London, UK - bottoms up mate, cheers, oi.

Back in June, I spent a whirlwind weekend with Sara in her adopted home of London, just a few weeks before she was about to leave to start a new chapter in a whole different part of the world. We scoured her London bucket list to see what we could tick off and hit the ground running.


London: full of horses' asses.

We accidentally stumbled into front-row seats for the changing of the guard. All right, then.

All the charming painted doors, please.

Schoolgirls eating bagged lunches on the steps of the church.

Took a sack of sandwich fixings and Champagne (natch) to picnic in Kensington Gardens/ Hyde Park / Regent's Park (Sara, which one was this again?).

A little barefoot romp through one of the Royal Gardens (ahem) before popping the bubbly.

Because it was 120' outside, we found ourselves dreaming of ice cream and igloos.

And instead settled for a dip.


Presented without comment: the Fishcotheque fish & chips shop. OK, one comment: best name of all time.

 British grocery shopping.

 British window peeping.

 British tea collection admiring.

And, of course, British book reading. Chock full of a million tomes, I picked the best one:

I read the whole thing. Major takeaway: Leonardo DiCaprio is fluent in German.

The next morning we donned our hippie finest for a huge concert in Hyde Park.


We queued behind two other couples to have our picture taken with the cops and their amazing hats. When we apologized for taking up their time, the cheeky one leaning in to Sara remarked, "Oh, we could do this all day. Much better than actual police work."

Then it was time to pop bubbly, of course. (It is always time to pop bubbly.)

Two bottles in, we made our way to the main stage to see -- along with 65,000 other people -- Taylor Swift. We saw maybe three other acts before her, but I am a dinosaur, and have no idea who they were. Actually, one was Ellie Goulding, who I thought was the same person as Kylie Minogue, and let me tell you, reader, she's not.

It looked like this:

That moment when you sneak champagne and bagged sandwiches into a concert by talking to the security guard so intensely about bananas that he forgets to inspect the bags you are carrying.

As the girl who took a PB&J to lunch every damn day while ALL of my friends got to buy hot lunch from the cafeteria, I know my mom is reading this proudly right now.

We took a ferry up to Greenwich to have another picnic lunch on the University grounds.

And then, as the sun was beginning to set, we strapped on gear and set to climb the O2 arena, as one does.

The promotional literature is littered with folks climbing while wearing an astronaut-looking suit, and I was extremely pumped about this, but because it was 190' outside, we just wore harnesses.

Years ago I went on a sailing trip with Sara and her parents and thoroughly embarrassed her dad by wearing a lifejacket literally the entire time. And also a foam pirate's hat.

So my only critical remark for the folks running this show: more ridiculous outfits in the summer, pls.

Breathtaking views at golden hour.

And then, to get back to our part of town, we took a cable car. Turned out to be pretty breath-taking on its own; definitely more so than the tube, at least.

And there's the O2 arena, which we'd just summited.

A million items crossed off Sara's bucket list, I left early the next morning on one of those two-decker red buses, dreaming of Fishcotheque.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you to Sara, and to all the lovely British chaps who were endless with their "cheers", for making it a very memorable trip.

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