**Currently blogging from South Africa! Which is super exciting, but also means I have limited Internet connection. Later this week I hope to have more reliable Internet. Until then, this post might be a little unorganized. Please bear with me! And happy MoFo-ing!**
I was back in Chicago just long enough to get that overwhelming itch to travel. The great part about being involved in global health is there is always some conference in a faraway place that offers the perfect excuse to do so. Back to the airport I went – this time heading towards Johannesburg, South Africa.
A few airlines fly to Joburg from the US. I found a Virgin Atlantic flight with a long layover in London. A lot of layovers I’ve had before were either too short or occurred overnight, which meant I could only experience a country from the airport or hotel room. Luckily, my layover was from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, so I had the whole day to explore the city. The only thing I didn’t enjoy about the flight was the duration – it was actually too short! Flight time was about 7 hours, which meant most of that time had passed once the meal was over and there wasn’t much time for sleep. This might be a good thing for some people, but I have gotten accustomed to long flights and can also sleep almost anywhere. I wouldn’t have minded a few extra hours on the plane, but I imagine most people would disagree.
The Piccadilly Line
After clearing customs, I hopped on the tube to get to central London. The process was simple and straightforward. There are a few different transportation options, but I wasn’t pressed for time so I chose the cheaper route. A ticket into the city from the Heathrow airport was under £6 each way. If you are taking the tube during a layover, do allow sufficient time to return to the airport. Although the Piccadilly line can be reached from within the airport, keep on mind that it’s also a bit of a walk to get there. Some trains stop and terminal 5 and some stop at terminal 4, so you may need to wait for the appropriate train. There is also an 8 minute stop at terminal 4 before arriving at terminals 1, 2, and 3 and some of the gates also require a bit of walking (10-20 minutes). Give yourself enough time to get there.
I stumbled upon a restaurant just outside of the South Hampton station. Turns out it was actually a chain with locations all over London. They offered many healthier and fresh choices – lots of soups, salads, and sandwiches. I found another one later in the airport and grabbed a veggie sandwich. My stomach wasn’t quite convinced that it was time to eat yet, so I also grabbed some fruit and a few naked bars at a grocery store to snack on while I was out.
(Note: As usual, I didn’t really know where I was going and hopped off a random stop in central London. (It sounded English enough. And I knew I could always hop back on the tube or catch a bus if it didn’t work out.) This took me to an area near a few museums, including the natural history museum. But if there is something in particular that you really want to see, there are plenty of stations that can get you close to where you want to go.)
A Walk in the Royal Park
Just when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with all the people, buildings, noises, and fast pace of the city, you can easily find a tranquil moment in one of London’s beautiful parks.
How cool is this tree?
In Search of the Muffin Man
Is he the muffin man?
I found myself strolling down Drury Lane. (Ok, I followed a map to get there. And it wasn’t easy because I’m horrible with directions. But naturally, finding the residence of Mr. Muffin Man was a top priority.) As I wandered down the street, I kept my eyes (and nose?) peeled for any signs of freshly baked pastries. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the muffin man. Someone really needs to open up a bakery over there. Drury Lane Muffins. Any takers?
Oh yeah, Happy Vegan MoFo!
If you’re here for Vegan Month of Food, welcome to Chreese on Toast! If you have no idea what that is, you can read more about it here. But basically, it gives me a chance to repeatedly say “MoFo” for 30 consecutive days, while also blogging about vegan eats and adventures. I jumped into it a few years ago when I first started this blog and I’m excited to be back again! This year I’m combining Vegan MoFo with another passion – travel!
If you haven’t noticed already, I get around.. So far this year I have been in 15 different airports in 10 countries on 4 continents. And in the last two years I have circumnavigated the globe twice – once in each direction. Throughout my travels, I have have come across so many delicious and unique dishes. My hope during this month of food is to share recipes, lessons, tips, and stories from around the globe. This week I will be blogging from South Africa! I hope to see you around!
And a question for all of you MoFo-er’s: What would you like to see more of this month (recipes, travel, nutrition?) and what countries or regions would you like to explore?Leave me a comment and I’ll try to incorporate your responses! It’s going to be a great month!