My father was cool as a button when my fiancé (and now husband) asked him if I could join my fiancé and his friends on a small vacation. Not just any ‘small’ vacation; a month long trip to Europe, covering four different countries and it was all during christmas and new year. This was so well planned; we were newly engaged, this was the second time my folks were meeting him (we were on a long distance thing) and it was already August and I still hadn’t started on the thesis that was due in January. An Indian father like mine who has always been slightly obsessed with his only daughter agreed to buy me the flight tickets and gave his blessings. I can swear this in my stomach felt the same as and when I told my father about the existence of my boyfriend who is now my loving husband.
I will be honest and tell you that I was in no way involved in planning this trip. A new job, pending thesis and planning a wedding kept me busy. But planning one of the best and the most memorable trips of my life was a piece of cake for my husband and his friends. This trip made us realise how important it is to journey with the right travel companion and how underrated Europe winter is.
The day we arrived, I was so badly wishing and secretly singing “let there be snow” on the Christmas day in London; this, thanks to all the expectations bestowed upon us by an entire week of Christmas movies during school holidays. Thankfully, that did not happen and you will know why later in this story (or just skip to ‘Christmas Day’). Given only four sweet days in London we did a lot of indoor drinking, some outdoor drinking (given the freezing temperature) and a mad amount of shopping which in my defence; I did not carry sufficient winter wear and I have a thing for ugly christmas sweaters.
THINGS TO DO IN LONDON DURING CHRISTMAS
Last minute Christmas shopping is evidently a thing here, Oxford street was swarming with shoppers with pending lists. Streets were lit up with christmas decor, every bar and shop window had the similar theme of red, white and green. Camden Lock Market on the other hand is every flea lovers dream. The vibe there is just refreshing after touring the main city; a vibrant part of London with bars, vintage shops, wall murals, food markets, the canal, music venue, etc. The exotic boutiques are literally out of this world with vintage everything.
Winter wonderland set up on Hyde Park was truly one heck of a Christmas ‘all up on your face’ experience amidst the city, but a rather expensive one at that; food, trinket shops, rides, games and other facilities were all payable and pricey. But none the less, the festive ambience, the delicious aroma from the food stalls and the fact it was the holidays kept everyone visibly cheery. The food stalls were serving away an array or christmas and european goodies. At the park we were so cold, we enjoyed a couple of mulled red wines to warm us which hit the spot so right away that the fact that the place was incredibly crowded, did not bother us for the next couple of hours. Special shout out to the deliciously warm, cinnamon sugared churros with Nutella and the hot chocolate there while waiting for the rides. One thing that I have learnt from travelling or living in countries that have intense winter, food is ten times more enjoyable during the season and I pack on at least 10 kilos of body weight just in time for the ‘bare it all’ summer. The very reason I hoard clothes, they fit one season and then they don’t, it’s better than throwing or donating them. Being a foodie traveller like myself and my husband, you cannot live with yourself if you haven’t tried every thing food related that place has to offer, on repeat!
Started with posing with Big Ben on the background to being back at posing with lit up Big Ben in the evening. On the way we hopped into a couple of the iconic red telephone booths and admired the city from the London Eye. Experienced the London Dungeon which isn’t scary at all even for a timid cat like myself. I had already visited the Madame Tussauds wax museum with friends on my very first trip to London, so we gave that a miss. We then splurged on some fish and chips with beer by the river and headed to check out the tower bridge; the walk to which was amazing with quaint little cafes and bars on one side and into the little alleyways all running along the bank of the river Thames. Later in the evening we checked out the trafalgar square, the majestic Buckingham palace and called it a night. Luckily for us, it was a good day with the weather cooperating (it rained a lot the day before) to go sight seeing and getting from one place to another was so extremely convenient because of the very well connected London Underground. We did Camden town on christmas eve. Stayed there almost the entire day and hopped around the place trying different bars, shopped a little and went slightly buzzed and extremely happy with our lives to oxford street. There we fulfilled our last dose of shopping, sank into the christmas vibe and got dinner before we left for another country, the day after christmas.
Call it our ignorance but we had no clue about how shut down London would be on the christmas day. Literally, no restaurant or cafe in sight was open and public transport was scarce. Being tourists the thought of having to stay stuck indoor for an entire day on christmas got us slightly edgy. But luckily for us in the afternoon we chanced upon (while attempting to freeze our arses off walking all the way to the main city) a rent a cycle spot right next to our accommodation and it turned out to be a fantastic day to go cycling with almost no people and rarely any cars on the road. We went cycling around the neighbourhood, stopped at a park to see the beautiful sunset across the river and got our dose of take away food and hard drinks from a nearby supermarket for the night. It was a christmas we did not plan but renting the cycles and touring the neighbourhood with friends definitely turned our day around. It was freezing that day, cycling kept us warm and at that moment I was thankful that my snow prayers weren’t answered.
Our four days of Christmas in London, making new friends, reliving UK winter and endless shopping in Primark was over and we headed to catch our flight to the next destination with our over weight baggage. Also, did I mention how nice it is when boys don’t go crazy shopping and their bags can be shared to fit our damages. Hope you enjoy the pictures below taken by the love of my life, while I was busy breaking into my new boots.
For more London reds you can read my post from when I visited London during my student days, HERE.
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