London: Month of May
One would think that after four months of studying abroad in London, I would have seen everything I wanted to see and done all that I wanted to do...but what I felt was far from that. With only 7 days left until my parents were coming to pick me up, I felt the urgency to do everything in one week.
FORTNUM & MASON
Afternoon Tea is one of the best memories I have of London, and I couldn't help but have another session...or two before leaving. The rain that day had me very excited for its warmth, but little did I expect, inside F&M is like a department store in itself of 5 levels, with the entire first floor selling tea, biscuits, curds, jams, and anything to make a complete tea set at home!
After booking in advance (I would suggest at least 3 weeks in advance), I headed up to the 4th floor to their afternoon tea room. I had a tea tasting before the actual afternoon tea, where I learned its origins, as well as the difference between white, yellow, green, oolong, and black. For those curious when picking out tea, the darker the tea, the less antioxidants and more caffeine. The teas are all from the same plant but prepared and aged differently, whereas darker teas are aged a lot longer.
The afternoon tea itself was very pleasant, and I had my fair share of tea -- a server even commented on how much I had...hah. My favorite was the Smokey Earl Grey, with the Apricot Lavender & Honey infusion being a close second. In case you're not full afterwards from the scones, sandwiches, and pastries, they offer self-serve cake slices, and despite being SO full afterwards, the same server was being very generous and persuaded me to carry some slices back home (and yes, the Chocolate and Victoria Sponge was still delicious after staying in the fridge for a day or two).
Even if not able to come here for afternoon tea, I would check Fortnum & Mason out for their amazing tea selection that make great presents for loved ones back home!
Although I've been multiple times since January, I wanted to take some final shots before leaving. After tea, I walked over (luckily the rain stopped), and set up my tripod to wait for sunset to take photos. Unfortunately it was cloudy, but I got what I came for in the end anyway; shots of Big Ben (and the Double Decker busses too)!
On the walk over to Big Ben.
I met up with Catalina for tea one last time, and although we originally were going to get the afternoon tea option, we opted for just cream tea since I didn't think it was a good idea to eat that many pastries in two days. However, if you hadn't just had afternoon tea a day ago, I would go for their scientific twist on this classic meal.
Every Beatles fan MUST go to the infamous crossing at Abbey Road, where they posed for their 1969 album cover, and after studying them in our Pop Culture class with Justin -- did you know they were originally spelled "The Beetles"? -- Marissa, Karina and I bussed on over early Friday morning to find...cars being blocked by tourists like us, trying to replicate the album picture.
So yes, if you plan to come here to get your photos, expect people walking the crosswalk many times, cars on both sides waiting to cross, and spending at least 30 minutes here trying to get "the shot." It was almost humorous watching everyone coordinate, and I'd hope the locals have found a way around this, because I don't see this crosswalk getting less busy anytime soon!
As the tallest skyscraper in London at 95 stories, this glass structure is located in Southwark London along the bank, and incorporates a variety of shops, office spaces, apartments, restaurants, and of course, top floors to view the city.
I would recommend going to the top to enjoy a view higher than what The Eye and St. Pauls Cathedral can offer, and maybe get a drink and some food while you're at it! With the relaxing soundtrack playing in the background (think Enya/Rhye/Feist), I reflected on my last few days in London while watching people, thousands of miles below me, go on about their daily lives in the city I've learned to love over the past 4 months.
Birds eye view of Borough Market.
EXPERIMENTAL PERFUME CLUB
The morning of my second to last day in London, I headed on over to Dalston to try my hand in creating my very own perfume! Click here if you want to learn about the 3 different notes in a fragrance, how it is made, where the scents originally come from, and much much more!
Afterwards, I took a stroll around the surrounding area, and discovered the cutest doors, windows, and even a small little garden before heading back to the apartment.
This past semester has flown by, and I couldn't have asked for a better study abroad experience. With all the history, culture, and good food (surprisingly), London has so much to offer that I didn't even get the chance to see and do all that I wanted to while being here! Whether it's for an old favorite, or a new adventure, there is no doubt I will visit again in the future.
@ Borough market.
LA TUA PASTA - BLACK TRUFFLE TORTELLINI
@ Borough Market.
CEREAL KILLER CAFE
For their thin mints cereal, and 80s-90s vibes. (They have over 100 different cereals to choose from, as well as 20 different toppings, and 30 different types of milk to eat your cereal with).
A second to Dishoom if you don't want to wait 2 hours for Indian food, or couldn't book in advance.
QUEEN OF HOXTON
For a girl's night out!
THE CHEESE WHEEL
For their hand-rolled tagliatelle made in a giant wheel of cheese.
Thanks London for an amazing 4 months,