I know you’ve all been dying to hear about the second part of my trip since publishing about our time in Brighton and Liverpool, so let’s get right to it!
Wednesday, 10 November: We arrived late the night before and chilled at our hostel off the Royal Mile for the rest of the night. First thing in the morning, we had a full Scottish breakfast at the City Cafe before taking a Sandeman walking tour. Our guide Jen was exceptional showing us around The Royal Mile, castle, Greyfriars Kirkyard and more. That night, we patroned a few pubs that caught our eye on the walking tour.
Thursday, 11 November: We visited Calton Hill, taking in views of the whole city and Topping & Company bookstore nearby. Oh my goodness, it has to be one of my new favorite bookstores of all time. It has a massive selection, it’s so easy to get lost in there. Not to mention they have author signed books for all price ranges. I got Gotta Get Theroux This signed by one of my favorite public figures, documentarian Louis Theroux. I was more than chuffed, his documentaries changed my life!
We then visited Dean Village, walking along the Water of Leith to St. Bernard’s Well. It was a nice way to get a breath of nature and enjoy the fall weather Grant and I both love.
We hit Victoria Street to have lunch at Oink before heading to Grassmarket for Mary’s Milk Bar ice cream (it’s never too cold for ice cream) and visiting a cat cafe, Maison de Moggy. The kitties were so precious if a little mischievous. The naked one, Elodie, would jump on the table to steal a lick of your cake or hot chocolate if you don’t keep a close eye on her.
We finished our busy time in Edinburgh with a ghost walking tour sharing the darker side of the city including body snatching, the real Dr. Jekyll (actually meant to be pronounced gee-kull and not jeck-ull like it’s been popularized) and Mr. Hyde and murder.
Friday, 12 November: We took the train to our final stop of London. We arrived in the early evening at our hotel near King’s Cross, which was a bit overpriced and tiny, but we didn’t plan to spend much time there. Knackered from travel, we had some killer Italian at a nearby place, Casa Tua.
Saturday, 13 November: We arrived into the City of London proper to a surprise: The Lord Mayor’s Show. A long-standing tradition, it’s a parade that celebrates the annual inauguration of the new Lord Mayor. However, we didn’t have much time to observe as we had to get to Sky Garden for our reservation. It’s one of my favorite things to do in London and not only because it’s right at my price point (free). It seems like there’s always something new to see and a great way to get your bearings.
We then walked across Tower Bridge and made our way to the Jack the Ripper Museum.
We made our way to Westminster, walking around Jubilee Park where Christmas festivities were kicking off. You know what that means: mulled cider!
Our final stop was Trafalgar Square on our walkabout, where even more Christmas markets were being erected.
That night, we saw Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre. I’ve seen it in London once before with my brothers and it was exceptional this time. Their Valjean was the best one I’ve ever seen. I’m also really happy Grant loved it, I was afraid it would be too music-heavy for him or he wouldn’t understand what was going on going into it totally blind. At first, I kicked myself for seeing a musical I’ve already seen many times already, but with Les Mis there’s always something new to the set, production or score that’s worth seeing every couple of years.
Sunday, 14 November: First, we went to Word on the Water: a floating bookstore. It was on my list of things to do and it just to happened it was only a ten minute walk from our hotel. I call that fate. Not only was I in love with the cute appearance of the shop, but with the surprisingly large selection of books. I came away with a beautiful edition of Wuthering Heights with cherry blossom cover and gilded pages, Normal People, Emily Dickinson collection, The Gifts of Reading (because what other book to buy at an adorable bookstore than one about books?) and a book for my friend. I was absolutely thrilled, even though getting it back might be a pain.
We then met up with my good friend Alex in Camden, another one of my favorite things to do in London. We got lost in the shops, ate delicious street food, wandering in Regents Park and caught up over drinks.
Monday, 15 November: For our final day, we spent the morning running around God’s creation looking for the proper COVID travel test. While we were on this trip, requirements for traveling back to the U.S. changed requiring both a double vaccination and a negative test. However, free and convenient NHS tests were not recognized by travel authorities so we had to go to a different center and pay a premium for a quick test as our flight was leaving the next day. At the end of the day, it was less than $50 per person and we did agree to comply with changing COVID regulations upon booking, so beware if you’re looking to travel.
After that faff, we visited The British Museum which was so vast and awesome. My favorite bit was definitely the dying and mummifications exhibit of Egypt.
To end our trip, we met up with my old friend Tom and his partner Hind for dinner and drinks. It was awesome to catch up with Tom and meet Hind.
Tuesday, 16 November: We caught a flight back home at 1430 and landed back in Seattle at 1630 with a gorgeous sunset.
This trip was incredible. I was so happy to share a huge part of my life with Grant and explore new places. It was also awesome to catch up with dear friends. We’ve all done a lot of growing in the pandemic and although life has been moving slower than usual these last few years, we’ve all done more than we probably think.
I can’t wait to go back again already, but we have other big trips to take and places to explore before we return.