July 8, 2019: Pursuing Paddington

Tiffany and I woke up on July 8th excited to explore London. We knew there would be a lot to see in London, but we only devoted two full days there as part of our journey across the pond. Day One would be our whirlwind sightseeing overview of the city by taking a hop-on/hop-off bus tour. This type of tour bus gave us the freedom to hop off and explore parts of the city we found intriguing, grab lunch when we wanted, and save our feet a bit.

Pictured is what was captured by Google Timeline that day.

This statue is called Boadicea and Her Daughters and overlooks the River Thames near Westminster Bridge. Boadicea was an ancient Briton queen who led an uprising against the Romans in AD 60 or 61, killing around 70,000 soldiers and Roman allies. While her uprising failed, Boadicea is celebrated as a symbol of the struggle for justice and independence.

Boadicea’s statue became our stopping point throughout the day. We would start bus tours nearby, so we found ourselves walking past it numerous times.

One of Tiffany’s goals was to see the statue for Paddington Bear at Paddington Station, in memory of the countless times she had read the picture book as a child. However, when we got there, Jawaani Jaaneman, a Bollywood movie, was being filmed at this landmark. Initially, we didn’t see them filming, and Tiffany inadvertently wandered into the camera shot! A support member politely informed us of the error, in the most British of ways, and so we backed up to photograph Paddington Bear from afar.

On a side note, Tiffany and I have since watched the film, and it has become our unofficial anniversary film. It is currently available on Amazon for Prime Members if you wanted to check it out!

Sadly, we did not make a cameo appearance.

For lunch, we ate at The Dickens Tavern. We chose this location for two reasons: it reminded us of the writer Charles Dickens, and we were starving and would have eaten anywhere. However, the pub witnessed a significant milestone on the trip. Tiffany had her first English side, Guinness! Before the trip, the Hodgsons informed us that the beer does taste better across the Atlantic, and we can confirm this truth.

I’m not a beer drinker, so I enjoyed a hard cider instead. We soon found that every pub in England had various ciders to try, and each one was more incredible than the last. It was like American craft cider was just the norm over there!

I also had the opportunity to see Rules, London’s oldest restaurant. Sadly, we did not get the chance to go inside and have afternoon tea. We did consider it in our trip planning, but it would have involved making a reservation. Maybe next time! The location was only semi-important since I featured the restaurant heavily in my tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) I was running at the time. I needed to get a picture of me in front of the restaurant and send it to my group.

TTRPGs are a hobby of mine. It’s a mix of improv storytelling and board gaming. Players make a character that they get to take into a made-up world, and one person is in charge of that world. This particular game took place during World War 2, with the characters being criminals conscripted to help in the war efforts.

As the day turned to night, we asked one of the tour guides, Timothy, for a restaurant recommendation. His answer was the Indian restaurant Dishoom, a popular Indian restaurant with several locations in London. We found the nearest one and walked there.

When we arrived, the line was long. I mean, L-o-o-o-n-g! However, we were determined to eat at this restaurant because Timothy made it sound amazing! We waited in line for over an hour, so we were excited when our turn finally came.

The atmosphere was cozy, despite the restaurant being busy. And more importantly, the food was great! It was well worth the wait. After the restaurant, we headed back to the hotel for some sleep.