Luckily I had some amazing friends to hang out with on Friday, since I was flying solo. I worked from Google's London office on Friday and then went to a company happy hour with my friend, Rob. Afterwards, I met my friends, Gina and Regi, in SoHo, where we hit up a few pubs. The weather was amazing, so SoHo was bustling with people. We had a blast!
On Saturday we spent the morning at Portobello Market, which is an outdoor antiques market and farmer's market. We had lunch from street vendors - empanadas and Cuban sandwiches - yum! London is such an international city, so you can get amazing cuisine ranging from Thai to Indian to Italian. After the market, we took the tube to Covent Garden, where we did a bit of shopping and then stopped for afternoon tea/coffee/cake at this cute little shop.
On Saturday Night we went to a pub called The Hillgate, at my British friend Gemma's suggestion. We had pints (Stella for me!), fish & chips, and sausage rolls. We watched the Germany vs. Ghana World Cup game and just had an all around European evening. :) Afterwards we went to a cute bar called Prince Albert's to watch the 2nd match of the night.
On Sunday we went for a run through Hyde Park (London's version of Central Park in NYC or Golden Gate Park in SF), which was really close to our hotel in Notting Hill. Check out our selfie fail at Kensington Palace - too sunny! My favorite part of Hyde Park was the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens and this gorgeous pond.
We showered and then took the Tube to Shoreditch, which felt sort of like London's version of the Mission in SF or Brooklyn in NYC. It's a super vibrant neighborhood on the East side, with tons of young people. We stopped at Paper & Cup, which has amazing coffee and lattes. After spending the morning in Shoreditch, we went by Tube to Camden Town, which is a funky/alternative neighborhood in the Northern part of London. There is a market on the weekends, but it was super crowded. If you can visit Camden on a weekday instead, I think it'd be more enjoyable! Portobello Market is crowded, but they close down the street so there is a lot more room to walk. Camden has tiny sidewalks with a lot of people crammed in. Not for the claustrophobic at heart. :)
Sunday night we went to Pizza East on Portobello Road, which was hands down our favorite meal of the trip. It was one of those places where every single thing sounded good. We ultimately settled on sharing a green olive and almond appetizer (so good!), a butter lettuce and avocado salad, proscuitto and pea croquettes, and an amazing pesto, sundries tomato, artichoke, and basil pizza. I highly recommend hitting this place up if you're near one of the locations.
We couldn't leave London without doing a bit of sightseeing. We managed to squeeze in a trip to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Parliament/Big Ben, and we took a ride on a double decker bus. Mostly, we just loved wandering the neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and enjoying the culture. We kept saying over and over "we could totally live here!" but then again, the weather was great during our trip. Not sure how I'd feel after a month of clouds and rain. ;)