First time in London

If you know Henry and me, you know that food is a top priority in our lives. Of course that extends to travel plans and hence our trips to culinary destination like New Orleans, Austin, Portland, Vietnam, etc. Unfortunately, England doesn’t have such a great reputation when it comes to food so it never made it to the top of our list.

When we were planning our Europe/Morocco trip, we found an opportunity to build in a layover in London that would allow us to quickly tour the city without too much time commitment. And so we booked our flight to LHR.

It's us! (I know you can barely see)

It’s us! (I know you can barely see)

We took the convenient Piccadilly Line from LHR to the Intercontinental Park Lane at Hyde Park Corner. The journey took about an hour each way, which did eat up quite a bit of our short 22 hours in London. Since it was both of our first time in London, we decided to take a walking tour of the highlights upon arrival.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Horse Guard Parade

Horse Guard Parade

There are many “free” tour services all over the world and this time around, we signed up for the Undiscovered London Free Tour that met at Green Park, 10 minutes away. Our tour guide took us to many of the major sights like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. We got a quick history lesson, tipped the guide at the end, and went on our way.

Big Ben

Big Ben

We ended up strolling over to the West End, which was far more interesting to explore on foot. We walked around Chinatown (Henry has a weird obsession with Chinatowns around the world), ate fish & chips at the trendy Golden Union Fish Bar in Soho, ate meat pie at Mother Mash, and then ate Indian food at Punjab. I think you’re getting the idea here. The fish was good, the meat pie was mediocre, and the Indian food was tasty but we were full at that point.

Woohoo, Chinatown for us Chinese people

Woohoo, Chinatown for us Chinese people

In the spirit of saving money, being green, and experiencing London to the fullest, we relied on buses as our main form of transportation. After eating until we could not eat anymore, we headed back to the hotel and went to sleep.

Iconic Double Decker Bus

Iconic Double Decker Bus

It was our first night in Europe and jet lag set in. We woke up at 2am, bored and…hungry. Using Yelp, we found a hole-in-the-wall authentic Chinese noodle shop a block away from Chinatown called Noodle Bar. After covering ourselves in some warm clothes, we headed out the hotel to the bus stop to get us to our noodles. We looked like slobs in the middle of the night and everyone else on the street at that time were going home from the club. The streets were full of drunk party people, which made people watching quite fun. After a bowl of warm noodles, we took a “romantic” walk along the River Thames. Well, it was romantic for the first 10 minutes but then we got tired and sleepy and luckily flagged down a taxi to take us back to bed.

London Eye at Night during our romantic walk

London Eye at Night during our romantic walk

When we awoke the next morning, it was time to head to the airport. Luckily, we had a chance to stop at British Airways’ Galleries Club for some awesome breakfast. That was the best airport lounge of our trip with a beautiful assortment of fruits, pastries, cheeses, spreads, juices, alcohol, sodas, and chips. We packed a few items to go but we ended up eating a full meal on the plane as well. We were stuffed.

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