“Wingardium Leviosa, Wingardium Leviosa…Wingardium Leviooosa…” I turned around and there were 2 adorable little boys practicing their Harry Potter spell with what looked like brand new wands. Nothing defines a childhood more than all the things that can be imagined; nothing defines adulthood more than all the things you never imagined would actually happen. The night we returned from Paris, we had dinner at a small franchise called Gregg’s. I never expected to live a day in which I would have lunch in Paris and dinner in London. I love when Life gets playful with you.
We dragged our consumed yet content bodies to the flat where we got all our luggage and walked about 15 minutes to the hostel. My friend’s family was returning from their trip; they were moving to another flat while I was there. Just fyi on London flats: You cannot imagine anything bigger than a skinny monkey living there, but at the end of the day can be quite cozy. Fyi on hostels: I believe all of them look sketchy the first hour you’re there…It’s kind of like when you turn off the lights, and need to wait a little for your vision to adjust, allowing you to see the furniture and layout of the place well enough that you can walk around with caution. We stayed in yha at Earl’s Court. Because this time I was traveling with a local, I didn’t really get the full hostel experience that a backpack traveler might get, but here is what I can offer you: their breakfast is simple, but nice. It has very cozy, colorful lounges, and I did see a handful of tours to other cities, and discounts to theater shows. The room we stayed in was something tinier than tiny, but painted a cheerful lime green. The beds are pretty comfortable, though they never changed the sheets while we were there. I noticed they seemed to clean the bathrooms every morning, which was a relief because you do share them with the entire floor. They have a kitchen where many people cook dinner in, and the loviest part was the garden. The bus stop is at a 2 minute walking distance, and the underground cannot be more than a 5 minute walk away.
Earl’s Court was so delightful and low key. It was the perfect place to chill after our all energy consuming trip to Paris, and to recover from lack of sleep. My best friend introduced me to Costa, which is the British version of Starbucks (though they do have Starbucks in London…in case you wanted to know). But in all truth…Costa wins. We are both lactose intolerant, and being coffee drinkers, lattes are not always done right with soymilk. Well, let me tell you, Costa got it right, baby. I was blessed with their hazelnut soy latte, their caramel soy latte, AND their cinnamon soy latte…all on the same cheerful day. Not only that, but I found that most coffee places in London serve their drinks with impeccable presentation, and beautiful mugs.
In the afternoon, we spent a few hours in the hostel garden drinking peppermint tea (I was still fighting that cold), doing our nails, and reading more of that Chelsea Handler book, “Are you there, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea.” That’s where we saw the two cutie pies practicing Wingardium Leviosa with the concentration of Hermione and the failure of Ron. Harry Potter references are happening everywhere in this town.
At night, we walked over to a place called Byron. It is SO fantastic, we ended up having dinner there twice. I am not a burger lover but their burgers are really, really, phenomenal. May I also suggest you order yourself a side of onion rings…If I cannot convince you, then maybe the picture will…
What I found most interesting about Byron is that it is both a perfect family dinner place, and a perfect friends and cocktails place. The waiters were fun and chatty, mistaking us as sisters! Everything here is so eclectic, including the waiters without uniforms. They come to work in the most casual American attire, which I assume to be their interpretation of American culture.
We spent an incredible day doing absolutely nothing. But to me, having the luxury of spending a lazy Sunday alone with my very best friend since high school whom I had not seen in two long years was…absolutely everything.
“Stories are people. I’m a story, you’re a story…your father is a story. Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we’re lucky, our stories join into one, and for a while, we’re less alone.” – Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins .