I have many things to share, but first things first…
You know those times when you just need to see and talk to a friend. Well, just when I needed a friend, Erin came to visit me in London!
She flew in on March 2nd we got to explore the UK and Ireland for 10 days.
March 2-4 – London
We took the first few days to explore London. On the first night, we went to a great chic restaurant called Med Kitchen before going to see Chicago!
The next day, we walked down the Thames River, visiting sights like the Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, and Tate Modern. I hadn’t been to the Tower of London since my last trip over four years ago, so it was great to go and see things like the crown jewels, the ravens, and the Royal Armories’. I think it’s a great place to take people since there’s something for everyone! I mean, what girl doesn’t want to look at the crown jewels?? And i think most guys like checking out the swords and armor from past kings and princes.
That night, we went to a great wine bar called Gordon’s. I’ve been to some pretty cool bars/restaurants, but this one may take the prize as coolest atmosphere.
It’s the oldest wine bar in London (established in 1890) and one section of the bar is literally in a wine cellar with low ceilings lit solely with candles on the tables.
They serve a limited menu of cheeses, bread, olives, and sliced meats.
Their wines come from all over the world and they can all be purchased by the glass or bottle.
On the 4th, we went to Noting Hill and walked down the famous Portobello Road.
The Portobello Market (which i wrote about in December) takes place here on the weekends, but on the weekends this street looks just like any other road in London.
Still, some of the stores were open and Erin scored a great deal on scarves in a variety of colors.
This is where the bookstore, The Travel Bookshop, from the movie “Notting Hill” is located (yes, it’s a real bookstore).
We also found this cute cupcake place called The Hummingbird Bakery where their special of the day was a chocolate & marshmallow cupcake. YUMMY!!
After Portobello Road, we took the tube to Westminster Abbey! I know i’ve said it before, but i just absolutely LOVE this place. This was my fourth trip to the Abbey and it was still as interesting as the first. I know when you’re traveling through Europe, all the churches seem to blur together after a while, but this one is worth seeing! Even if it costs £15 to get into.
March 5-7 – Dublin
Very early on the 5th (4:10am to be exact), Erin and I hopped in a cab, that took us to the tube station by my house, where we boarded a bus, that took us to the airport an hour away, to board a plane that took us to Dublin, Ireland. The benefit of what felt like torture at the time was that we were in Dublin by 8, checked into our hotel at around 10, and then had the rest of the day to explore the city.
We started out with the Book of Kells at Trinity College.
Unfortunately, there’s no photography allowed inside (although, i’m not sure photographs could ever do it justice). You really just have to see it for yourself. For those that don’t know, the Book of Kells is an “illustrated manuscript in Latin, containing the the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables.” (courtesy of Wikipedia. You can read more about it here).
From here, we grabbed lunch at a pub and then headed to arguably the most famous and well known tourist spot in Dublin…
They have a great self-guided tour that teaches visitors about everything from the ingredients that go into the beer, to how the barrels were made by hand, to an exhibit featuring past advertising campaigns. The best part was the prize at the end of the tour…
The free pint of Guinness at the from the 7th floor of the Storehouse!
Well, as you can imagine, after the long day we were beat, so we called it an early evening so we’d be well rested for our tour the next day!
On Saturday, we took a guided tour to Glendalough, Wicklow, and Kilkenny. There were a number of tours to choose from, but we were sold when we read “Panoramic driving through Braveheart, P.S. I Love You country” in their advertising pamphlet.
Whenever I travel to a new place, i always have an image in my head of what it will look like. Most often, this image is wrong. Of course, Dublin was nothing like i thought it would look. The city was older, almost like it was stuck in the late 80’s or early 90’s. However when we took this tour out of the city and into the countryside, it was exactly what I pictured Ireland to look like.
March 7-9 – Glasgow
On Sunday morning Erin and I headed to the airport and flew from Dublin to Glasgow, Scotland. We both immediately fell in love with this city! The architecture is incredible and the people couldn’t have been nicer. Sure, most people decide to go to Edinburgh when they visit Scotland, and I think Glasgow has gotten a bad reputation for some reason. But we found Glasgow to be a great place to visit! The city is laid out well, making it easy to walk around or take the underground which literally makes a circle around the city. Another plus was that things in Glasgow were super cheap (in comparison to London of course).
The best part of all though was having our own personal tour guide!
Josh Reynold’s brother, Jeremy, is living in Glasgow and was kind enough to give us a guided tour on his day off. We started out with breakfast at an amazing place called Kember and Jones. It was difficult to pick one item as everything sounded so good, but Erin and I both ordered waffles and we were not disappointed. We got lucky with some incredible weather so after breakfast we had a chance to walk around the city.
After roaming around Glasgow, we picked up some sandwiches and hopped on the train to Loch Lomond. This beautiful lake was waiting for us there…
This view + picnic = perfect lunch!
Of course, in true Scotland fashion, there was a castle by the lake, and we even found a park to play in!
That night, Jeremy took us to a restaurant called Brodie’s in Glasgow where we got to enjoy things like haggis and black pudding. Incase you’re wondering what haggis is, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum has a stuffed one in their animal exhibit so I took a photo…
On tuesday, March 9th, we hopped on the train in Glasgow and headed back to London.
I’m sad to report that the fun pretty much slowed down there. Erin got sick in Dublin, and I got sick in Glasgow so it put a damper on our plans the next couple days.
All in all, it was a great trip though, and I am so thankful and happy Erin decided to spend her spring break across the pond.
More on all the other things going on in life soon!