Let me just start by saying that the past week was probably the best week of my life. While there were a few less-than-perfect moments, I still had the time of my life– I don’t remember the last time I’ve been so happy for such an extended period of time.
I miss London already. Honestly, my thoughts are in a British accent as I type this. I went into my trip excited to see Mark and indifferent about seeing London. I left madly in love with each of them. The people I talked to in London were all kind and helpful, the food was amazing, and London is full of so many little subcultures that it’s impossible to get bored.
I also think that I grew up a lot in the past week. I mean, if flying across the Atlantic alone and checking into a gorgeous hotel in a bustling European city wouldn’t make you feel grown up, I don’t know what would.
I went into the trip a little bit nervous– for a few reasons. First, it had been two months since I’d seen Mark, and I was worried that things wouldn’t be the same. Truthfully, I think they were better. My second concern was that, for Mark and me, this would be our first time traveling alone together. I’ve read horror stories of couples who go on a trip for the first time alone together and leave hating one another. If you have completely different ideas about what a vacation should be, I suppose that makes sense. But I think (and he’ll correct me if I’m wrong) that Mark and I travelled really well together. Granted, we didn’t fly anywhere together (which probably would have been a bit of a nightmare for me– sorry babe!) but hey, baby steps!
My flight to London was a breeze. If you are a vegan and ever have the option of flying British Airways… do it. Not only are the vegan meals (yes… vegan meals are an option) not half bad, but there is a free open bar. I flew overnight and, after a few glasses of wine, slept the whole flight.
My flight landed almost an hour early, and I got through the border and customs quickly. Seeing Mark again for the first time in two months was the most excited and happy I can remember being about almost anything. I was waiting for him in a huge open room and walked around for a little trying to find him. When I didn’t see him anywhere, I sat on a bench and kept a close eye out for him. The second I looked down to check my phone, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Looking up and seeing his face in person and hearing his voice and being able to hug him and hold his hand… I felt like I’d waited forever. It was the best feeling.
We took the Heathrow Express train from the airport to central London, where we dropped our bags off at the hotel and walked around. We found a Lebanese juice bar around lunchtime and headed in for some falafel and fresh juice. The falafel was delicious– maybe just because we were both starving.
London has fostered a new love of mine– juice. I had never had fresh pressed juice before, and the restaurant we were in had an extensive list of options. Mark and I chose an orange pineapple mint juice– delicious.
After lunch and more exploring, we checked into our hotel. We were given a free upgrade (!!!) to a gorgeous corner room on the fourth floor of our hotel. The room overlooked Hyde Park, a giant park in Western London. We also got a beautiful (and complimentary!) tray of fruit.
After settling in a bit, we walked through Hyde Park to Kensington, where we found a Whole Foods (cue major excitement). We had beautiful weather and sat in the park for a little while on the way back to the hotel.
For dinner, we found a little Indochinese restaurant a few blocks from our hotel called Bananatree. We ordered a dish called the Vegan Delight and some lo-mein style noodles. Unfortunately, we were so hungry that I forgot to take pictures before we scarfed down our food, but I did manage to snap you a picture of a delicious mango bellini that I had with my dinner (with some of our empty plates in the background) 😉
Our first day in London was perfect– relaxing and exciting at the same time.
Many more recaps to come!