Every time I booked an Airbnb in preparation for this trip, there were a couple criteria pertaining to cleanliness and location that had to be met. For London in particular, I wanted to be walking distance from The Mae Deli.
I know what you are thinking: Who flies 7 hours across the Atlantic Ocean and bases her accommodations on a restaurant when there is so much to do and see?
I have been following Ella for a while now, and not only does she seems like the nicest person ever (just watch her Instastories and you can’t help but smile), but her food and philosophy in healthy eating is nothing short of inspirational. Just imagine my delight in getting to visit her cafe! The vibe is friendly and clean, with an energy that encompasses what I imagine to be her passion for nourishing food.
.I hadn’t eaten a square meal for almost 12 hours, and therefore thought I was going to have a more difficult time deciding what to order. I knew I needed something green, coupled with something a bit more substantial. I got a Green Glow smoothie (green juice, frozen banana, spinach and almond butter) and a bowl of coconut yogurt, topped with granola and coconut chips. Both were so delicious! I felt instantly more energized and ready to explore.
We started wandering aimlessly through winding streets and alleys, simply seeing where the day took us. This is what I had envisioned travel with my husband would be like all along. Unlike me, he’s super laid-back; no plan is necessary and prefers to fly by the seat of his pants. We will be partaking in the touristy things as well, but I’d rather days like this more often than not.
We looked down one road to see what was unmistakably the entryway to Chinatown, and decided to walk through.
As we ventured, we couldn’t believe how many restaurants and pubs were on every street. Not to mention, the Old English architecture is something to marvel at in and of itself.
Other things we did on the first day:
Attempted the London Eye. We had rode a ferris wheel in Chicago a year earlier and really enjoyed the experience and view of the city. However, after we discovered the price per person was £26.00 with a line that seemed to never end, we decided against it.
Just being able to see Big Ben in the distance was enough for me!
Westminster Abbey: Again we passed on the entry fee, but it was still great to see. I just don’t think we were feeling the attractions. I did have my heart set on seeing “the men who don’t move” outside of Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately we couldn’t get very close.
Needing a break and a drink, we stopped at The Rubens at the Palace, coincidentally a hotel Alex had stayed with his family about 10 years earlier. Tea for me, beer for him.
Tired, hungry and with blisters forming on my feet, we get lost on the way home. It’s all part of the adventure! He says with a smile. Thank goodness for healthy snacks, I reply. Always travel with healthy snacks!
That evening, we ate dinner with an old friend from college at Hereford Road restaurant. I would highly recommend! The menu wasn’t too extensive, but fresh, with options for anyone. I ordered the Hake (a fish) which came with a cucumber and dill salad. Needing a bit more, I added steamed greens on the side. We ended the evening with a drink at Churchill Arms, our first British pub experience.
It was a great first day, and we amazed ourselves with our perseverance, jet-lag and all.