Travel

My 3 Days In London With A 100 Degree Fever

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My first thoughts of London stem from my early childhood, jam-packed full of girl power and the Spice Girls. Big, white-foamed platform shoes and dresses made from the Union Jack. Growing up in the 90’s definitely hyped me up for what my trip to London would be.

LAXAnd that’s almost what the trip as a whole came out to be if you replaced Spice Girls with One Direction. At the time I was a publicist for the supporting act on the Take Me Home Tour, and spent the last month of the tour in Europe organizing press and taking the client to the interviews and photo shoots before show time.

Three days before I caught my flight out I came down with the worst case of the flu I had ever had at this point. I spent two days in a row stuck on the couch of my at the time boyfriend playing through Bioshock Infinite on Xbox 360 in a single go as I sweat profusely cough syrup and death.

I had technically been outside of the country before, but living in California we often don’t consider “Going to Mexico for the weekend” really leaving the country. Additionally, this would be the longest flight of my life with a whopping 11 years one way from LAX to Heathrow.

The flight wasn’t anything special. Virgin Atlantic is superb for International travels and I do not think I could fly on any other airline after that. Free in flight entertainment, free food and drinks, lots of leg room.. Yes please.

LondonDescending into London’s Heathrow Airport was nothing short of breath taking. Majestic clouds stacked as high as we were and went on for miles, far beyond what my own eye could see.

Some of the bluest skies too! I had a hard time believing that the sky could really be that blue after living in the scum and smog at the heart of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, CA.

Going through customs was a bit of a nightmare. My passport has definitely seen better days after accidentally going through the wash. Additionally, at the time of my passport photo my hair was long and black with Zooey Deschanel bangs. At the time of going through customs it was short and blonde and resembled a Miley Cyrus break down more than anything. Customs temporarily detained me to verify my identity, which made me fear that as soon as it started it was also going to end. Ultimately I was able to go after a little over an hour once they were able to confirm I was indeed who my passport said.

The Heathrow Airport was and is to this day one of the best airports I have ever been to. A tram departs from the bottom floor of the airport that essentially is where the London Tube starts. Trying to figure it all out while jetlagged and feverish was quite the thrill. But soon I was on a train taking me through part of the London countryside on my way to my hotel in the Financial District. I even had a lovely elderly couple offer my cough drops on the train. I know you should never take food, candy, pills, from strangers. But with how sick I was, even poison may have helped at that point.

Threadneedles Autograph Collection Marriott

The hotel lobby was unlike anything I had ever seen. My boss was able to reserve a room for me at the Threadneedles Autograph Collection by Marriott.  To be honest, I had never felt more out of place with my ripped jeans and sandals than I did walking into this hotel room. To make matters worse, they definitely were a tad bit suspicious of what a kid like me was doing with a room there. But I suppose stranger things have happened as they didn’t seem to make too much of a fuse over it.

London SoHo HouseI was completely exhausted from the flight, but as soon as I got to the room I had an invite to go to the London SoHo House. If you have not heard of the SoHo Houses, they are exclusive membership only lounges around the world that definitely cater to the more ‘well off’ folk.

The SoHo House is also the type of place that doesn’t really want you to brag about it. Very strict no camera policies are enforced throughout the venues, which includes cell phone photography as well. I was able to snag a quick pic of my champagne before almost immediately being told ‘No pictures, please.’

After a long day of traveling, drinking champagne and managing not to pass out from being delirious with a fever, I stumbled around for a bit on Greek Street. This area is quite comparable to the liveliness and vibrancy of the night life scene of West Hollywood. And it didn’t take long til I stumbled right over to a classic red phone booth. Something so basic has become quite iconic around the world, and is almost synonymous with the idea of London. I was quite thrilled to snap a picture of it before heading back to the tube and in for the night.

I had amazing plans for the next day, all of which were foiled by watching amazing British television until 5am, and sleeping until 5:30pm local time. Big WOOPS on my part.

London weather is definitely an interesting thing. The sunset was shining through my window onto my face, and as I rolled over to try and greet what was left of the day clouds rolled in with one of the loudest hail storms I have seen thus far. Within a matter of minutes the sun was back out for what little was left in the day.

