Study Abroad No. 5| Playing Tour Guide for the Fam

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, Kat and I went to Edinburgh, Scotland together (post here) and this past week, Cristina and her fam came to visit me after going to Paris and Rome. They arrived here Monday, 20 July and stayed a week, except for Kat who left Wednesday, 22 July. I spent most nights at their place because it was more convenient for me to increase optimum bonding time that way. Kat had been to London before, but there was a lot she hadn’t seen and done because she mostly does Wimbledon stuff when she’s in town. The rest of the fam were total newbies so I gave them the touristy tour and the local tour.

Monday night was all about me giving them the best directions to their place, which was hard for me as I don’t know the London Wall/St. Paul’s area too well, but we managed and I did it all in time to catch the last tube back to my place.

Tuesday was Kat’s last real day, so they walked around while I was at work and then we met up for a cheeky Nando’s. Afterwards, we walked to Tower Bridge to get a cute group cousin pic. Then tacky tourist photos ensued.

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Skyline featuring City Hall and the Shard.

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Tacky Tourist selfie in front of Tower Bridge

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Tacky Tourist phone booth pic OBVS (ignore poor quality)

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The stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral.

On Wednesday, Kat and I left at the same time and I helped her carry her massive suitcase to the right platform that would get her to Heathrow airport. While I was at work and Kat was sadly leaving back to the US, the fam hit up the best fish and chips at Fish! in Borough Market then caught a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour. We met up for dinner that night.

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 3000-word essay at night.

Friday morning I went to my last class of the summer (YAAASSSS) and met up with the fam in nearby Notting Hill Gate. We had brunch at Le Pain and then braved the storm 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, but it was a respectful visit so totes not creepy in any way. Then I showed them the Notting Hill bookshop from the film with Hugh Grant. 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 Flloyd and Mick Jagger’s presence there and 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 actual interest in what it has to offer (unless you can actually shop there, it isn’t fun). We walked through the art gallery and I saw a Warholized version of my boy Mick before we headed to Da Mario’s for pizza. This was one of Princess Diana’s favorite spots.

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Braving the rain on Portobello Road with Cristina.

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Mike’s Cafe across the Notting Hill bookshop featured in the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant film.

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The Tabernacle where the likes of the Stones and Pink Flloyd have both practiced and performed.

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Andy Warhol’s Mick Jagger at Harrods.

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Da Mario’s Pizzeria

Saturday was a bit more touristy as we headed out to Abbey Road. It was a total shit show compared to last time I was there becuase it was lacking any order or queue system. People were going across the zebra crossing at the same time, from both sides, IN TRAFFIC. It was so annoying trying to get our pics, but we finally did it and got some that we’re pretty happy with. That took a while and then we spent some time writing on the wall of the fence to the Abbey Road Studios. We obvs left our Twitter and Instagram handle (@interestina, shameless plug) and a few clever messages involving some thank you’s and a clever combination of song titles. Afterwards we walked through Regents Park which is STUNNING. I would love it more than Hyde Park, but I’m so partial to having Hyde Park so near me. We then had dinner at another Italian place and headed home before going out to the Seahorse, which we went to the night before, too. It’s fun when you’re pretty buzzed and it’s packed, but it’s definitely a local spot attracting more of the over-30s. Sunday was pretty chilled and we just had some tea and pastries at Le Pain, shopped for souveys and grabbed lunch at my fave pub, the Prince Albert. The fam then left me for the airport and flew out Monday morning. Come back, guys! x sab.

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Cristina, Steven and I crossing Abbey Road.

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Tacky tourist selfie in front of Abbey Road Studios

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The graffiti on the fence to Abbey Road Studios.

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Fountain at the English Gardens in Regents Park.

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Display at the English Gardens in Regents Park.

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2 thoughts on “Study Abroad No. 5| Playing Tour Guide for the Fam

  1. Paul Ramos (Fam) says:

    Huge thanks and amazing visit with our Sab’s and personal tour of London. The sites, the food, the laughs, the time together and the memories created.

    Thank you!!

    Let’s do it again!

    Uncle Paul and Fam.

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