London Calling

Flying into London - look for the London Eye!

Flying into London – look for the London Eye!

Cheerio from London! (That’s what they say here, right??) The pictures above and below were taken on our decent into Heathrow. I may have broken a million airplane rules, but the light was just too awesome and the skies were just too clear to not snap some pictures!

Flying into London - the London Bridge in the setting sun

Flying into London – the London Bridge in the setting sun

So, after a good night’s sleep, we went check out this big city. I have never been to the UK before, but Dan spent a brief 2 days in London about 4 years ago. He actually didn’t love during his brief stay but as a big city girl I set out to change that.

Pro tip: I have been using an app on my phone that has been essential to our enjoyment since we arrived in London. I brought my iPhone 4s on this trip but it does not have access to cell service. However, when there is wifi I can easily check everything I need. The beauty of this app is that it doesn’t require wifi (as long as you “preload” it with the cities you will need when you have wifi) and it has kept me and Dan from looking like wayward tourists everywhere we go. It is the Trip Advisor app. They have walking tours, restaurants, attractions, and more all loaded onto an offline app. This morning, before we left for the day, I added all the vegan and vegetarian restaurants to the map (I looked them up on Happy Cow) so now I can figure out where we are on the map and see all the places to eat nearby!

So the first thing we decided to do today was “follow” a Trip Advisor walking tour and veer off wherever we felt like it. We took the underground to St. James’s Park and started walking. We accidentally got there when the changing of the guard was taking place. Woops! So we took it as an opportunity to take some pictures and then scurry away from the crowds into the park. We walked along the awesome pond in the park and, holy crap you guys, the pond is full of waterfowl and their babies!

BABY SWANS!!

BABY SWANS!!

This is only one picture of the cuteness, but it is the only one you are getting as the upload speed where we are staying is equivalent to dial-up and it takes about 5 minutes to add each of these pictures. So, I love you guys 7 pictures worth. Think about that.

After we watched animals being adorable for about 30 minutes we decided to walk to food. I had heard good things about Mildred’s from many a vegan (including one Soy Bean). I heard that it was a lovely place to get a tasty vegan meal, so Dan and I were headed there for our first real meal in London. On the way we ended up in the West End. We were planning on seeing a show while in London, but in the cheapest seats so as not to blow our daily (or more likely, weekly) budget. The Book of Mormon is playing in London and we could see the theater from where we were so we decided to stop by and see what their cheap seat options were like. Well, do we have good luck or what? We got over to the theater and realized that they are in the middle of doing their lottery (their cheap seat option, as it turns out, is a lottery for the seats in the front row for 20 GBP a piece). Dan and I dropped in our names 10 minutes before the draw and stuck around to see if our luck was still with us.

Guess who won the Book of Mormon lottery?

Guess who won the Book of Mormon lottery?

Indeed it was, so our afternoon plans were all set. 2 hours until showtime, we made a beeline to Mildred’s, which is conveniently only a few blocks away from the West End.

Mildred's

Mildred’s

We were seated almost immediately in a dining area very reminiscent to New York City. As many tables as possible crammed into a small space. But the space was bright and clean and smelled good, so we were happy. Mildred’s is not a vegan restaurant, but the vegan options were plentiful. Our selections can be seen below.

mixed mushroom, porcini and ale pie served with fries and mushy peas

mixed mushroom, porcini and ale pie served with fries and mushy peas

burrito filled with spicy black turtle beans, corn, red pepper and green tomatillo rice,  topped with spicy sauce served with iceberg, guacamole and pico de gallo

burrito filled with spicy black turtle beans, corn, red pepper and green tomatillo rice, topped with spicy sauce served with iceberg, guacamole and pico de gallo

I really liked the mushroom pie and Dan really liked the burrito (though not the “spicy sauce”, which wasn’t really spicy but had some flavor in it Dan wasn’t really into. Cilantro, maybe?), so we mostly stuck to our own dishes. The chips were well fried and appreciated by all, and the mushy peas were the surprise hit of the day. They were like green mashed potatoes. Delish. Also, surprising, those two entrees left us stuffed. So, for a complete meal we spent around $35 total. Not too bad. Though I did wish I had had room for dessert, even though it was better for the budget that I didn’t!