Kinder EggsAround 7pm I decided I should at least get up and try to go grab some food before everything started to close for the day. The only thing open near where I was staying was bougie sushi spots and a Tesco. I decided to take my chances with Tesco and it was definitely worth it. This is an amazing little grocery shop that is mostly self check out. They have everything from unique UK only Krispy Kreme Donuts, to all the Kinder Eggs my heart desires. I also managed to find some of their own deli sandwiches towards one end of the store and left with bags full, and shortly after a tummy that was just as full.

Kinder Eggs are currently illegal to bring into the United States, and can run up a fine of roughly $2,500 per egg that are found on your persons or in your baggage. Talk about an expensive sweet tooth!

Part of me wants to believe the eggs have been outlawed because everyone in the US is so ‘sue happy’ and will find any reason to stand behind or against nothing. The other half of me just thinks poor parenting is to blame. But I digress..

Guest List Ministry of SoundAs night time fell upon me, and even though I was feverish, sleep deprived and delusional it was time to leave my mark on the city of London. A friend and tour mate, Hayden Maringer, was able to hook it up with a table at Ministry of Sound in London to see Ferry Corsten.

I felt like a rockstar as we cut the line and headed straight into the venue. It was only Hayden and I in the group, but they gave us a table that overlooked the stage while others who paid for their tables sat far behind us. Additionally we didn’t have to meet the table minimum, which we later found out was 120 pounds per person. Yes, that’s 120 GBP, which at the time would come out to almost $200 a person. YIKES!

Clubs overseas are so different from those in the states. First off, the alcohol cut off was much later (4am at Ministry of Sound). Secondly, the clubs even close later. Most bars and clubs in Los Angeles close at 2am, with some after hours events that go on until 4am. Ministry of Sound in London keeps the party going til 6am on most nights. Being jetlagged and still on a Los Angeles time zone made it quite easy to stay out until 5:30am, when we decided to hop in a cab and head back to the hotel to turn in for the night (or day at that point?). Me London

I had big ambitions for the following day, all of which were met after a 3 hour nap. I woke up, somewhat drunk but no longer tired, and decided to use my last day in London as a last chance at sight seeing. I quickly got dressed, sporting my new Ministry of Sounds shirt, and hopped on the nearest train over to see the London Eye. Little did I know, that Big Ben was right around the corner which made this an easy 2 for 1 on my list of stops.

Since it was still so early, the London Eye did not begin it’s operations for another 2 hours. The sight of Big Ben from where the London Eye stood was definitely one to take in. And although I had wet hair, and the winds of late April had a chilling bite, I couldn’t help but stand there in awe over the architecture and beauty of it all. With the cold getting to me, I decided to make my way down my lists of MUST SEE’s and hopefully have time to head back this way later. (Spoiler alert, I didn’t).

Big Ben from the London Eye

Up next on my list was the Tower of London and the London Bridge. It is a nice stroll between the two, and as the day was warming up I was finally able to unbundle my scarf and enjoy the breeze next to the water front.

London Bridge

Being from the US, it’s hard to find such beauty within a city. Especially living in Los Angeles, home of failed stars and minimalistic, cheap-labored architecture. The only joy I find when visiting a city in the US is the East Coast. Stone buildings tower over-head, and give this timeless feeling that I could go on, and on about all day.

London Breakfast

After taking in all the sights, it was time for a quick and much needed breakfast. I decided to head back to the hotel and in the words of my favorite person ‘Treat myself’.

For breakfast, I had what was essentially candy bacon over waffles, with a side of creme fraiche and berries. However, it was called something way more elegant than it was, and ended up tallying up quite the bill to match.

With a full and happy belly, I decided it was time to take a quick nap before it was time for the real adventure to kick off. As the day grew dark, I made my way to the train and over to a hotel on the opposite side of town where the a Beat the Street tour bus was enroute to pick us up to begin our journey as the support for One Direction’s Take Me Home Tour.

Little did I know that this would be the start of one of my greatest adventures, and an experience that would change my life and help me grow in countless ways.

Boston based writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Founder & Editor in Chief of NotACleverGirl.com and KeepItNerdy.com.