the perfect London Monday

1. Wake up at the crack of dawn. Legitimately be at the Tube before the sun is up. If, like me, you are staying on Gracechurch Street (which, no big deal, is where Elizabeth Bennet's uncle and aunt lived in Pride and Prejudice...and no, I TOTALLY didn't tell my bosses that and get a weird look)...hop the Circle or District Line train from Monument to Embankment. 

2. Get a coffee at Caffé Nero while the sun comes fully up. 

3. Admire the cloudless blue skies above Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. 

4. Cross under the Admiralty Arch, probably while enjoying your Nero raspberry-white chocolate muffin. 

5. Hop off the Mall and stroll through a nearly-deserted St. James's Park, admiring the daffodils, which kindly remembered they are your favorite and bloomed in FEBRUARY just for you. Obviously. 

6. Stop to finish your muffin and read for a little bit on a park bench. Realize this swan is trying VERY hard to make friends (or finish your muffin for you). Freak out a little bit because you have a weird thing about large birds like swans and geese being a little bit scary. Awkwardly jog away when it actually starts walking toward you. ABANDON THE MUFFIN. Tell nobody of your shame. 

7. Enter Buckingham Palace courtyard. Realize you are one of maybe five people there, which has pretty much never happened. Enjoy being blinded by the Victoria Fountain. 

8. Go pretend you're Kate Middleton for a minute (more than a minute. Actually longer than is entirely respectable.).

9. Instagram, duh. 

10. Take Birdcage Walk to go say hi to Ben. 

11. Also to get to the Westminster Station, also on the Circle and District lines, and hop a train with service toward South Kensington. 

12. Have a cookie for second breakfast because, by now, it's fully 9:30 am and that swan probably ended up eating more of your muffin than you did. (Ben's Cookies are, I kid you not, probably one of my top 5 favorite things in London. You can't go wrong, but I personally go for the milk chocolate orange or the peanut butter chocolate chunk. Grab extra napkins.)

13. Stroll to the Victoria & Albert Museum ten minutes before it opens, thinking you'll be first in line.

14. Realize there is no line and you are the only person actually trying to go to the Victoria & Albert this morning. Get in the museum seven minutes before it actually opens. Die and go to heaven.

15. Enjoy the Renaissance gallery and most of the Right Wing entirely by yourself, so quiet your footsteps echo. 

16. Facebook that shit. At Laura's behest, go have a scone with clotted cream and jam and tea. Realize you have now eaten more carbs in 3 hours than you have in the last week. Feel zero shame. 

17. Stroll down Brompton Road to Harrod's, pretending you're fancy enough to be there. Summarily get scary-lost somewhere between women's luxury handbags, the food halls, and the perfumerie. 

18. Realize you're fine with being lost as long as it's in the diamond gallery. Pick out your tiara for when Prince Harry wises up and proposes. Sneak a creeper-Snap of it when the Garrard consultant's back is turned, even though you have a distinct feeling that photographing the diamonds might be gauche. 


19. Take advantage of the unseasonably warm day to go enjoy Hyde Park. As if the Victoria Fountain at Buckingham didn't already sear your retinas enough, try to stare straight at the Albert Memorial on a sunny day. Fail at said attempt. 


20. In the hopes of actually encountering Harry (or William and Kate and Charlotte and George, who WERE ACTUALLY IN TOWN OH EM GEE), stroll casually to Kensington Palace. Have exactly zero (plus four) freak-outs over the possibility of encountering the Cambridges. 

21. Stare longingly through the gates. Imagine you see a curtain twitch. Realize you are being really weird. Look around and realize you are FAR from the only one being really weird. Feel moderately better about your life...then step slowly away from the palace before the feeling vanishes. 

22. Stroll around the other side, take the lane to the Queensway tube station, realize it is not even noon yet, and go meet your bosses for fish and chips. Pat yourself on the back for the most productively touristy morning in the history of London.