Thursday, April 3, 2014

London: Questions & Answers

Where did we go?
London, England

How long were we there?
4 Days. March 22nd through March 25th, 2014

What language do they speak?
They speak English.  It was nice not having to use Google translate for our trip this time but there were a few times when we heard someone speaking and even though it was English we had no idea what they said :)

What currency do they use?
They use pounds.   Right now £1 is about $1.66.  When I was trying to quickly convert something on our trip I would multiply it by 1.5, which actually isn't enough but it was pretty close.

Were things expensive?
It was pretty expensive in London but some things were still cheaper than in Stockholm.  I ended up buying Hunter boot cleaner in London because it was about $10 instead of $22 like it was in Stockholm.  However, Hunter boots started in London so it could be that it is cheaper because it is from there.

Would we be able to live there for a year?
I think living in London would be great and I think my English would improve :).  I will say I did feel a little more stressed out riding the public transportation and walking around than I do in Stockholm.  London is a much bigger city than Stockholm which would take some getting used to but overall I enjoyed the city.  I could see us going to lots of shows if we lived there and London is more centrally located in Europe which would be nice as far as traveling goes.

What was most memorable thing about the trip?
I think the Harry Potter tour was the most memorable.  We were really looking forward to it ahead of time and it did not disappoint.  I also really enjoyed seeing the Tower Bridge.

What was the food like?
The food was pretty good.  We had Mexican food one night and Japanese food another night but we also had a few traditional English dishes.  Jake had fish and chips and I had pie and mash for lunch on day.  They were both good.  We had a more traditional English breakfast one morning which was a little bit too heavy for starting the day in my opinion.  Some of the options even had chips, aka french fries, as part of the breakfast.  Jake also had tea with milk a few times.  I tried it but just couldn't get too excited about it.  On Sunday we both had the traditional Sunday roast for lunch and it was really good.

Least favorite food?
I don't think I had a least favorite food.  Jake didn't really think most of the food was very flavorful so I think that would bother him if we lived there.  I didn't mind the mild flavors. 

Favorite food?
My favorite food was the Sunday roast.  I had a small portion of roast with carrots, parsnips, potatoes and a roll.

Would we want to go back?
I think we would both enjoy going back to London. Jake would also like to go to a smaller English city or village to experience that culture.  We had fun and enjoyed our time there.  I will say that visiting one of the main European cities puts extra pressure and stress on you to see and do everything you can while you are there.  I didn't enjoy that extra pressure.  Maybe not everyone would feel that pressure but I sure did. When we went up North about a month ago I didn't have as many expectations since I hadn't dreamed about visiting Lappland since I was a little girl.  It was nice to just do things that sounded interesting without feeling like it had to be the best restaurant and tour we've ever been on.  While we were in London I felt like we had to eat at restaurants with great food and see a memorable show because most people dream about going to a show in London so we can't mess that up.  And then we ended up seeing a show that was just okay :).  

What was I most surprised by?
I was surprised by the amount of stress I felt trying to see and do everything we could.  I was also surprised at how big London felt.  I knew London was bigger than Stockholm but I didn't realize how much bigger it really was.  The weather while we were there surprised me.  It was sunny three out of the four days and it only sprinkled on us a few times.  It was a little bit cold but not too bad.

Did we do anything we thought we wouldn't do?
We weren't planning on going to Greenwich but after our bike tour guide suggested it we decided to go and it was good.  It was a little bit stressful making sure we didn't miss one of the last ferries back to London and finding a place to eat dinner on a Sunday night also took a little bit of effort but it was fun and not on the list of things to do in London which meant it was spontaneous which is a win for Jake!  (I’ll explain more about that in the next question.)

What did I learn about myself on this trip?
I learned that flying out early in the morning before spending 4 days on your feet seeing and doing as much as possible probably isn't the best idea :). I like my sleep and I don't really handle the stress of traveling as well as I normally would if I don't get a good night’s sleep. I had a hard time falling asleep the night before we left because I knew we would be waking up early and I tossed and turned all night. So I got maybe 2-3 hours of sleep to start our 4 days of sightseeing. I think we will think about that before we plan our next trip.

We also learned that the way Jake and I like travel and sightsee is very different. I like to plan a list of activities, places to visit, tours to go on and restaurants to eat at before we visit the city and then go to those places. I would call a successful trip one where we went to all or most of the places we planned on visiting while we were there. Jake wants to have some spontaneous fun on each trip. He is disappointed when the only things we do are the things on our list. You can imagine that the combination of these two preferences could be great! We could complement each other and have a wonderful experience together . . . or butt heads the whole trip :). On this particular trip we did a little bit more of the latter. I know I struggled with the lack of sleep and the tired feet. We both had a hard time trying to fit everything in during those four days and making sure they were all the best experiences they could be. I don't want to sound like we didn't have fun or enjoy our time because we did but it wasn't all sunshine and roses. Traveling is hard on your bodies and on your communication skills but I am very thankful for these experiences. We are learning so much about each other and ourselves as we travel together.

If you want to read about our whole trip our first two days can be found here and our last two days are here.

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