i took a plane and a train and a tube to st. paul’s station and as i climbed the stairs out of the underground, i had music in my ears and my heart smiled. london. i had a dreamy day and a half in this bewitching city, and it was brilliant, every bit.

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i had a burst-out-of-my-skin-happymixedwithexcited moment at these first sights, and then i went to take in some fantastic art at the tate modern across the millenium bridge.
what i love about modern art is that it is about seeing beyond seeing, about what is real that is not technically tangible or accurately visibly portrayed. to me, modern art is a type of spirituality. i love it.
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i went to east london, a part of the city i’ve never been before. i loved the big markets and the bricks everywhere, and especially that neat blue glass building londoners call “the gherkin” (british for pickle).
the brick lane area was like entering another time and world. it was so diverse and gritty in a magical way.

i walked across the tower bridge. i love the colors. the views were great.
this is my friend gem. she was in the last ward i served in as a missionary and has since lived in the turks & caicos islands with her husband byron. they recently moved back to the uk and gem’s spending the summer in london! it was so fun to meet up, catch up, explore and stay with her – she was the best hostess ever. she showed me cool spots, starting with the colorful houses and markets on portobello road.
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we had afternoon tea at the most adorable little place called bea’s of bloomsbury. divine and oh! so sweet!IMG_7590IMG_7591
gem took me to the top of oxo tower on the south bank of the thames. she had read somewhere that they had a good view from their rooftop restaurant and it was true! the clouds were just starting to part!

as we walked along southbank, we came across a little portable carnival with rides and booths and thought these swings would be a blast to ride over the city. it was even more fun than it looks – a pure thrill – and the views were not too shabby:

riding those swings is one of my favourite things i’ve done maybe ever – at least this summer!! i thought it was some ways better than the london eye itself. we kept walking to westminister bridge for the most spectacular and famous views of london._MG_8966IMG_7620IMG_7621_MG_8975_MG_8976
how could anyone not be astonished and enchanted by big ben? i have a crush on him.IMG_7627
we had to stop by the queen’s house for a quick visit.
and heaven smiled a sunset for us – with my crush glowing in the distance.
we rented bikes (london has a new and awesome bike rental system with banks of bikes all over the city) and swooped through hyde park as it got dark.
when i see those kinds of signs, i feel like i have to disobey them. i can’t not. there was no one else in the park and it was awesome.
we decided to ride up oxford street to oxford circus and then down regent street. i realize that i have a problem with repeatedly saying things are my favourite, but i really do think this 30 minutes on a bike next to the red double-deckers and the old-fashioned taxis was my favourite part of my time in the uk. i was whooping and hollering with delight and the magic of london ran over my skin. it was exhilarating.
we rode all the way to picadilly circus:
and then we walked through leister square, covet garden, trafalgar square and back to the houses of parliament to see big ben and the eye all lit up under the indigo sky.
what an incredible day._MG_9050
the next morning we met up with gem’s husband byron and went to check out the hundreds of neat food stalls at borough market. the colors, sounds, smells, textures and tastes! sublime. IMG_7644_MG_9028_MG_9032_MG_9036_MG_9046IMG_9012

gem and byron dropped me off at victoria station by noon and as i whizzed away from the city i felt so completely content and glad. in a whirlwind of activity, fun, prettiness and pricked senses, i saw london like i never had before. and with sheer delight.


  1. WOW! You saw London like WE have never seen it before (except for a few things like "your crush" and all that stuff. Now we have to go back and find all those other things and places. You are one lucky duck who really knows how to drink life in!

  2. Oh Char, I know this is not about San Francisco, but it makes me want to come visit more than ever because of how you see things and love things. I feel the exact same way about so many things (except not quite as passionate :) and it would be SO fun to soak in San Fran with you. Then some day will u go back to London with me? Love you.

  3. These photos are AWESOME!! I sent them to Tyler with please, please, please can we use our miles to go to London?!?! It looks amazing! Thanks for sharing, as for now I'll live my traveling wishes through you!

  4. Brilliant pix of London:) I thought you & your friend were really brave to ride through the busy roads on bikes, especially Oxford Street!

    The colours of the London Eye etc at night were lovely. (Note the spelling:)) Did you go on the eye?

    Glad you had a great time over here.

    Your blog is great & I love how full of life you are.

    Thanks for brightening my day:)

  5. Yey so glad you had a fun trip over here :) Your photos are gorgeous xx

  6. first of all, i do know what you mean when you ask if i have a crush on big ben. your pics made me salivate in jealousy. second. spittlefields! its interesting to think of the places you did NOT go. third, nice new logo at the top. Who did it, you should tell us all.

  7. hey chi chi its grace! Looks like an awesome trip! Miss ya! Love ya!


  8. Ah I was so excited to read this post and relive it through your words! so glad we rode those bikes, since they were your fave part of your trip!! and so glad we found those amazing swings in the sky too! It was a great day!

  9. London! My heart aches for it. I'm so glad to "visit" it here for a bit thanks to your great photos and words. You can capture feelings and beauty like no other!

  10. AHHHH. Your pictures (all of them) make me so homesick for London. You are an incredible photographer. And you look beautiful. So glad you got to have these experiences. I miss and love you!