Since having arrived late Monday night, an obscene flurry of activity has been in occurrence. But, while I may not have kept a daily log of my activities, I have been seeing lots of sights and having a jolly good time here “across the pond”. I was so lucky to have a dear friend staying in London while finishing her masters so my accommodation was free (thank you Kyra!). Also, because we are both a couple of Yanks on a budget, we split many of our meals and often prepared one or two lighter snacks at home. Therefore, my spending for the week was quite minimal. Not to mention most of the best museums are free! Way to go London!
However, when traveling, budget or not, you do have to have the occasional splurge for the things you know you will never have the opportunity to do again. In this case, that was high tea.
Some people choose to spend their money on the London Eye or the Tower of London, but for me it’s always about food. Nine times out of ten you can bet that if I’m going to break the bank for anything I’ll be doing it with a full belly! And a proper English tea time was no exception. Luckily for me, my thrifty friend found us a voucher for a petite little cafe chain (Patisserie Valerie) that was currently running a deal. For just £10 each, we were able to enjoy all the luxury of afternoon tea without the unforgiving bottom line. Just for perspective, high tea at Harrod’s is £30…per person! So let’s hear it for Kyra!
With our coupon, we got a pot of tea each (I chose red berry upon the recommendation of our new waiter friend Carlos, and Kyra picked earl grey), five cute little tea sandwiches in different varieties, and a selection of small tea cakes. I had my doubts about this seemingly small bit of food satisfying my hunger for the rest of the evening, but they quickly vanished as I wolfed down my first few bites.
By the time we reached the dregs of our teapots, we still had a plateful of cakes that were just not going to happen; our bellies were bursting! Luckily for us, our new friends at Patisserie Valerie (Carlos and Ruben) were kind enough to box them up so we could enjoy them later that evening.
I was more than pleased with this budget “linner” and felt completely satiated as I waddled out the door. Ten pounds well spent (and most likely gained)!
To walk off our food babies, we decided to venture out towards Buckingham Palace for a few snapshots of this royally posh accommodation. After having a lot of fun taking selfies and practicing our best 2-in-1 panoramas we realized that we weren’t far from Embankment pier where all the top sights are located.
Still feeling the effects of our delicious meal out, we figured it was best to keep on trekking about London and seeing all that we could see. We walked along the streets of central London, over the Waterloo Bridge and took shameless selfies with all the iconic landmarks (ie. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, ubiquitous red telephone booths, etc).
Finally, feeling the exhaustion of all we had accomplished, we caught the double decker bus back to Brixton and enjoyed the view from the top.
It was a glorious introduction to one of the worlds greatest cities and I looked forward to the days and adventures to come!