London, England

  We took a bus from Amsterdam to London. It was a really long drive, and bus had to be put on a ship before we could reach London.

1240635_10153276031285220_1693902635_n

Victoria Station

We arrived early in the morning at Victoria Station and took the London Underground to our hostel, probably the worst one we had. It was a long walk lugging all our baggage along.

Our first stop was Portobello Market.

993405_10153276031095220_269914349_n

1229941_10153276032190220_1232170709_n

Portobello Market

It was a wet and gloomy day, like most days in London. Nothing really was open on that day, so we just grabbed a burger, a very delicious one, before heading to Camden Lock Market.

But first, we got off at King’s Cross to find Platform 9 3/4. I am pretty disappointed that I don’t have a picture of myself pushing that darn trolley!

At King’s Cross station, I found my Cornish pastry at one of many Cornish Pasty Co. stores.

998981_10153276032325220_403347507_n

Cornish Pasty

It is a huge pastry, and comes in different flavours. But you can’t go wrong with the traditional, which contains beef and potatoes. So delicious!

1237889_10153276034775220_1270653614_n
Camden Lock Market

At Camden Lock Market, you can find everything from fashion, to books, to art and lots of food as well.

994821_10153276038225220_1643516859_n

We walked around until almost closing time, which is also the perfect time to have dinner there, as the stalls are all clearing their food for the day. Expect huge servings at a lower cost. We had decent Chinese food there, and some free add-ins as the stall keeper found out we were from Singapore!

Later that night, we made our way to Oxford Circus, which is one of the busiest intersections in London, for a stroll and maybe some shopping.

526883_10153276039495220_1935964657_n
Oxford Circus

As we were walking down the street, I spotted a Ben’s Cookies outlet. I swear, they have one of the most delicious cookies ever, and an extensive range of flavours to choose from. But beware, these cookies are huge and they are sinful.

We shopped at Primark, our virgin experience, and we went all crazy and bought way too much. I also bought a coat for myself, as I had stupidly left my jackets in my luggage which was sitting in Warsaw. Everything at Primark is so cheap, it’s easy to go overboard. I also bought my stupidly cheap pair of boots there. Boots are a must in chilly/wet European weather.

The next morning, Dj and I met Benji and we walked along the river and to the Tower of London.

537018_10153276041715220_1637243359_n

Riverside Walk

1231697_10153276044720220_2146253624_n

Part of Tower of London

We took a stroll around the financial district while waiting to meet with the rest. There were some interesting buildings around.

1233527_10153276047765220_726940152_n

30 St Mary Axe (a.k.a. The Gherkin)

When we reunited with the rest, we walked to the Tower Bridge.  Tower Bridge, not to be mistaken for London Bridge – and therefore, has nothing to do with the song “London Bridge is Falling Down – crosses the Thames and was built to keep up with increased commercial development in the East End of London.

IMG_7356

IMG_7366

Tower Bridge

From Tower Bridge, we made our way to Borough Market. I was really excited about because I had heard so much about it. I was saving some space in my tummy for this visit.

IMG_7385

Hungry souls at Borough Market

IMG_7386

English fudge. Incredibly yummy!

IMG_7388

Cakes, cakes and more cakes!

IMG_7394

Sausages

IMG_7409

Moo pie and gravy from Pieminister. Always, I repeat, always, have your pies with gravy.

IMG_7410

Khanom Krok – a delicious Thai coconut custard pancake

IMG_7439

Chorizo roll

IMG_7447

Victoria Sponge Cake from Konditor & Cook. Also try their coffee and walnut cake.

The next time I’m back, I hope The Flour Station is open, because I really must have some Chelsea buns!

Our next stop was to Harrods.

Right outside Harrods, this amazing artist was sketching a portrait the late Princess Diana. For those who don’t know, Princess Diana was dating Dodi Fayed, the son of former owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, at the time of her death. They say, you never forget the day when she died; and it’s true, I still remember the day I heard the news. The only other day I remember so clearly was 9/11.

IMG_7470

970468_10153276113665220_195141065_n

Harrods

Being poor students, the only thing we really could afford was food at Harrods. The food hall is just amazing! Everything from tea, coffee, cakes and pastries, seafood, pies, sushi… You name it, they’ve got it. We bought an assortment of sweets for breakfast the next day.

