Published On: 2012/06/11

The great thing about having smart and talented friends is that they achieve things like university places and job offers all over the world. My good friend Sarah is one of those people. We both graduated from college in 2010, and after having been an intern in publishing for several months, Sarah started doing her Master’s degree in London last year.

It was really about time to fly to England and visit her, because in the beginning of 2012 we realized that we were both studying in two amazing European capitals, and made a pact to visit each other and be the perfect insider guide for one another. In January Sarah came to Lisbon to enjoy the sun (which didn’t show quite a lot during the English winter – not a big surprise there) and one galão after another…

And in April 2012 Sarah returned the favor and hosted me for a wonderful weekend in London. She lives in a tiny student apartment with every thing necessary crammed into one room, plus a bathroom that could even be considered little when inside a caravan. Nonetheless, she prepared the room very neatly for me, and since we were out exploring the city most of the time, space luckily wasn’t an issue at all.

As soon as I had unpacked, we stared our sightseeing tour… After decades of obsessing with the English language and studying the British history and culture, I was finally there! I still remember me looking at a picture of Trafalgar Square in my fifth grade English textbook – unbelievable that it took me twelve years to finally see it in person!

We strolled from Oxford Street to Trafalgar Square, passing by Leicester Square and Soho, up until Downing Street, the House of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey…

We took pictures in front of all the easily recognizable sights, exactly how you would expect a “model tourist” to.

Our last stops for the day were Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown – and just like that, I had seen most of the major London sights within only one afternoon. Thanks to my incredibly skilled city guide Sarah!

On the next day we visited the sights still missing on our itinerary: King’s Cross (Plattfrom 9 3/4 !), the British Library, Bloomsbury, and Buckingham Palace…

(Speaking of the Buckingham Palace: Did you know that Kate studied art history? See?! You don’t have to be poor and out of work as an art historian – you just need the right prince!)

… we walked by St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Courts of Justice, the Tower of London, and of course, across the Tower Bridge…

… and naturally I had to have fish and chips as well as a try of Pimm’s in a pub. But my favorite London food was definitely carrot cake – seems like the British (at least) have proficiency in the sweets department. I can so live with that.

What I really liked best about these days was that visiting all those famous places and inhaling London’s vibes is absolutely free. If you are lucky and the weather is as perfect as it was during my stay, you only need money to upload your Oyster Card for public transportation. And, well, a little extra for some carrot cake, of course.