I’m glad I went to London, only if I learned that I have absolutely no desire to ever live there for a sustained period of time, like I once thought.
I just did not feel London, & it has nothing to do with my accommodations or company, since I had the privilege of staying with the amazing Giulia, who graciously let me stay at her family’s beautiful house near Chelsea. I had the chance to live in the most amazing townhouse, stay in a wonderful bed, and access to tons & tons of Vogue magazines! Heavenly (a different kind of heavenly) after staying in a bus on a farm for 2 weeks! I just didn’t…feel comfortable in the city, and felt that after 3 days, I’d done most of what I actually wanted to do in London (not seeing shows, I think they’re nice, but totally a waste of money) and frankly was getting a bit bored.
The Tube was reasonably priced & convenient, so I got to visit a great deal of the city in just 3 days; a horribly hot & crowded three days— especially since London was experiencing a rare heat-wave during my visit. And if I already disliked London under the shining sun, I can’t imagine that my opinion would improve under its perpetual grey skies.
The first day, I from Giulia’s place near Victoria Station (tourist drop-off clusterfuck) over to Hyde Park (frankly like a really yellow and ugly Central Park) to just relax on the grass & read for a bit. I then met up with Giulia in trendy Soho (walking through super-touristy Picadilly Circus on the way, which is just a commercial clusterfuck a la Times Square).
Didn’t get to explore Soho too much, but saw tons of interesting looking cafes & shops—had some great coffee & sandwiches at the ultra, ultra hipster Fernandez & Wells (super minimal storefront, snobby coffee selection and all). I then headed over to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which was goooorgeous and full of breathtaking sculptures & decorative pieces (the wading fountain area in the courtyard was wonderful after walking around in the scorching sun).
Super cute orange juice shop in Victoria & Albert!
I was also told to check out the National History Museum, but when I walked in and saw that the escalator ascended into a giant globe & there were tons of sleek, science-related exhibits (boring!) instead of the slightly-creepy-but-interesting stuffed dioramas I was expecting, I quickly left. I opted to wander around South Kensington (eh) & ended up walking down King’s Road, a posh shopping street in Chelsea.
Picked up a few things at Brandy Melville, which was great as I was thinking of making an order from Taiwan, I wanted their bandeau bras so much (it’s so much more expensive in London than in LA, though!)—
–and then (yeah, I was definitely exhausted by this point) Giulia, her boyfriend Fraser and I jumped on the Tube to go to a dinner party held at Fenton House, this cosy “stately home” preserved by the National Trust, aka some organization in England that protects old buildings & stuff. The food was alright & the house was…a house (sorry, I just can’t get into some things!) but the gardens were lush & gorgeous, the company great, and the general atmosphere jolly, and I’m glad that I had a chance to go to such a unique event away from the tourist hustle & bustle of central London.