Going to London has always been a dream of mine. I can’t exactly remember when my fascination with the Brits started, nor why it even began, all I know is that as a tiny Puerto Rican I knew that the far away land steeped in history, with its castles, royals and epic adventure stories, was the place for me. It’s a strange fascination, considering I’m a Puerto Rican gal who grew up in NYC, undeniably the greatest city in the world, surrounded by all different types of people.
Even now, as a 27 year old woman, I’m still perplexed by my attraction to all things English. Maybe it was that episode of FRIENDS where Joey kept saying “We’re going to London, baby!” and once there, proceeded to step into his map to find his way through the city. Maybe it’s all the neat accents! Or could it be that I secretly long for my own Mr. Darcy? Whatever it is, whatever caused this anglophilia to seep its way into my core, (is Anglophilia even a word?), wanting to go there has always been the dream. Believing I’d go there, well that was an entirely different story.
See, things don’t usually happen to me, or rather for me. I’m the person who has plans and dreams and they don’t exactly work out. Not for lack of trying, but simply because the powers that be have other ideas. So, again, I reiterate, going to London was the dream, but to be honest, I never really believed it would happen.
Luckily life has this habit, albeit at times annoying, of surprising you. Think about it, all the juicy stuff, the real meat of life, whether good or bad, happens in an instant and when you least expect it. It truly does turn on a dime. One minute you’re calculating how much you spent on Christmas gifts and thinking to yourself “I’ll be broke forever,” and then the next you’re booking an almost $900 flight to England because you and your best friend are thinking “Why the heck not?”
And that’s really, honest to God, how it happened. We, on a whim, decided we were going to go. We were going to make it happen. We had enough time to plan and save. We could do this. We could make the dream come true.
And make it happen we did.
We were incredibly fortunate that the best friend has a friend who lives in London—not only London but the poshest area, Chelsea, where celebrity run-ins are a real possibility (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were spotted having dinner across the street while we were there), and you’re rubbing up side-by-side with the rich folk (Millionaires galore)! We crashed at her pad for eight glorious days/nights, where we took in London’s history, traveled through town, met the people and devoured the food—which was surprisingly tasty! We also took a couple of side trips—the first to the Cotswolds to take in “the real England” and the second to Paris, where we inhaled mountains of croissants, macaroons, chocolate, coffee and wine.
Its been a few days since we returned from our trip across the pond and I’m still trying to compute it all. My brain took in so much information, my eyes absorbed so much beauty and my tiny heart filled with so much joy, that it may take months for the high to wear off. Hopefully the weight gain won’t take as long!
Instead of making a ridiculously long entry, I thought I’d recount the trip in a series I like to call “The Traveling Puerto Rican.” In it I’ll give you a taste of what my trip to London, the Cotswolds and Paris was like.
So check back soon for the first few post in the series, including “In search of Sherlock,” where I look for Speedy’s, Cumberbatch and take a walk down the infamous Baker Street.