Friday, May 3, 2013

That's a Wrap


To officially wrap up London week, I thought I would share 20 random things I learned from the Londoners. Some are quite amusing, others are basic tips and a few were straight up culture shocks.

Before I begin, I must mention that everyone we came into contact with in London was friendly, helpful, sincere and welcomed us with open arms. It was refreshing to fit in so well even though we were thousands of miles away from "home".

1. Saying for the trip, "Mind the gap. Mind the cars. Mind the doors." This means watch your face or you gonna get pounded by something. Just pay attention to where you are going and walking.

2. It's not a "to go" cup. It's a "takeaway cup." I learned that the first day with a rum and diet at the hotel bar. Yes, I needed a "takeaway" rum and diet for a roadie.

3. I stood out like a sore thumb with my bright clothes. People dress very basic and in neutral colors in London. Mostly black, gray and tan. Boy, did I get some looks.

4. Tipping isn't expected, but appreciated. There isn't a line to leave a tip at restaurants. Maybe that's why the service was at a turtle's pace every place we dined at...except for the bars. They were pretty fast. Thank goodness. (And yes, we still tipped anyway.)

5. Bring some walking shoes, people. You will walk miles a day. This is where I failed and my feet, back and body paid severely.

6. You cannot find Diet Dr. Pepper anywhere in London. I wanted to die from withdraws. Once we landed on Texas soil, I headed straight for the juice.


7. Ask for extra ice because you only get two cubes per drink. I think it's kind of clever because in the end you get more bang drink for your buck.

8. Use your cab and rickshaw drivers as resources. Be friendly with them. Strike up a conversation with them. They know the city. It takes about three years to become a cab driver in London. I know this because my cabbie friend told me. They have to learn every inch of the city and it's surrounding areas. If it weren't for the drivers we met and became buddies with, we wouldn't have seen several places we loved.

9. Speaking of cab drivers, their skills behind the wheel are the shazzy shizz. They whip in and out of lanes and down streets like it's their job. Well, I guess it is. They all have hit at least one person in their career at least the ones we asked. Scary stuff, right?

10. Retail stores are like convenient stores. No lie. There was a Topshop, H&M and Forever 21 on every corner. I was told it's like this because people are only willing to walk so far in the area, so they saturate the streets with the shops. The shopping in general in London is INSANE! You could spends months and not see it all. 


11. It's not the highway. It's the motorway.

12. Looking for a new way to say "This is awesome"? Go with, "It's the nuts, Bro." You're welcome.

13. It seemed as though restrooms where always on a different floor if the establishment was multi-story. Oh, I mean the toilet. They are not called restrooms.

14. Ross and I never noticed any hoopty cars. Everyone seemed to drive newer model vehicles, but no trucks. All were very compact sized cars.

15. London Bridge really is falling down. It has fallen five times since it was constructed.

16. Do not. I repeat do not make local calls from your hotel room. Unlike the U.S., European hotels charge for local calls. We racked up a nice little bill. Just use a payphone. It's much cheaper. 


17. I suggest learning the public transit system if you have time. Cabbing it everywhere adds up and costs a lot more.

18. Beware of pickpockets. They are everywhere. Men, wallets in front pockets. Women, keep your bags zipped and close by your side. Luckily, we didn't fall victim.

 

19. Get ready to spend some serious cash. From touring landmarks, to dinner/drinks, transportation and of course shopping, money goes in a blink of an eye. I recommend using your bank card where you can. The exchange rate is better that route if visiting from the U.S.

20. For the love of all that is holy, stay longer than three nights. I fully regret that we didn't have a few more days/nights to explore...like go to Paris which is only a two-an-a-half hour train ride away. Oh well, what's done is done. We made the most of it. That's for sure. We can't wait to go back.



Next on the bucket list...Italy. 
Adding money to the piggy bank now.

That's all folks.

NOTE: This list was curated and adapted from my own personal experiences and opinions. Some points mentioned may not be 100% accurate. This post was based on how I saw London from my eyes. It was not meant to offend anyone.

Shanna

59 comments:

All Polished Up said...

I studied abroad in Scotland last fall, and I ended up spending a week in London and it was amazing!! I think all your tips are fantastic, and I can completely relate =). Looks like you had an amazing time!!

xx

http://cloudconnectedbeauty.blogspot.com/

prettyanddelectable.com said...

Enjoyed reading this list! Wow, so much shopping! I still can't believe how much you saw/did in just a few days. Have a great weekend! :)

Renae at simple sequins said...

hahahahahaha, Shanna! This is such a hilarious post. I love your sense of humor and your candid way of delivery. (I took a nap, I am up late)

Rebecca said...

Number 12 made me laugh, I live in London but have never heard anyone say that.
We have Dr Pepper Zero rather than Diet Dr Pepper, pretty much the same thing though.
I'm glad you had such a fun time here.

Life etc... said...

