Man have I not wanted to write much on this trip… But now that I’m sitting down to actually get my thoughts on this virtual paper I’m realizing how silly it was for me not to keep up. Now I have more work to do and I’ve kept all you incredible people wondering what sort of shenanigans Mickey and I have gotten into. Well sorry! Here it is, the end of our trip to London, with a follow up post of our time in Scotland.
Day 3 –
Where I left you with my second post we had been out on a pub crawl where we figured out the night bus system and were very pleased with ourselves. We happened to come into our hostel very late roughly 3:00 in the morning where both of us crashed into our separate beds and promptly couldn’t fall asleep… Rough! I pulled out my book and got some reading in until I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. Throughout the morning our various roommates got up and went about their lives slamming the door, blow drying their hair, and chatting up a storm. Needless to say Mickey and I have gotten very little uninterrupted sleep this trip but right around 3:00 pm Mickey woke me up because we couldn’t sleep the day light away.
We sure made a go of it but with our remaining few hours, we hopped on the tube and went to see the Portebello Garden market. Unfortunately we keep missing the markets themselves but the street was lined with tons of fascinating shops with general touristy trinkets and other just plain interesting things. We’d had such a good time on the first pub crawl that we figured we might as well hit it again. Let me tell you right now that central London is a completely different place on a Friday as opposed to any other night of the week. It was dang near impossible to get to the bar let alone a order a drink. In the states bartenders rely on tips to make most of their money so they are very quick about getting you your order and moving onto the next one. This is not the case in England (and Scotland) where you don’t have to tip unless the service is incredible. So there is almost zero hustle in their turnover of customers and on a Friday night in central London there are loads of them. Every bar we went to was still a good time but each were filled to the brim.
We happened to meet three people from Minneapolis at bar Soho and two of them are going to be in Barcelona when we are so, we are potentially going to meet up! We befriended the best tour guide in the business named Ed! Who worked 4 days and nights in a row and helped make each of our three pub crawls with him a blast by switching from his red work shirt at the end of his shift and continuing to show us around and get as he put it get “proper drunk.”
Day 4 –
This day we went to really the only place I felt like I had missed on my last time in London and that was the Tower of London. As a history guy I absolutely loved walking around listening to the different architecture bits and which king added which section. We walked through the Crown Jewels which Mickey thought were replicas because they had very little security around them… Until we exited the building and we saw a gigantic steel door! We had messaged our buddies Matt and Mike and found out at they were also going to be at the Tower that day as well but since they didn’t have phones we figured it would be impossible to find them in this massive castle, and of course as we are saying this, Mickey looks up and is like Matt???? So then we all hung out there taking a gander at all the cool swords and armor talking European history which Matt majored in.
After the Tower of London we had made plans with our new found friend Charlotte to see the “underground side of London” so we headed over to the dalston junction and shoreditch areas. Charlotte and her friend Lucy met up with us a brought us to this awesome hidden away street feast. Imagine taking about 60 of the best state fair food trucks and booths, cramming them into an area surrounded by those giant storage containers on huge ships, with some sweet alternative music being played, and bonfires crackling all around you, got that? Ok now make it wicked awesome and inexpensive and that’s what we did. I feel like I’ve gone bonkers because I didn’t take any photos… Sorry! Mickey and I had some jerk chicken that was absolutely delicious and tried out some English beer that Mickey liked and did not hit the spot for me (bitter). We then went to a place called the Passage where Lucy may have had a huge crush on the bartender so she’s known by name there because she’s there almost nightly. While the bartender had a nice head of hair I would go just for the drinks! Mickey ordered a whiskey sour which we both expected to be whiskey mixed with sour… Not the case at all. Instead what was presented to him was this foamy art in a glass that had some sort of cinnamon powder on top and believe me that may have been my favorite drink from the entire trip! This place was about really making something that would leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Then we moved on to a bar where Lucy’s work friends were meeting up for a going away party. The pub was called the Star of Bethal and it had that thump in the music that just about never changes and it was here that we had some of the most fun on the entire trip. We met a ton of English people and a few Australians where we discussed accents, opinions on Americans as a whole, and our opinions on their city. It was here that after displaying my antics on the dance floor I was challenged to my first dance off abroad. Mickey will back me up but I destroyed it! TJ 1 Australian guy 0. We had gone outside to cool off and a few people in our party grabbed a smoke and when we were done and I stepped back inside it was to a whole different kind of pub… One completely filled with glitter. Next thing I know I’m doused in glitter utterly confused and Mickey and Charlotte dip set back outside. Now I can’t be the only American that got glittered so I scooped up a couple handfuls and got Mickey real good for ditching me! All of the English people loved our accents and were trying to copy them and failing miserably so then they asked us to try and of course since we practice on the regular we sounded freaking incredible which made everyone laugh because we would rattle through English Scottish Australian and Irish in the same sentence.
At this point in the night I just about always am hankering for some food, and so we took off searching our hearts out for a kebab place. Lucky thing we had Charlotte because Mickey and I would be have been eternally lost. We found the kebab place and now my absolute favorite late night food has changed from Mesa pizza to kebabs with a side of chips(fries) and cheese. We then went back to charlottes for a chill session on the sweetest patio ever. We swapped stories until Charlotte finally kicked us out at about 5:30 am… What we didn’t realize was that the night busses shut down right around 6:00… So how we’d bussed back to shepherds bush each night was no longer an option. We ended up wandering around for a good hour finally finding the stop that would take us to our hostel. It was here, covered in glitter, that we watched the sun rise in the Piccadilly Circus.
Day 5 –
As we arrived when some of our roommates were waking up we once again slept the majority of the day away. We’d made plans with Matt and Mike to meet up again at the pub crawl so we went over there for an early dinner/lunch/breakfast where we had one of the better plates of nachos I’ve ever had and once again ordered… You guessed it fish and chips along with sausage and mash. It was absolutely delectable. When we were done we had some more time to kill before the crawl so we walked around the Covent Garden Market looking at all their wares as they closed up shop and then we listened to a street musician/guitarist who was absolutely fantastic. He wrote his own music and had a lovely voice and a decently large crowd sitting and listening to him play. Mickey got a (as Charlotte would say) fab cappuccino at what appears to be a very popular coffee joint in England called Cafè Nero. We then rolled over to Belushis to crawl again. I’m not going to go into this much but I did have a drink called a Wham Jam Thank You Mam made with southern comfort cherry, luxardo amaretto, cranberry juice, and RASBERRY JAM! It was absolutely delicious and if it hadn’t run me £7.50 that would have been all I’d had. But basically it was another fun night out on the town. I did however get pulled into a breakdancing battle by our tour guide Ed who wanted to see me bust a move. I’m not sure I won but loads of people from the club came and asked what a big white guy from the states is doing crushing it on the dance floor.
Day 6 –
Basically today was rather relaxed on the London side of things. Mickey and I woke up early to check out of our hostel and then packed up our belongings to catch our train to Edinburgh, Scotland at 9:30. The train ride was pretty cool and it was a nice way to catch a bit of the London countryside. Five hours later we were stepping out onto the soil of Scotland. In my next post I’ll tell you about our entire time there and what made it Mickey’s absolute favorite place on our trip and why I mildly disagree with him.