Summer Days in London

When the weather heats up in London, everything breaks.

Literally everything. England is not here for extreme weather be that snow or sun. They function their absolute best in cloudy, rainy weather. This I learned this past weekend when a simple plan of wedding shopping and sight-seeing turned into the longest days of my life.

Wedding Shopping

As you know, our walimah is coming up in August. With all the big stuff done, we really only have a few bits and bobs left to sort out. One of those being hijabs for the girls, including me. The mission of the day was to find scarves for everyone that matches our dress. Ivory for me and a taupe-ish color for the girls.

Everything started out great. My sister in laws and I had breakfast at the my favorite cafe and then headed to Whitechapel in London to start shopping.

If you’ve never been to London, I’ll warn you now… they don’t believe in air conditioning. Very few places have air conditioning and if they do, it’s not the cold air I’ve grown to love in the U.S. it’s more of light breeze that’s still slightly warm. The underground where Londoners do 90% of their traveling has no air conditioning. So by the time we made it to Whitechapel, I was already hot and sweaty. But it was just so exciting for the weather to finally be sunny and getting the last things for the wedding, that I wasn’t too upset. But after hours of walking around in the heat, I could absolutely care less about what people were wearing or if it matched.

We took a quick break to visit some family that lived in the area and then headed home. This was when trouble begin. We arrived at Waterloo to get on the last train to go home, only to find out ALL the trains in ALL directions were either canceled or delayed. So, in a station that is already one of the busiest in London was even more packed with angry, hot travelers. To sum up we waited around three hours to finally get going. It was also confirmed that this was the hottest day of the year so far.

The London Eye

As a wedding gift, my hubby and I were given a hop-on and hop-off cruise voucher. This voucher allowed us to travel along the Thames River and get on and off as many times as we liked for the day to visit some of London’s biggest tourist attractions.

We decided to go a couple days after the wedding shopping fiasco as the weather was still super nice. Thankfully all the trains were working and we arrived at the London Eye with no problem. We get in line, super excited as I’ve been dying to do this since I got to the UK. The line is literally a mile long but moving quickly. We even got some ice-cream while we waiting. (Fun fact: a soft serve cone is called a Mr. Whippy and they serve it with a chocolate wafer stick)

Ice cream with chocolate flake – a taste of summer

We get up the ramp to the London Eye, I can literally count the people ahead of us until it’s our turn… and the ride stops. So, we wait and wait and wait. Eventually, workers start evacuating everyone and say they are issuing refunds for people who would like their money back as the ride is now shut down. Apparently, due to the heat something caused something to expand and blah blah blah, a very technical answer was given, all I understood was because the sun is shining the ride is broken. Naturally mobs of people started heading towards the ticket office for their refund.

We decided to get something to eat and then head back to the London Eye since that is also a cruise point we could get on our cruise at. After lunch we came back and JOY everything is working. We were allowed to go through the fast track line and are on the London Eye in no time. It was definitely worth the wait. I would highly recommend everyone who visits London take a ride. On our cruise we also stopped at London Tower and London Bridge.

We’re now back to cloudier weather but it’s still warm at least… I wonder what other adventures the summer will bring.

A Very British Day

Afternoon tea has quickly become a favorite date for my hubby and I. It’s such a fun thing to do and because it’s such a common thing here in the UK, there are tons of places with different vibes to pick from.

This time we choose afternoon tea at The Podium. A fancy restaurant in Westminster London, this place is inside a Hilton. So if you’re traveling in the London, you don’t even have to venture outside for this British staple.

For drinks I had a mocha latte and my hubby had a fig and rose mixture tea. I’m not even a tea drinker, and that tea was delicious. The first round were sandwiches, that were almost too pretty to eat… almost. The best round of course, was the dessert. A layer of scones and then two layers of chocolate treats. The black forest gateaux and the passionfruit strawberry tartlet were my favorite.

On our way back, we took a walk through what we thought was just a park. Turns of it was Buckingham Garden. While we were strolling through, we spotted Buckingham Palace! One of the places I’ve always wanted to see! We made our way to the palace and it was so busy. Side note: if you’re American in the UK and you’re missing home, just to go to a tourist site. All the Americans are there. We walked around taking pictures and taking in the all the sights. Literally just as we were about to leave we saw the guards coming out. To see the changing of the guards was something I put on my London bucket list, so be able to tick this off with my favorite person was incredible!