My Trip to London (4 Days!)


This is the story of how I spent 4 days in London and saw my best friend again.


I think I'm the unluckiest person on the planet when it comes to transportation. Buses, trains, planes even boats decide that if I plan to be aboard, there must be a delay. My Eurostar trip was no different. In my anxiety to get to London on time, I showed up 3 hours early to Paris Gare du Nord, where the train would depart from. This ended up being the best thing I could have done, as when I walked into the ticket office I was told all trains were operating on a 1.5 hour delay. In a panic, I asked the woman at the counter if I could move up my ticket to catch the next one departing in 30 minutes to try and arrive in London while the sun was still shining. 

Though usually a Eurostar change can cost big bucks, since I was using a voucher and the train was already so late, the woman at the counter took pity on me and changed my ticket for free. Not all heroes wear capes! I rushed into the line and followed the horde of people onto the platform. 

Despite feeling like I had bested the curse of late transportation, I actually ended up arriving a few minutes after my original 3pm train was expected in London. Running through London St. Pancras, I searched through the crowd and finally spotted my best friend, Amanda, waiting on the side. 

We ran to each other, about to have our magical moment of blissful reunion, when a woman with a pink suitcase and flip flops walked directly in between us. I almost crashed right into her and dug my sneakers into the floor, squeaking a bit as I stopped. 

The magic was broken, but we laughed, apologized, and linked arms as we walked.

My trip to London had begun. 

Anyone who has a best friend who lives far from them may have an experience like mine. As we walked through the station, I got re-acquainted with what it was like to have her physically beside me. She was as short as me, had the same twinkle in her eye as me, and gave me little looks and smiles as we headed into 'the tube'. It had been 2 years since we last met, so for a little while there was an air of readjustment, like I had to remember what it was like to talk with her face to face. 

As we walked to her student dorm, the awkwardness despelled into comfortable chit-chat. Amanda had a class scheduled for 5:30, so without delay, I was escorted to her small student room, given a homemade lunchbox, and sent her on her way. I sat alone on her grey comforter, looking around the room at various postcards, prints and artwork that she had taped up, and felt instantly at home.


The day started off grey, allowing me to experience the infamous London rainy weather, but as quickly as it had come, the sky became a light blue with wispy, empty clouds. We walked aimlessly around the city center, popping in and out of shops. 

Our agenda for this trip was simple: catch up on 2 years of photographs in 4 days. This was our routine, exploring cities together and taking hundreds of photos, of which we sifted through while laying in bed at the end of the day, side by side in her twin bed. 

We took this mission to heart, and I noted on the train ride back to Paris days later that we had accumulated over 900 photographs. 

I'm not a tourist-y kind of person, and neither is she, so a large amount of our trip was based less on seeing famous sites and more on eating the foods we loved. Back when we were together in Tokyo, Amanda worked at a really nice cafe in Takadanobaba. One of the items from that cafe that I remember the most were their matcha scones, I believe there's even a vlog of us eating one together. 

With this said, Amanda and I are both huge matcha fans and, coming from France, I was determined to eat this matcha cake she had been hyping up for a while. Amanda was excited too, as not many people around her seemed to be big fans of matcha, so it was her first time coming to this place as well.

It did not disappoint. We walked out of Kova Patisserie, located in Soho, with our stomachs full and our legs ready to walk off all the sugar we had just consumed. Without too much direction, we spent the whole day burning up our energy by walking around the city and talking.

We headed to Trafalgar Square with the sun shining brightly and a light wind blowing our hair. The weather in London was actually much cooler than I had expected, coming from Dijon which had recently gotten a massive heat wave. I didn't bring a jacket, so each morning I would ruffle through Amanda's closet trying to find one that matched my outfit and fret on whether I might get too hot during the day. However, there were times in the evening where I was genuinely cold!

London is an interesting place, it reminded me of a hybrid between New York and Paris. 

I saw a lot of Parisian style buildings in the center of London, with the signature 4 floors and iron wrought balconies outside of their large windows. Closer to her student dorm, I saw many small red brick style apartment buildings, reminding me of where my grandparents live in the Bronx. It's a very international city, with lots of languages being spoken around us. Similar to New York, I couldn't really tell who was from here or just visiting. 

Amanda's favorite place was Chinatown, where bright red lanterns hung over the streets. We walked past restaurants with pictures of roasted meats and noodles in their windows, hair salons advertising different styles of perm and bubble tea stalls shoved into the tiniest spot imaginable. It was this cool, tiny alternate world inside of the city. I could tell why she liked it so much just from being there for 5 minutes. 

We did a huge circle, coming back to Tower Bridge towards the end of our day. By this point, we were totally drained. We ended up walking 31,000 steps, and our legs were tingling from the hours of exercise. That night, we went to bed satisfied, both on our phones looking through photos until we decided we needed rest. 

But, after brushing our teeth and tucking into bed, we ended up as we always did: chatting for hours until we were whispering into the dark, eyes closed and gently falling asleep.


Day three was the warmest of them all, so we decided to head to a few parks: Kensington and Hyde Park. 

We went to Kensington Park first, taking photos with all the greenery. This pose below is actually a re-enactment of a photo we took a few years ago while in Hokkaido!

Original photo from Hokkaido, 2017:

With the weather being so lovely, we got some great photos. 

After working up an appetite, we went to go eat Korean food in New Malden. I had done a bit of research beforehand about where to find good Korean food in London, and many forums online had mentioned that New Malden had an area of town nicknamed 'Korea Town'. We hopped on the bus for around 45 minutes before arriving, stepping off the bus and into a tiny, inconspicuous town. 

I think Amanda and I hyped it up a bit too much. 

'Korea Town' was really just one long street full of Korean restaurants, charity shops and a few speciality supermarkets. We got there at around 5:30pm, and every single charity shop was closed, despite many having signs displaying their hours as "10-7". I pushed my face up against the glass and looked at the array of cheap, cute clothes and felt my heart sink. No thrifting for me today. 

Within 15 minutes, we had seen everything. However, before we arrived, we found a Korean restaurant with good reviews and we were determined to eat there. The reviews mentioned it was hidden in the back of a supermarket, and they did not lie! We pushed open a small wooden door to reveal a cozy, dark restaurant with a smiling man at the register.

We had a wonderful time and ate our favorite food: kimchi. We had kimchi pancakes, kimchi fried rice and kimchi soup. It was one of the best meals I had in London, and it wasn't even really in London! 

Day Four

This was my last full day in London, the fifth day was actually just reserved for travel, as I left in the afternoon. The fourth day was a lot slower paced, we mostly just spent some time walking in Greenwich Park and enjoying the warm weather. In my yellow knapsack I packed Amanda's camera, sketchbook and watercolor paints, some familiar sights from the days where I would sit on her bed and watch her sketch in her art journal after a long day. 

I laid in the grass, using my backpack as a pillow, and almost dozed off as Amanda sketched. After an hour or two, we packed up and walked around the local trails, taking photos and talking. We walked towards an open air market, and though I didn't intend to buy anything, I ended purchasing a really luxurious scented oil from a perfume seller, hence the tiny bag in the photo below.

Though my trip was short, I feel like I got a good feel for London. The weather was very kind to us, the food was good, and the gap of time between our last meeting seemed to fall away in minutes. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful friend who's only a train ride away.

For now, we aren't sure when we are going to meet up next. Amanda and I are always chasing something; working on this and that. What I do know is that we are definitely going to break our two year curse, so hopefully I'll be seeing her again very soon.

Thanks for reading!