Today I bring you the third and final recap of my Spring Break 2017 travels, featuring London and Oxford. I initially just planned to go to Portland for a few days but then I got word that I’d been selected to present at a conference at Oxford. Naturally, I had to go for it. So I planned my trip to England and then decided to swing by Lisbon beforehand.
On Sunday morning I headed out from Lisbon to London. After training from Heathrow to Paddington Station, I made my way to Bromley, where I was staying with some friends of a friend. After getting settled, I turned right around and caught the fast train from Bromley into London proper to hang out with my friend Matt.
Matt and I met while I was visiting Mexico City last fall. Although, I had visited London about 6 years ago when I was studying abroad, I didn’t really get a great feel for it. Matt grew up in East London so I was excited to explore the city with him and hopefully, get a better sense of the different neighborhoods and cultures.
The first stop on Sunday night was Camden. Apparently this is where Amy Winehouse grew up. 🙂 This neighborhood offered me a bit of urban grit that I hadn’t necessarily seen in other parts of London. It was extremely vibrant, especially considering that it was a rainy Sunday night.
After walking through the streets of Camden for a bit, we hopped on the Tube and went to Angel where we had dinner at Masala Zone. I promise the food was much better than the name of the restaurant might lead you to believe.
After dinner, I made the trek back to Bromley to catch some zzzz’s before my big commute out to Oxford the next morning.
The trip from Bromley to Oxford took a little under 2.5 hours so I left around 630AM in order to make it in time for the start of the conference. It was a bit cold and rainy, but I found Oxford to be really charming.
When the conference ended in the late afternoon, I headed back to London and grabbed a yoga class at The Power Yoga Company before meeting up with Matt. This evening we had dinner in Chinatown. Matt had never had sushi before so… we had to make that happen. I honestly don’t remember the name of the place where we at but I think we were both generally pleased with the quality of the meal. After dinner, we went to Jamboree for a little live music. 😀 😀 😀
On Day 2, I decided to spend the day in Bromley, getting some work done. I found a gym that let me drop in for 5pounds so I went and got a quick workout in. I came back and had lunch, and then posted up at the dining room table and did work. I had dinner with my lovely hosts, Lisa and Richard, and we chatted about our favorite podcasts and the chaos of London commuting.
The next day I was scheduled to present at the conference so I headed out even earlier than I had on Monday so that I could get an earlier train out to Oxford. My presentation went wonderfully. The other participants at the conference were engaged and offered some great feedback on my topic. After the presentations finished up, I stuck around Oxford to mingle for a bit and then I went on the hunt … for chocolate.
I wound up at Wicked Chocolate, one of Oxford’s local chocolatiers. The owner of the store was such a fun guy. He knew so much about each brand that they carried in the store. I grabbed some thank you chocolates for Lisa, Richard, and Matt, as well as some little bits for myself, and then made my way to Paddington Station to get my train back into London.
Once back in London, I shared some Michelin star Indian cuisine with this one.
After lunch, Liz headed off to Madrid and I met up with Matt for my final night in the city. Wednesday night’s neighborhood was Brixton. Of all the neighborhoods that I visited, I would have to say that Brixton felt the most homey to me. It gave me some small sense of familiarity though I had never been. There were so many great food options. We decided upon Lebanese.
After dinner, Matt and I went across the street to see an “alternative” comedy show. At first we didn’t know what they meant by “alternative” comedy but we soon found out. The comedian was funny but he was certainly aiming to push the boundaries of stand-up. The show got progressively weirder and weirder. It culminated with the comic standing in nothing but his underwear with a face drawn in lipstick on his torso. Post-laugh, we walked over to a blues club called Hootnanny, where there was a live band. This was the perfect way to spend my last night in London. The vibe was super laid back. You got the feel that most of the people there were locals who frequented this place. The band played for about 45 minutes, just enough time for Matt and I to do a two-step or three.
Then it was back to Bromley and get in a few hours before getting up for my 10-hour flight back to LA (during which I ate this entire bar of chocolate).
It was a whirlwind but I’m so glad that I did it. Now to get back into the groove of the semester.