As if dreaming to visit, live and work in London wasn’t enough, I also dreamt of being in London and traveling Europe with my family. Last month, my cousin Kat and I went to Edinburgh, Scotland together, and this past week, two more cousins and their parents came to visit me after going to Paris and Rome. They arrived here Monday and stayed a week, except for Kat who left Wednesday. I spent most nights at their place for optimal bonding time. Kat had been to London before, but there was a lot she had not seen. The rest of the family were total newcomers, so I gave them the touristy tour and the local tour.
Tuesday was Kat’s last real day, so after work we all walked to Tower Bridge to get a cute group cousin pic. Then tacky tourist photos ensued.
On Wednesday, I helped Kat carry her massive suitcase to the platform that would get her to Heathrow Airport. While I was at work and Kat was sadly leaving back to the States, the fam hit up the best fish and chips at Fish! in Borough Market then caught a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour. Thursday was a continuation of the touring for the fam, but they got off at the big stops this time and watched the changing of the guard. They also did a boat tour, all while I was working all day and going to class/studying/finishing a 3,000-word essay at night.
Friday morning I went to my last class of the summer and met up with the fam at nearby Notting Hill Gate. We had brunch at Le Pain and then braved the rain so that I could show them Portobello Market. As we were brunching forever and it was absolutely chucking it down (British phrase I’ve just learned), most of the market was put away or closing up for the day, so I decided to give them the tour I received from my British culture professor a few weeks before. We began by looking for the house where Jimi Hendrix died, then I showed them the Notting Hill bookshop from the film. Across the street was Mike’s Cafe with cute seating so I had to take a quick snap. Then we headed to the Tabernacle and I told them about Pink Floyd and Mick Jagger’s presence in the area. Afterwards we walked through Hyde Park to Harrods, which was overwhelming thanks to the amount of people, but underwhelming in terms of what it has to offer (unless you can actually shop there, it isn’t fun). We walked through the art gallery before we headed to Da Mario’s for pizza. This was one of Princess Diana’s favorite spots.
Saturday was a bit more touristy as we headed out to Abbey Road. That took a while, and then we spent some time writing on the wall of the fence to the Abbey Road Studios. Afterward we walked through Regent’s Park which is stunning. Sunday was pretty relaxed; we just had some tea and pastries at Le Pain, shopped for souveys and grabbed lunch at my favorite pub, the Prince Albert. The fam then left me for the airport and flew out Monday morning. Being a tour guide is fun because you’re able to re-visit your favorite spots and you can join your family in experiencing new things together.