London, England

When planning my Europe trip with my friends, we only had a week to explore London and Paris.  My girlfriend Kim had never been out of the ocountry before, so I wanted to be sure this trip was perfect for her first experience.  I had never been to London before, so I had no idea what to expect.  Since Paris will forever hold my heart, I was a bit selfish and requested we stay in London only a few day and the rest in Paris.  Now looking back, I wish we had more than just a week because London is pretty amazing.  Obviously, 2 days wasn’t enough to explore everything, but we walked more than I ever have in my entire life, (27,000+ steps in one day, insanity!). From dinner at the Coppa Club, to a couple gin martinis at Dukes, to museum hoping throughout the day, to pub crawling in between each museum or historical landmark, and restaurant, to eating the best Indian food at Dishoom, and after partying with friends until 5am… I would say London was a complete success. 


Coppa Club
Honestly, I found a photo of this place on Pinterest and the entire group agreed we had to have dinner out here.  It's these cute little igloos facing the Tower Bridge.  When making the reservation for the outside dinning, you've only got access to the igloos for 2 hours.  Looking at it seems so short, but once you're there in those little tiny igloos, you just wan to get out as quick as you can.  Its adorable and fun to experience, but you've got 2 other little tables in each hut and its just a bit too crowded.  Plus, a bit awkward to get in and out of.  It's a picture perfect experience, and delicious food, but just a hype.  Definitely check out Coppa Club for dinner one night, but don't be upset if you don't sit outside.  


Dukes
My friend knew about this bar and didn't really give me a hint as to what to expect when we get there other than, "this is apparently the best matinee".  Not going to say no to that, and so thankful I didn't!  The second we walked in, I instantly knew I was underdressed and in the wrong era.  If only I had lived in the era of Bond, James Bond.  He would be the man sitting at this bar acting all mysterious, as he drinks a martini- Shaken, not stirred.   These were not your ordinary martini.  The man comes with a cart and makes your drink there at your table.  With such elegance he hardly splashed the glass with dry vermouth, then grabs a perfectly chilled bottle of some smooth gin, and pours you the most delicious martini you'll ever drink.  Mind you they are dangerously delicious and we could't just have one.  


English Breakfast and Pub Crawling
Something I'm good at and loving doing.... eating and drinking!  Truthfully I was nervous about the food experience in London because I've been told English food isn't the best.  My buddy knew of this awesome place, Terry's Cafe, for a proper English Breakfast, so I can officially cross that off my list.  I knew I would be cheating on my diet, but I was so happy to see that there was a vegetarian option for the proper English breakfast.  Let me tell you, I almost ordered a second it was so delicious.  So, I guess you could argue that I didn't really have a "proper" English breakfast because it was veggie, but shut up it counts. Another thing I had heard about the English is that they drink warm beer.  No thank you.  I like my beer cold, not room temperature.  I honestly must have been drunk or just exhausted from walking everywhere because I can't remember if the beers I got were warm or not.  I will say that the gin & tonics went down like water out there.  Fever Tree is the absolute best tonic and ginger beer, and this brand was EVERYWHERE!  Trust me when I say, order yourself a few rounds of gin & tonics, you'll be having yourself a fancy night.  
 


Museums
So many free museums in London to explore- its unbelievable.  I think everything we went too was free to enter and had plenty to inspire you.  We started our day at The Courtauld Institute of Art, so Austin could see his lady in Edouard Manet paintings, "A Bar at the Folies-Bergere".  This is one of his favorite paintings, considering he has a massive replica of it displayed in his kitchen back at home.  It only felt right to see her first thing on our longest day out in London, great way to start the adventures.  We walked from there, to food, to more museums, to a few different bars, and then to Tate Modern.  The exterior reminders me of the DeYoung, but the art is similar to SOMA in San Francisco.  Pretty funky museum, I respect modern art, but it's not my personal favorite.  BUT THEY HAD A ROOM WITH NEON LIGHTS!  I am obsessed with them and I've been doing a little neon light series on my instagram.  There was also a room dedicated to Mark Rothko and I feel for his work.  You can see his emotions with his colors and brushstrokes, so powerful and moving.  I don't know how to describe this one room other than, WTF?!  It was a desert landscape with these mutated rats and mice with a dark demonic display.  No idea what the meaning or movement is behind this piece, but I've never walked in and out of a room so quickly.  It was a little too creepy for me, and I love scary movies! Finally, we walked our way down the street to see the Shakespeare theatre, sadly not the originally considering it had burnt down in 1613.  Nonetheless, beautiful to see and walk on the same stones he once did.  So inspiring! 


Dishoom
Apparently Indian food is the new delicacy of English, and Dishoom definitely proves it.  Hands down, the best Indian food I have ever had.  Drooling as I write this and relive each dish.  Honestly, we were just told by change to check out this place and go early enough because there is a line.  This isn't any line, it's like the lines at Disneyland.  We walked past one our first night and realized we needed to get there early enough before heading to Paris.  We tracked from our Airbnb to this restaurant with our suitcases, then waited in line outside while it was snowing.  Let me tell you, worth the adventure and frozen fingers for this restaurant.   Once I posted our dishes to instagram, instantly people were telling me we had hit the jackpot for best Indian food in London.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DISHOOM!! 


Photography