Today was our first day of our We’re 40! trip, comprised of traveling by air to Gatwick by way of Reykjavik, then to the hotel by way of train and “the tube” (Underground).

What I Saw

As we explored South Kensington on foot, we came upon a set of museums: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. We opted for the last; being on a thrifty budget for this epic trip, we like finding local attractions which don’t break the wallet (okay, who doesn’t?).

What a lovely choice! We walked through several sections which highlighted centuries of portraits, furniture, and even rooms which had been moved from their original palatial site to be housed within the museum. What most struck our senses was the gallery exhibiting the works of Raphael.

Rafael works at the Victoria and Albert Museum | Rachel, Really Social

This room was striking not just for its contents, but I learned that is was designed to be a choral room to accentuate vocal performances. Naturally I wished I could be in there for five minutes with a small orchestra at the ready.

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This was my personal favorite, which was featured at one end of the gallery and entranced me with the detail and descriptive story of St. George as well as the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

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What I Ate

Once we completed our multi-stage trek to our hotel, our stomachs were battling our jet lag and won out. We went across the street to the Hoop and Toy, a small pub which serves a small variety of beers, whiskies, and even ciders (yay!). I enjoyed a strawberry-lime Rekorderlig, while my husband imbibed his Guinness. And, to fulfill a craving I’d had for the week leading up to this day, I ordered fish and chips. #YUM

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What I Learned

To combat jet lag, our plan was to stay awake until 10pm. Part of our strategy was to bike ride through Hyde Park (a short distance from the Ampersand Hotel). After walking through traffic and witnessing how motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians interacted in harrowing ways, I almost backed out. But we rented our bicycles and rode up the street to go through Hyde and Kensington parks.

I learned that, as much as I sometimes find cycling in and around Denver to be a pulse-quickening experience at times, cycling in London is vastly more thrilling. Pedestrians, whether tourist or resident, are on all sides of the lanes and sidewalks, so at times cycling on the road with the cars was less stressful.

My husband, the seasoned city cyclist, shook his head at both my anxiety and my avid desire to take pictures at almost every turn.

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I’ll continue updating on our UK trip and the chaos we cause along the way. Look for my reviews on Tripadvisor.com.


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