Regan flew in to visit me! Today was a pretty quiet day, since I still had class. However, I took the morning off from my internship and we brunched at Muriel’s Kitchen (the same place that my roommates went to on our first weekend!) and walked around Kensington. We walked through Hyde Park and passed Kensington Palace, up to High Street Kensington on our way to class. I abandoned her for 3 hours for class, but beforehand we stopped at PAUL for some pastries/treats! It was a chill night of watching the London Parks & Rec episode and eating clotted cream ice cream! The following days are much more eventful.
We started the morning by going to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was absolutely stunning! I’ve walked by it a few times now and saw it on our first sightseeing tour, but I had never gone in until today! They asked that no pictures were taken inside, which I abided by, however that was by far the most beautiful part. We wandered around the cathedral and the crypt and made our way out pretty quick.
We stopped by the nearby Doughnut Time for the greatest donut I’ve ever had in my life. The donuts are all named after various pop culture references. The one that we got was called Stranger Rings. It was coated in Nutella buttercream, Oreos, and edible glitter.
Then we walked over to the Borough Market, another place that I’ve been meaning to go but hadn’t made it to. It was so cute, and I already can’t wait to go back. We got so many free samples of bread w/ oil, and cheese! After wandering through all the different booths, we decided to lunch on some focaccia from Bread Ahead and some raspberries from one of the fruit stands. I got a tomato/pesto focaccia and Reg got an onion/tomato/herb one. We also split a mini baguette. A friend who I worked with over the summer did an academic year in London, and she said I had to get some bread from Bread Ahead because it was the best bread she’d ever had in her life. I’m not sure it compares to my grandma’s homemade bread, but it was pretty close!
Reg and I parted ways again for a bit, while I went to a class field trip & taught my dance class at my internship. We reunited for dinner where we went to the pub near our flat called Famous Three Kings. I got a chicken burger! We didn’t stay out too late though, because we had to do some packing and prepping for our next-day travels to Ireland!
Today we headed out for Dublin! We took the tube to Victoria where we bought tickets for the Gatwick Express to get ourselves down south to the Gatwick Airport. It was pretty smooth getting there. However, our plane was delayed about 2 hours. From there, it was not so smooth. Some of the fun things that happened:
1) I’m not well-versed in airport security, so I was grossly underprepared. I forgot some of my liquids, so I got pulled aside, so, even though I knew nothing was wrong, anxiety skyrocketed.
2) Once we got settled in and went to check our gate, every 10 minutes or so we’d go to check the sign and the gate information was pushed back another 10 minutes, until we could finally board 2 hours after it was supposed to take off.
3) It was delayed due to weather, so when we finally were able to depart, it was an extremely rocky takeoff and landing.
4) When we arrived in Dublin, it was torrential downpouring. Our little Ryanair flight didn’t have a connecting gate/terminal thing, so we had to walk outside. Even with my rain jacket and umbrella, I got absolutely soaked.
5) We then had to navigate public transit in a foreign country to get to our Airbnb. There was an accident right outside of the airport, so the person at the bus info desk suggested we took the city transit as opposed to the express bus into the city centre. When we got to the bus, it was not only torrentially raining now, but it was also hailing! We got on the bus and I wasn’t sure how to scan the bus pass, and the Irish bus driver snarkily said “I think it’s pretty obvious” when I gave him a confused look. It’s funny to look back on now, but I was just about in tears.
After all that, Reg and I met our Airbnb host’s friend downtown to grab the keys (which was a little sketch, but he was really kind & really cute – nbd but he told me to give him a ring if I needed anything) and finally made it to our place.
We made the most of our full day in Dublin! After waking up, we headed directly to the city centre! We brunched (obviously) at this cute place Cali had recommended from her trip to Dublin (she went on a Freshman Seminar Abroad last year!) called Lemon Crepe & Coffee Co. where I got an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, & ham ? and an orange juice. We booked the morning up pretty solid.
Next, we walked to the Dublin Castle and the memorial park right next to it.
Then we walked to Trinity College, where we roamed around for a while. We were going to see the Book of Kells, but the line was a bit too long (and we only had one full day in Dublin!)
Next, we walked by the river and got coffee at Craft Coffee Roasters (another recommendation from Cali’s trip). It meant a lot to me to go to the same places that she went on her trip ?
We continued walking by the river, just taking in the city. It rained a little bit and we caught a rainbow (but didn’t find a pot of gold). We walked through some markets, walked past Temple Bar (a major tourist hub) and hit up some tourist souvenir shops.
We ended the night by walking through Phoenix Park (we saw some Irish elk!), which was right next to our Airbnb. After struggling to find some dinner (since there were only 2 pubs next to us and for some reason a lot of places stop serving food after 5pm?) we ended at the same pub where we got another round of pizza (this time a veggie pizza, which had sweetcorn on it – apparently this is a thing everywhere but the U.S. haha). Ended the night in the Airbnb with Ben & Jerrys and The Good Place – on my hotspot since our Airbnb host exaggerated on her page about the Wi-Fi (which we’re getting a 50% refund for, bless!)
Since Regan headed out on Monday, we wanted to make sure that we had one more day in London, which meant we had a very early taxi ride to the airport (getting picked up at 5:15am). We flew out of Dublin at 7:30, making it back to London around 9! This flight was much smoother than our flight to Dublin. We ended our time with some British icons, by doing a huge walking look of Westminster.
We stopped at this adorable tea shop called English Rose Cafe & Tea Shop (which I’m going to take anyone else who visits me, because it was so cute) where Reg got a traditional scone with clotted cream and jam! There was only one scone left, so I went with a pan au chocolat, which I had no complaints about. The whole place is decorated with pastels and flowers and they have a pretty decent cream tea date deal – I will be back.
After walking through St. James’s Park (where Reg touched a squirrel), we walked over by Big Ben (who’s still covered in scaffolding), the House of Parliament, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, etc.
We ended our loop by going to eat at one last pub – Cask Pub, where we got to enjoy some live folk music and both got some phenomenal chicken burgers & chips. ?
To celebrate the end of the trip, we got one last round of clotted cream ice cream (since it might be Reg’s last for a long long time).
Showing your longtime best friend your new home is so fun. Travelling to a completely new place with your longtime best friend is so fun. Such a fun long weekend!