I had EXPECTATIONS going on my first ever solo trip. If I am completely honest, I didn’t have expectations so much as fantasies, being a true romantic at heart. Friends don’t know this because this romanticism is buttered in sarcasm and deep fried in cynicism, but I digress.
London for 2 days, Paris for 5. That was the plan. For some odd reason I didn’t fantasize about London so much. I guess my brain figured that producing daydreaming content for a place I was only visiting for 2 days was not worth it. Add to that this quip from a coworker “Yea, London is…. Listen, you don’t wanna stay in London too long. Spend 1 or 2 days and get the ‘heck’ out of there. Paris is where you wanna be!”
Imagine my surprise then when I arrived at Kings Cross station from Heathrow. There was something incredibly familiar about this city. London welcomed me like we had known each other in a past life and I embraced her like I had finally met my twin soul.
Shoreditch was my first introduction to London as my Airbnb was located there, and it was the loveliest of introductions. On my first morning I took a walk around the neighborhood to get acquainted with my surroundings and came across a canal directly behind the building. Needless to say I was pretty excited by how unexpected this was!
I travel for relaxation so I never curate lists of things to do. As such I relied mostly on my host and other locals to give me recommendations about places to go, things to do, and most importantly places to eat. For my first day, my Airbnb host recommended Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane, and Truman Brewery as a start. Spitalfields is known for good flea market style shopping and tons of food kiosks with delicious menu offerings. I spent a good portion of my afternoon in Spitalfields. Honestly, if you’re ever in Shoreditch, this place is a must! I I had the most mouth watering tandoori at Indigo for lunch.
After finishing up in Spitafields, I went exploring. My favorite part about traveling is the exploration. Few things compare to wandering the streets with no clear destination in mind, because you truly come across the best gems, and Shoreditch has the most amazing gems in the form of graffiti art.
I walked around so much that I eventually came across Truman Brewery seeing as it was a Monday afternoon there wasn’t a lot happening but it was still great for sightseeing. I walked back to the Airbnb, took a nap, then headed to Gokyuzu restaurant for dinner with my host turned friend. It was my first time having traditional Turkish food and I loved everything about it. Rumor has it, they have a rice that tastes like Turkish jollof rice. (I will link a London food review soon).
The plan for the next and final day was Natural History Museum and Tower Bridge with my friend Dale. However, shopping stole half the day once we landed in Hyde Park. Most of the shopping at Hyde Park was of the window variety, courtesy of having champagne tastes with lemonade pockets. After a bit of shopping, we made our way over to tower bridge, one of the most beautiful parts of London for some sight seeing and a mini photo shoot. Dinner was at Song Que a Vietnamese place in Shoreditch. After a long day of shopping, eating and sightseeing, I made my way back to the Airbnb, went for a walk along the canal and prepared for my next stop, Paris.