This Thanksgiving, I had my own holiday celebration in London! It was definitely hard being away from home at one of my favorite holidays - all my friends got together one night while everyone was home from college and that was the first time I had felt homesick in months. But, London definitely made up for it - it was my favorite city in Europe so far (which is a big statement because I am infamously bad at picking favorites). I was lucky enough to be able to stay with one of my friends from Elon, whose family lives in London and she was home for the holiday. My experience was that much better being able to see the city with a local and stay in an actual home. We packed a lot into three days and had so much fun, so it was especially hard for me to pick my highlights!
Our first day in London was packed with sightseeing and good food. We saw the Tower Bridge, walked around the city center, and tried to spend a good amount of time inside shops because it was freezing out.
We did some more sightseeing Thursday afternoon, and then headed to Covent Garden for dinner. It was my favorite area of London. In the garden, we had Flesh & Buns for dinner, a Japanese restaurant where you get steamed buns and pick your "flesh" filling - chicken, fish, steak, etc. I got steak, with sides of corn on the cob, edamame, and broccoli. It was one of my favorite meals I have had while abroad. The steak was amazing and every side was seasoned and roasted to perfection. It was not turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes - it was even better. After dinner, we saw the absolutely massive Christmas tree in the center of Covent Garden. It was so big and beautiful I wondered how they even got it there. In almost every city I have been to since October, they have been celebrating Christmas in their own unique way. It has been so fun to see such a variety of different decorations and feel the holiday spirit so far away from home.
If you know me personally, you probably know I am obsessed with cereal. It is one of my favorite foods and I like to believe it's the best meal at any time of day - breakfast, a snack, dinner, 2am, etc. So when I heard about the Cereal Killer Cafe in London, I had to make a trip. The cafe has bowls of every kind of cereal you can imagine, plus other foods made with cereal, including milkshakes and mozzarella sticks. I got cornflake-crusted chicken tenders, mac and cheese with a cornflake breading, and a bowl of one of the signature Cereal Killer cereals. My friend got bran flake fries which I had some of too. My cereal affinity was accounted for and it was such a cool experience. Dream = fulfilled.
Friday morning, we headed out into the city again and continued our exploring. We went to Buckingham Palace and I regret to say I did not witness a ~royal sighting.~ But, we did witness the changing of the guards, which was really neat. It was not as fancy as Versailles, but still beautiful and a must-see in London.
Later that afternoon, we went to afternoon tea. I feel like you cannot go to England and skip tea, but this tea party was like none I have ever been to before. First, I could not believe how fancy it was just to drink damn tea. But, the tea salon was absolutely beautiful (and decorated for Christmas!) and there was a man playing the piano, which was great. The tea itself was the best I have ever had and I regret not buying some to take home. I had two whole pots of a black strawberry tea to myself. Along with our copious amounts of tea, we each got a platter of finger sandwiches, scones and dessert pastries. We also each got a piece of cake at the end, but I was almost too full to enjoy mine, which was unfortunate because it was delicious. I had so much fun being so fancy and enjoying my tea, however, I could not believe how expensive it was. Luckily, I had a gracious "donor," so I did not pay for most of my meals in London, because I would not have been able to go to tea otherwise. I am including two pictures because this experience was just so wonderful.
Saturday (two days late), we had a full Thanksgiving feast with my friend's family. The food was absolutely amazing and I got my much-needed fill of home-cooked food. We even watched an American football game after! (Not the Patriots, but it was good enough.) My four days in London were so fun and I think if I had to move out of the U.S permanently, I would move there. I will definitely try to go back one day.
This week will be a double post so I can squeeze in my FINAL highlights reel from Amsterdam before I head HOME on Wednesday! Be on the lookout for that! xx
In November, I flew solo over to Prague (Praha in Czech, for those who don't get my title) and met up with my roommate and her two abroad roommates for the weekend! Although my flight got in late on Friday and I had to pretty much get up and leave for the airport Sunday morning, we made the best of the time we had in Prague and it was one of my favorite cities yet. The first city I ever fell in love with in Europe was Krakow, Poland, and the Prague vibes were definitely similar to Krakow.
