’m trying not to be deterred by the fact that it’s currently 1 degree Celsius there. Hoping global warming won’t let me down.
I just finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She’s a well-educated former Wall Street lawyer turned human psychology observer and writer who spent 7 years researching our society’s bias towards extroverts. Her book argues that we should equally value and respect the role of introverts in society. Her TED talk sharing some of the ideas from the book has over 7 million views. Worth the twenty minutes!
I caught up on the BBC show Sherlock but haven’t watched anything else lately. I’m anxious to see some of the movies that have been nominated for Oscars (Gravity, American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave).
Coming up this week:
Celebrating Chinese New Year a day late with some friends tomorrow at a Chinese restaurant in London. Then hoping to see a Van Gogh exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery and the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum. It’s going to be a weekend of museums and relaxing in London after last weekend’s adventure to Barcelona.
Enter to win a free trip to London with tourism site Visit London. You choose your 3 favorite London stories from short video interviews with famous Brits to enter. I giggled at Twiggy’s story, especially her humble 15 second intro. I hope we win!