A Return to London

Location: London, England

London is *sigh* a place that holds so many beautiful memories for me. For those of you new to me and my life, I spent nearly four years living in England (the majority of it in London itself) and London is a home away from home for me. I left almost two years ago after graduate school to begin my working career in America but left a big part of my soul in the U.K. After being for what seemed like eternity away from my friends there I booked a flight and spent two weeks of May in London and Wales.

I didn’t know what to expect when I landed and tried not to think about it in the weeks leading up to departure. Though the trip had emotional ups and downs what I realized immediately after landing was twofold: firstly that I immediately felt like I had never left and secondly, despite having just said I felt right at home, I felt very far from who I was two years previously. I realized as soon as I started walking down King’s Road that I had grown up and was seeing London through a different lens. And it was pretty amazing.

 

London is my favorite city because the energy is so contagious. There is so much history that lives alongside innovation and trend and I love discovering what is new and what has remained. My trip was segmented and I spent half of my trip in London and half in Cambridge and Wales (which I will share in upcoming posts).

This trip was focused on reconnecting with friends and most of my days were spent in cafes or parks with friends catching up on the latest in their lives. When I had the rare bit of free time I picked an area that I loved and wandered it pausing to take photos or browse shops. My friend Nikki has the most incredible taste in food and always knows the best cafes or markets to try. Two of my favorites that we tried were Kipferl, an Austrian cafe in Angel (you have to try the breakfast items) and Grind Coffee Bar in Putney. I adore London’s cafe and pub society and love how much slower the pace of life is once sitting down with friends.

 

As it was late May when I visited the trees and gardens were in full bloom. I got lucky and in large part was spared the usual gloom and rain of an English spring. While it was cooler when I first arrived by the end of my visit I no longer needed a jacket during the day.

I spent most of my time in the Kensington and Swiss Cottage areas and everywhere I went I was welcomed with a beautiful doorway or building. I used my new camera, a Sony Alpha A6000, throughout my trip and if you are looking for a very high quality yet compact camera for travel, this one is for you. I love it- compared to my bulkier DSLR this camera felt like it weighed almost nothing. I had so much fun snapping everything I saw and it was the easiest camera I’ve ever had to manipulate.

 

My favorite part of London to get lost in is Hampstead. It has such a wonderful village feel and I can almost hear Keats reciting poetry as I wander the cobbled streets. Remember that ending scene of Notting Hill where Hugh Grant wins back Julia? That is set at Hampstead Heath and it really is as whimsical as it seems in the film. I spent many afternoons wandering the high street and into the heath. I never tire of the vastness of it and the incredible citywide views.

 

I could go on and on about my love for London. It is a place that makes being alive so magical. Looking at these photos brings me right back to the feeling I had when I stepped foot back on British soil- that of pure excitement and familiarity.

I’m so thankful for the beautiful memories and friendships that I have created there. It is a place that I will visit for the rest of my life and never tire of- I can’t wait for my next trip already!