Friday night, when we got into Prague, we quite literally threw our stuff in our Airbnb and went out. Upon multiple recommendations, we went to Lucerna, a club that has 80's/90's themed nights every Friday. Our friends recommended we get tickets in advance, and I am so glad we did - the line to get in was more like a mob and I cannot imagine all those people got in, nevermind in a reasonable amount of time.
Once we got into Lucerna, it was one of my absolute favorite clubs I have ever been to. I'm not a huuuge club girl (note that I have never written about a club before - that's because usually they are not worth talking about), but the music at Lucerna and the energy of the crowd was so fun. The main room had a stage with a huge screen where the music videos were played, and the classic songs just kept coming. I will admit I did freak out a little when the Friends theme song came on.
Saturday, we started our day off at Bakeshop, a cute little breakfast place/bakery. It had the best selection of quiches I have ever come across. If you know me, you know I love my quiche. I got a classic Lorraine, and ate the entire thing. It was amazing. I wish I could have gone back for another. My picture of the quiche display is not great, but it's worth sharing so you get the full effect.
Next, we hit all the main sights of Prague - Old Town Square, the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and the John Lennon wall. I don't know why, but I have always been a huge sucker for a good ole town square. They are just so cute and fun. Prague's was amazing, coming in second behind Krakow's. The sun was shining and it was starting to become busy as we arrived.
The Charles Bridge was quite a sight to see. The statues on the pillars throughout the bridge were incredible, and the whole bridge was bustling with vendors and live music. We took our time strolling across.
Once we were across, we headed to the John Lennon wall. This outdoor wall is a little tribute to John Lennon and is absolutely covered with art. Anyone can add to the wall, but the main, more professional paintings on the wall are definitely the focal points and many include Beatles lyrics or references to Lennon's life. The wall was much smaller than I was expecting, but nonetheless breathtaking. There was a man playing music, which just added to the magic of the wall. Out of all the tributes you can create for someone - a statue, a bench, a building, a street, a gravestone even - I think a wall filled with paintings, an open canvas for anyone to add to, is the most beautiful tribute.
I have seen a lot of castles in my time abroad. Almost every city has a famous castle or similar landmark, including Dublin. However, the Prague Castle is truly astonishing. It is so damn big. As we walked around it, I felt like the building just kept going. The Cathedral within the Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, was beautiful. Like I have said before, I love a good church and this one did not disappoint. Except I could not properly light my usual candle because the candles they had for visitors to light were FAKE! They were the little battery-operated ones, which I have never seen in a cathedral. I was a bit disappointed but lit one regardless because the meaning is still there.
After our sightseeing, it was time for a snack break, and this was no ordinary snack. We got the famous Prague Trdelniks, which is basically a donut cone with ice cream in it. We got them at a cute little place that roasted the donut cones right there in front of you, then you pick what you want inside. Common choices are ice cream, fruit and whipped cream, chocolate, or more savory options like mac and cheese. If I had been able to get two, I definitely would have tried the mac and cheese cone. However, my traditional ice cream cone was more than enough. It was amazing, obviously.
Later that day, we visited the Gallery of Art in the Old Town Square, which features an Andy Warhol exhibit. I am a big Andy Warhol fan and this exhibit was so fun. It featured the story of how and why Andy changed his last name from Warhola to Warhol, which I did not know about.
That night, we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Las Adelitas. Totally unrelated to Prague, I know, but who doesn't love Mexican food - plus, we heard this place was amazing. And, seriously, it was. It was some of the best Mexican food I have had in awhile - we got guac and margaritas, and I got enchiladas for my meal. The margaritas were my favorite. I don't usually pick tequila for a drink, but this might have changed my mind! They were so fresh and so yummy. Who would have thought some of the best Mexican food I have had would be in Prague?
Two weeks from today, I will already be back HOME in Boston! It's a bit hard to believe, but this semester has flown by. But first, tomorrow I am heading to Amsterdam for the weekend! Stay tuned for deets about my trips to London and Amsterdam coming soon xx
Just living, learning + loving and writing some of it down along the way. Senior + Director of Panhellenic Recruitment at Elon University in North Carolina. Currently interning + curating social for some badass clients at SFW in Greensboro, NC. Yogi, sightseer, shopaholic, foodie, writer.
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