Looks like you learned a lot in just three days! It's funny how many little differences you notice when travelling. Although I think the saying you're thinking of is "that's nuts" (without 'the') - that's how we say it in Australia anyway haha :)

life-etcblog.blogspot.com.au

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

I was thinking about your shoes every time I saw a photo of you, and wondered how you were doing all that walking in heels! I remember the no ice thing from when I was in Europe years ago. What do they have against cold drinks?

Jeane M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louise McDonagh said...

I didn't realise you can't get Dr. Pepper in London, you can elsewhere in the UK. It's a shame you didn't get to Camden, that's a whole other experience, people are colourful there. Xx

Yaya said...

I'm also a TX girl, and now call the UK home. I must say, it was really cute to read your list. Nothing like that initial WOW moment your first time in London!

Glad you had a nice time.

Yaya @ Dream it Darling

Danavee said...

FUN! I feel cultured now! And I'd happily check out Italy with you!

Ashleigh said...

Lovely! I hope you get to go back! It sounds like you had a blast!
-ash
www.thestylizedwannabe.com

Always Maylee said...

Your trip really was awesome... oh wait I mean it's the nuts bro! I'm so happy that you had such a fun time. Memories for a lifetime! :)

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

Tracy Walpole said...

They have zero drinks instead of diet. The Dr. Pepper Zero is really similar to diet dr. pepper. Also the thing we get stuck with most is most places don't do swipe cards anymore there in England. Even though they have the machines, all places would rather you have a chip n pin. Which is hard since the US doesn't have those.

Sounds like you and Ross had a lot of fun! So happy you are back and loved reading all the recap posts. :)

Helene said...

from someone who has been to london a handful of times, these are really good tips! especially about the walking shoes and bright colored clothing! so funny to me!

Danielle Smiley said...

Okay I literally laughed out loud when I read "it's the nuts,bro!" Haha!
When I was in Spain, I drank my whole coke before my food even came and they never came refilled it until I finally asked because unlike the US, refills aren't free in Spain! Was it like that in London? And after seeing all your posts, I'm totally talking my fiancé into bringing me to London one day!

<3 Danielle
Goodwillista.blogspot.com

Natalie said...

This post is amazing! I've traveled to London before and this is spot on. You're so funny!

Christina Heflin said...

So fun! I want to go to a Topshop store so badly!

http://simpleeasystyle.blogspot.com/

Amy Shaughnessy said...

What a trip!! Great tips too. They did the same thing with ice cubes in Germany. But when I ordered a glass of wine, they poured that sucker up to the brim every single time. Not like that here! American restaurants are stingy with their wine!

Amy

Fashion and Beauty Finds

Alyssa said...

Haha this is great–I love that last shot of you guys! My friend actually got stuck in the tube doors when we were in London–they're not joking about that! ;)

Rachel said...

I've never been to London (or really any other country besides the USA and my one spring break trip in the Dominican), so I didn't know a lot of these things! I feel so knowledgeable now! haha

TheTinyHeart said...

My feet would've been killing me walking around London in heels! My English friend says "cheers" instead of "thank you" and has a lot of sayings we don't have in US. Glad you had such a wonderful time!

-Sharon
The Tiny Heart

Jamie said...

Ah, the lingo that is so different from there to here. My hubby is British Indian, so I get a lesson in lingo at least once a week (still. after 8 years together!!). And when I was interviewing for my job, my boss, who works out of our UK office, offered me water, then asked if I wanted "American ice" - which basically meant more than 2 cubes!! Haha..I'm actually surprised that you felt bright, because the one thing I always notice in England is that people tend to PILE ON the trends. Whereas here we tend to add one or two to an outfit, they go bananas with wearing 10 trends at once! Did you notice any of that?

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I did not understand the lack of ice when I was in Ireland. The tipping too. I way over-tipped I'm sure.

It's the nuts. I love it.

I hope your weekend is the nuts!

Tara Illy said...

These were pretty spot on! :)

Carly said...

I'm so glad you shared these tips, great ones in here!

Italy is amazing, I hope that you guys get to go soon!

Carly
www.lipglossandcrayons.com

jackie jade said...

so fun and all good tips! i lived in london after college and learned a lot of this too (especially when my wallet got stolen ugh!) i looooove london and so glad you guys had an awesome time!!
-- jackiejade.blogspot.com

Niki Caron said...

Wait you can get a takeaway cup for Rum & Diet?! That's pretty awesome! And that's crazy about the pickpockets!

Kayla Peveler said...

They let you "take away" alcohol?! AMAZING. Haha! Loved this post, hope I can visit someday!!

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J Ciriello said...

I was there in late November once and everyone kept saying what are you doing for "Chrimbo" ... that's what they call Christmas. And I guess going to see "panto" is a big thing. I was puzzled. They all go out and smoke fags ... a lot. Those Londoners also know how to DRINK. Clients were guzzling 3 martinis on a school night.

Gwen said...

