In Europe by Mallory23 Comments

I just finished the first leg of my journey in London with my British twin Miriam.* I thought she would be a great kickoff, since our friends would describe us the same way: annoyingly positive and bit nerdy.

Ten days in London was plenty to see all that it had to offer. Rather than cram 10 days worth of activities into one post, I’m giving you the highlight reel (you can thank me later).

My three favorite things about London:
1. Little kids with British accents, preferably riding scooters
2. Pizza Express, because who doesn’t want to drink wine while they eat pizza?!
3. London dinner parties, which are not to be mistaken as classy events

Just kidding… I did more than just stuff my face with pizza and drool over British kids.

Tourist Moments
On Saturday and Sunday, Miriam and I took off early to hit all of the tourist spots in London via Boris bikes. We saw Westminster Abbey, Parliament, The Royal Palace, Big Ben, the Queen’s watch, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, and St. James Park. Despite living in London, Mims is only slightly less of a tourist than I, so we let Google be our tour guide. ☺

Riding bikes in London

Here’s the one fun fact Miriam knew about the statue of Churchill: it is electrically charged so that birds can’t sit or poop on it. I seriously debated sticking around for a bit to watch a bird get electrocuted. If I saw a bird blow up on a statue, I think I could call my entire trip a success.

Big shout out to Renwick, Geordie and Angus who were kind enough to take me to the Shard, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge, and… Pizza Express. (SO GREAT.)

View of London

Blue Door at Notting Hill & The Portobello Market
One of the days Mims was at work, I took off on a mission to find the oldest coffee shop in the world and the blue door from the British film Notting Hill.

I wasn’t even sure if the door existed, but it sounded like a great chance to get wonderfully lost in London, which is exactly what happened. I stumbled upon the Portobello market in Notting Hill and wandered around for about an hour before I finally found the blue door. It does exist!

Blue door, Notting Hill, London

Oh, and on my way back to the tubes, I stumbled upon the old home of George Orwell. You probably read his book, 1984, in high school. ☺

As for the oldest coffee shop in London? Never made it. I misunderstood Mim’s directions and ended up in the middle of London thinking I was in Oxford. Major tourist fail. Yikes. Maybe next time?

London Dinner Parties
Brits love their dinner parties. In my short time, I attended four dinner parties with Miriam’s friends. It was a great chance to meet Mim’s friends and now I’m fully convinced that Brits & Scots are the most lovely people.
Here’s the recipe for a great dinner party:
1 great meal
10-15 friends
1 well thought out seating plan
Lots of wine & Pimms
Optional: Scots dancing around the kitchen with wedgies

Museum of London
I’m a history nerd, so this was my favorite spot in London. I made it a point to go alone so no one else had to watch me drool over the WWII exhibit…

The entire museum traces the history of London from when it was founded by the Romans (called Londonium at the time) to present. Right outside the exhibit was what was left of the London Wall. The London Wall was initially built as a defensive wall by the Romans around Londonium (the original city). It was abandoned when Roman rule of Britain ended and was left to crumble until the Anglo-Saxons were forced to retreat when the Vikings started attacking. The walls were rebuilt and London grew. During the Great Fire of London in 1666, almost all of the medieval City of London inside the wall was destroyed, but the wall still stood. It wasn’t until the Nazi Blitz of London in 1940 that much of the wall was destroyed.

London Wall

Okay, enough with the history lesson. I found this story interesting since I recently read a book that examined why the Nazi Blitz of London failed to demoralize Londoners as expected. Here’s what Malcolm Gladwell wrote:

“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all. Do you see the catastrophic error that the Germans made? They bombed London because they thought that the trauma associated with the Blitz would destroy the courage of the British people. In fact, it did the opposite. It created a city of remote misses, who were more courageous than they had ever been before. The Germans would have been better off not bombing London at all.”

The London Wall the protected the city for centuries fell, but London was left stronger? Londoners are tough.

The Best of British Vocab
Snogged/necked = To make out
Keen = (ex. are you keen to do something tonight?)
Dodgy = Shady
Tubes = The subway system
Glad rags = Nice clothes
You alright? = How are you? (used when you answer the phone)
Bloke = Guy
Bugger or Bollocks = Stand-alone expletive… similar to “Darnit”

*Funny story how I met Miriam: Miriam came to Columbia to work for her parent’s friends a couple of summers ago. Her host family, who knew many of my friends’ families, dropped her off with her new group of friends (us) much like a parent would drop off their child for the first time at school. First, we fell in love with her British accent. Then we fell in love with her (which really didn’t take long because she is an amazing human). She must have loved us back because she extended her trip one week to come to Colorado with us.

Transport for London

When all else fails… take the trolley.




  1. I have been dying to heat from you and how you are doing on your trip. Please keep on blogging as it lets us know all about your trip. Looks like your having a great time and learning so much!!!

    1. Author

      Not quite as good as “bitches” vs beaches and “poopy” vs puppy, but still entertaining. Miss you xoxo

  2. Love!!!!!! I can hear you telling this story. Great job, Mal. I miss you!! Be safe and enjoy this… The time of your life!!

    Hugs and kisses, my friend.

  3. My favorite British word: gobsmacked – to be surprised about something
    Great to read about your journey!

    1. Author

      Didn’t hear this one Lynda, but will keep that one in my back pocket. 🙂

  4. Reading your blog is going to be fun. I hope your Dad will keep sharing via FB, which is how I came across it. Thank you for allowing us to travel with you through your writing!

  5. Loving your posts, Mal! Living vicariously through you. 🙂

  6. Love reading and learning from your blog! I have been
    Waiting for it! London is my favorite place, but never
    had a trolly ride like yours! So baller!

  7. Mallory! It looks like you’ve had an awesome time so far – can you believe you’re only just getting started? Happy to hear you’re doing awesome things! 🙂

  8. So glad you’re having an amazing time! Keep these great post coming. 🙂

  9. Here is what your mom thinks of your blog post:

    1) We share the love of dinner parties.
    2) Ride the “trolley” as much as you want but make sure you aren’t accused of theft by the market to whom the cart belongs. The customs officials at the airport may want to send you back.
    3) I’m wondering if we can use the Churchill statue idea to modify the behavior of our backyard squirrels.
    4) I LOVE that you are having a great adventure like this!

    1. Author

      HAHAHA burst out laughing pictures the squirrels getting blown up in our backyard. I’m sure dad would be in favor of this idea. Make sure to send videos!!!!! hehehe

  10. It seems that we need to implement those fabulous british dinner parties here in Columbia 🙂 Enjoy your next adventure! XO

    1. Author

      Natalie – I am for sure bringing this tradition back to the US. It’s completely brilliant and way more classy than our usual Friday/Saturday nights. I’ll try to improve my cooking skills abroad so this idea has some more klout.

  11. Hi Mal, so good to hear from you! I love reading your blogs and travel along with you! You sure have seen a lot in the past ten days….. Keep having a good time and be safe…;)) Love you!!

  12. Love reading your blog! As much as I enjoy your Dad’s pics of squirrels he’s posting, I do prefer your castles. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!!! Stay safe on your journeys!! Love from the Bley Family

  13. Hey, one of my best friends lives in London. Let me know if you need anything…

  14. This was brilliant! I all of a sudden am much more excited for London than I had imagined before. I loved your bit about the German Blitz and what Malcom Gladwell wrote. Truly inspiring. I’m excited for your other posts. 🙂

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