After my first couple days in London I felt like I needed a breather. In the 36 hours I had been there I had seen Buckingham Palace, walked over the London Bridge more times than I could count, visited Westminster Abbey, saw the Big Ben under construction, wandered through Regent’s Park, went on a pub crawl in Camden, stared up at the London Eye and even took the tube to Shoreditch, the “coolest” of London’s neighborhoods.
Basically if you google, “Things to Do in London” I had already put a check market next to every one those boxes with the selfies on my phone to prove it. I was looking for something a bit more relaxing and that involved getting out of my stuffy hostel bunk as soon as possible. I guess I would see what I could find.
Borough Market had already become a staple for me in my time in London. It was only a five minute walk away from my hostel, and smaller and quainter than its Camden and Shoreditch counterparts (I would still recommend both of those too.) You can take care of your bread, cheese and oyster needs all in one place, while the city continues to bustle outside. I managed to talk myself out of the cupcake line and into the one for fresh juice, picking up a something fruity to start my day.
Drink in tow I headed across London Bridge to St. Peter’s Cathedral. I sat in the grass and pulled out my journal for a massive brain dump with a pretty view. I sat there long enough for a sunburn to start to form on my back, sharpening my pencil and jotting things down.
Okay, okay, even though it had been a blissful morning I was feeling like I had to do something requiring a bit more effort. I started walking towards the British Museum, picking up lunch from one of the many Pret a Mangers along the way. I spent the afternoon wandering through ancient artifacts and completely in awe of the Greek Sculptures. I spent just enough time inside to see what I wanted but not too much time that it started to blur together. There’s something humbling about being surrounded by so much history.
I went back to the hostel to take a nap but walked in to find five military guys blasting Kendrick Lamar and unpacking heir bags. Looks like no napping would be done here. I went to the common room and googled, “parks near me” and found Potter Fields Park, complete with a view of Tower Bridge. There are definitely worse places to take a nap than with an iconic landmark behind you as you sleep.
From there I had a lazy evening, picking up takeout and going towards the south bank neighborhood for an evening walk. I hit the hay early, having to catch a bus to Paris at 7 the next morning.
While travelling it may feel like wasting time every moment you’re not seeing something cool or doing something exciting, if there’s anything I’ve learned from this trip so far it is to take time to slow down. Take a nap if you’re tired, go sit in a park, go to a viewpoint and stay there for an hour just taking it in. It’s all equally a part of the experience.