"For the love of all that is holy..." I love that phrase.

A friend of mine is in Ireland for six months and she's been lamenting the lack of chocolate, so I'm glad you didn't have to go TOO long without the diet Dr P!

Italy is so amazing - I've been posting about our trip there on Helene's Travel Tuesdays. I'd love to go back but there are just SO many other places to go!

Laura B @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels said...

We said mind the gap for months after we for back lol. And oh my goodness the service is so slow at restaurants. I think it was worse in France though. And definitely only two cubes of ice lol.

Cece said...

I was so excited when we saw a TOP shop in Spain. Too bad I didn't get a pic like you did. We saw two pick pocketing incidents while we were in europe. It sure isn't a myth. Glad you made the best of your time there. What a jam packed amazing trip you had. I have one word to say about Italy. PIZZA!!

Stesha Jordan said...

I am SOOOOO happy you had an amazing time! You are beautiful & glad you had such an experience!!

xxS

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

In SoCal we don't say highway either. It always throws me off when people say that. We say freeway :)

And I'm having the same fashion/colors issues at work as you had there!

Girls Love Fried Pickles said...

You guys in the last picture look like you are from Whoville.

Blue Dog Belle said...

So glad y'all had a great time love!!!!

Andrea {blonde ambitions} said...

Such a great list! Our list of must-do's is to travel Europe! I am so glad you had a wonderful trip!!

Whitney said...

I've always wanted to go to London! It seems like you had an amazing time. Fun fact: I don't say highway! We always said "interstate" in my family. Everyone here in TX thinks I'm crazy.

Katie Did What said...

I absolutely LOVED this post, Shanna!! :) "They whip in and out of lanes and down streets like it's their job. Well, I guess it is." haha that made me laugh! And YES the pickpockets are everywhere, I remember learning to hold my purse with one hand, close to my body while I was there. It's actually a good habit that I formed and I pretty much do it all the time now, especially in crowded spaces. Can't help it! Also, "Mind the gap!" That takes me back, too :) I visited London when I was in high school, and my group of friends kept saying that, in our little British accents. We though it was the funniest thing. Glad you had a blast, and thanks for sharing! :)

xo

Christina L said...

haha great post just discovered you blog through 'Making your own way..'
:)

Tiffany said...

How fun!! I usually don't read "wordy" posts, you know how it is... but I read every word and loved it! =) Thanks for sharing!

FitTravelerAJ said...

HAHA! Great tips! I love your point of view. #3 made me giggle! And I would LOVE to go to Italy!!! Put a little extra in that piggy bank so you can bring me ;-)

-AJ
FitTravelerAJ.com

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

This is such a great list! Funny, but also informative. Eventually I hope to make it to London and the British Isles in general since that's where my family is from (Wales especially). But first we are hitting up Italy this year because that's where Christopher's family is from and we both REALLY want to go! :)

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Laurie Tester said...

What a fabulous trip!
Laurie
Lulu and Daisy

Head to Toe Chic said...

Love your tips!! I want to go to London so badly. Robert always talks about it and France but i've only been to St. Lucia.

xo,
Angela
headtotoechicblog.com

Allison said...

What a great list!! 2 ice cubes in a drink? I guess that does make more sense, but I love cold drinks!! And I love that picture of you two in the ice bar. So cute!!

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Heather said...

Love your tips - great inside info should I ever be lucky enough to go :)

XO
Pearls & Paws

Sarah said...

These all sound so similar to Australia! Tipping is not a thing there either, unless you get really good service. And they say 'the loo' instead of restrooms which I think is the most adorable thing ever!

Susan said...

LOVED this post! I have heard that London is ridiculously expensive AND that the shopping is insane!
Sounds like you packed a lot into your 3 days. Good for you. xo

Kait said...

I loved this list, it made me happy to see you so happy over there :) Exactly where you're meant to be! I'm going to Italy this fall--you should come too :)

BREI said...

Those motorways caused me fits when I had to drive!

Elizabeth said...

I have been in Texas for ten years and I don't think I can ever move away because I am totally hooked on that sweet, sweet, Diet Dr Pepper. I tried to quit it once... It worked for about six hours.

Darby Hawley said...

Sounds like an awesome trip, but I agree that Italy needs to be next....I mean the fashion there....ahhhhh to.die.for!

Janna Renee said...

Aaaahhhh this is so exciting! I haven't been to London, but it's on the list! When I was in Europe they didn't want tips AT ALL. I tried to give one to a really good server and they almost got mad.

Michelle Crenshaw said...

Okay, so I happened upon your blog quite randomly today, and I guess it was fate. I am scheduled to leave for London in 3 weeks with my BFF and niece on her Make-a-Wish trip. (She is in remission for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) Anyway...I loved your posts about your trip to London, and thank you for the great in sites. So, excited to see all of this in person! Oh, and as luck would have it, I also happen to live in Texas! So, I guess it really was fate that brought me to your blog, ;).

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