England

London | UK

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If you’re living in the States and haven’t heard of Scott’s Cheap Flights, get on their email list. Now! They basically scan the internet for flash sales and mistake fares that you have to be prepared to purchase immediately. Thanks to SCF, we jumped on tickets to Europe for just over $300 round trip over MLK weekend. Felipe had never been to Europe and we were able to plan a day-long layover in London then two days in Barcelona. I haven’t tried anything so ambitious in a while and my near-thirty year old body didn’t quite bounce back from the time change like it used to but I’m so glad we went!

If you have 6+ hours, it’s definitely enough time to get into the city. Take the Heathrow Express into Paddington Station. Tickets are available online in advance or you can purchase with credit card at the station. We opted to walk after being on a plane overnight but if we were to go again in January, interior transport would definitely be on the agenda because it was COLD. We walked from Paddington Station to Buckingham Palace then to Westminster Abbey, over to Big Ben, up to the National Portrait Gallery, back towards Picadilly Circus, then back to Paddington.

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Side note: When did London get so crowded? The last time I visited was in December 2010. I don’t remember having such difficulty just walking down the street. Perhaps the crowds have increased. Perhaps all of the selfie snapping Instagrammers have increased sidewalk traffic jams. Regardless, it was cold and I was shocked to see the sidewalks so crowded!

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We missed the memo that Big Ben was/ will be covered in scaffolding until 2021. Take that into account if sightseeing is your thing. That was a big disappointment because Felipe has never seen it. Almost as much of a disappointment as the London Eye being closed on the day of our visit. But, what can you do?

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On the bright side, because of those detours, we ended up seeing more of the city than we originally intended!

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While planning this trip, I found my old blog from my last trip to Europe with Baylor in London for my teaching practicum. Want to see what I was before “The Traveling Teacher”? Check it out! Lauren’s in London 2010