One day at work my boss comes up to me and asks if I want to join in a work trip to London to showcase our game and announcement trailer. (I had spent quite some time and effort putting the trailer together and trying to polish as much of the animation as I could, so he thought it would be nice that I got to see it while it at its world premier!) Even though I already had plans to go to Mexico AND Japan in the same month, the timing worked that I could do ALL THREE. So heck yea. I jumped on that!
The caveat was that I would only have around one full day of exploring the city. Still, I love traveling and I love engaging with fans, so it still sounded like an amazing opportunity!
So just one day after returning to Boston from Mexico for a wedding, I headed right back to the airport to jump 'across the pond', as they say.
By the way, here's that announcement trailer that I made, in case you missed it :)
Introducing Drake Hollow, the next game from The Molasses Flood.
Explore a blighted world with your friends. Gather supplies, battle savage creatures, and build villages to protect the local innocent vegetable folks known as Drakes.
Here's How I Spent My Limited London Time :
Day 1 : Afternoon + Evening
My "one day" spent sightseeing was actually broken up into two, half-day chunks. We arrived in the morning on a red eye, checked in at the hotel, and then I had the remainder of that day to explore, so from about noon onward.
First experience on "the tube" ? It's really convenient! But the cars are shockingly tiny! The roof is slanted so if you are slightly tall and not standing in the middle, you probably have to hunch over to not hit your head on the ceiling.
The things I wanted to check out most were the Tower Bridge (which initially I thought would be called the "London Bridge", but it's not that one!) and Big Ben. Other than that, I had to do some quick googling to find some scenic areas to walk around in.
So to Tower Bridge it was!
You can go inside it even! (Which I did) :)
I loved taking my time, sheltered from the cold, to read up about the construction of the bridge and see lots of neat views of the city.
There's a section of the floor that's been cut away and made into a window so you can see down to the street and water below. :D
I knew next to nothing about London before going, and something that surprised me a lot was the abundance of unique and modern looking architecture.
With a ticket to the Tower Bridge you get to see an engine room, which shows how the bridge would pull up using water pressure and heat. ...Don't ask me any more, I'm really bad at science. :\
A little cloudy, but still lovely lighting!
Next I walked around the harbor and tried (and failed) to not fall asleep in the park due to jetlag.
Also, I guess there are dragons on the city's coat of arms? (And statues all over the place.) How cool is that?!
Hey, I really like this city. :D Some aspects of it give me a bit of a San Francisco vibe, another city I love.
For dinner one night we wandered through an area that appeared a bit rough, but had tons of cool graffiti. If it weren't raining I would have liked to take a lot more photos. D:
Day 2 : Morning + Afternoon
I needed to be available at my "shift" for our conference around three, so this day I had a good amount of time to explore - from as early as I could drag myself out of bed until about 2pm. Still plenty of time to see more sights, including my goal for the day, which was Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben).
I knew it was under construction still, and considered going somewhere else for sightseeing, but I couldn't pass on the chance to see it for myself. I came all this way, I had to see it through!
I started my morning exploration by walking through some shopping areas, until I made my way near Buckingham Palace and St. James's Park.
I wasn't super interested in Buckingham, so I mostly just took a quick look and moved on to the nearby park, St. James's Park.
The park was filled with adorable water fowl! And being mid November, the autumn colors were in full swing.
(Sometimes I end up spending more time animal hunting than city / landscape hunting)
Finally I walked all the way to some fancy churches, and Big Ben, which yup, is still completely under scaffolding.
But the autumn colors, birds, and London Eye were cool to see too, so I'm glad I decided to explore that area anyway, even though Big Ben isn't quite as exciting in it's current state.
… And that's it!
It's kind of shocking how much you can really do in a short amount of time. And I really only had two things I wanted to see, everything else along the way was a bonus.
I feel like I have to write a separate section just for food. London's food scene is insane! There are cozy pubs all over the place, and trendy restaurants galore.
My boss (who is a foodie) brought us to a place called St. John - Bread and Wine, where they specialize in… weirdo meats, as I like to call it. A refined person might describe it as "Nose to Tail Eating." It's basically where they find creative and interesting ways to use meats that are generally not eaten, like pig cheek or duck heart.
Here's a sampling of what we ate :
Not photographed but also eaten was : potatoes, squash, veal, snails, and some sort of foie gras spread on bread.
Definitely very adventurous dining, and something I wouldn't have chosen if it were up to me, but the experience was fascinating and I enjoyed trying a lot of new things!
Some sampling of breakfasts I had during the trip ...
I'm a tea person, so getting a pot of fresh tea everywhere I went was AWESOME.
And finally, I couldn't go to England without having a classic English breakfast!
...And the rest!
Here are some tapas we had at a place called Tapas Revolution at the Westfield mall area in Stratford.
I normally don't get tapas because I'm better at inhaling food than savoring food, but these were REALLY GOOD. It included things like meatballs, beef skewers, and some Jamón ibérico, which is basically fancy ham that comes from pigs that live on an island and eat only chestnuts and acorns. I liked it much better than the weirdo meats! XD
There was a doughnut truck I saw everyday on the way to the conference, so on the last day I finally stopped and got my doughnut.
Besides being ridiculously expensive, (but which cities aren't, at this point?) London seems like it could be a really great place to live. I liked it a lot, even with the limited amount I was able to see.
Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Until next time, ~cheerio!
Sophie is a video game developer who has a variety of passions including yoga, traveling, and photography.