1238876_10153276104350220_1577106847_n

1239577_10153276110400220_248990988_n

The eating continued. Fish & chips – an English dish we are all too familiar with. Someone had recommended Kerbischer & Malt – an award-winning shop to us, so we decided to have dinner there.

IMG_7590
Battered haddock

Kerbischer & Malt is/was the winner of the best contemporary fish & chips. All their fish are from sustainable sources. We had the battered haddock with chips, and shared some fried calamari rings and fish cakes. Verdict: Good, but I prefer my Fish & Co.

I’m sorry.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to catch the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. For short people like me, it is recommended that you be there early to get a good spot. I was terribly annoyed with the taller people who refused to show any sympathy.

1231285_10153276135060220_1218609193_n

Changing the Guard

IMG_7680

As you exit Green Park station for Buckingham Palace, there is a very green park right outside. I don’t mean to sound really lame, but it’s true; they probably named it Green Park because the trees and grass are just really THAT DAMN GREEN.

IMG_0885

My favourite photo of us, ever! 

IMG_7703

Green Park

Sandemans also runs free walking tours in London. We went for the tour after Buckingham Palace and photo spam at Green Park. There were a lot of people on the tour, which meant we had to keep up or risk missing something interesting. Also, I found that 2.5 hours wasn’t enough for a tour of London. Definitely not one of the better Sandemans tours, but I would still recommend going for it, since you pay what you think it’s worth.

IMG_7769

Sandemans free walking tour

IMG_8034

Westminster Abbey

This is one place I regret not entering. I think the price of the entry ticket really turned us off since we were on a budget. The next time I’m in London, I will visit Westminster Abbey for sure. This Gothic church is where coronations were held, where royal weddings are still held (including that of Prince William and Kate Middleton), and where many notable people are buried (including Charles Darwin).

IMG_7810

Houses of Parliament

Our free walking tour ended at the Houses of Parliament. This building has a gruesome past, and we heard lots of torture stories in full detail. The size of this piece of art is just amazing! The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, also consists of one of the most iconic landmarks of London – the Big Ben. Big Ben is the name of the bell of the clock tower – the Elizabeth Tower.

After the free walking tour, I had the most unforgettable meal of possibly, my whole life.

Burger & Lobster is a fantastic restaurant with five outlets in London. We went to the one at Soho. The concept is simple – 3 items on the menu, each at £20. You can choose from lobster, lobster roll or burger. I recommend going for the lobster. I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, but this, I simply could not miss.

IMG_7862

Burger & Lobster

A whole lobster, served with lemon butter and a side of fries and salad for just £20. Considering how delicious this was, definitely £20 well spent! We even joked about (or maybe we weren’t joking) coming back the next day if we had any leftover Pounds.

Not far from Burger & Lobster was The Hummingbird BakeryThe Hummingbird Bakery is famous for their cupcakes, cakes and brownies, especially their Red Velvet.

IMG_7886

IMG_7877

IMG_7880

994612_10153276195190220_2107767642_n

I got the Red Velvet and Tiramisu cupcakes. This was actually my first time having Red Velvet, and I was slightly disappointed. It was too cloyingly sweet. The Tiramisu was nothing special as well. But their cupcakes and the whole store is really pretty. I would give them another shot.

From Soho, we walked to Chinatown. I don’t remember if we intended to end up there or not, but we did.

1235151_10153276192105220_712761757_n

Chinatown

We chanced upon M&Ms World, a HUGE store, about three levels, that sells merchandise and candy.

1175073_10153276194335220_1415271260_n
M&Ms World

On the very last day, we had until the afternoon before we had to leave London for Paris. I wasn’t too satisfied with the entire trip because I felt like I didn’t get enough good photos. So while the rest decided to spend the last few hours shopping at Primark, Dj and I left bright and early to Buckingham Palace again, to get a shot right at the palace gates.

IMG_7967

We also went back to get a better view of the London Eye and Big Ben once again.

IMG_8002

Big Ben

IMG_7993

London Eye

And we just walked. Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, past parks and memorials… I felt like we had accomplished so much more in just a few hours than we did in the past few days!

563087_10153276293325220_552086658_n

IMG_8083
Red telephone box – Who’s that handsome fella? He looks like my boyfriend!

IMG_7758

1238950_10153276291615220_1102829315_n

2002 Bali bombing memorial opposite Saint James Park

1234479_10153276293805220_570475254_n

IMG_8109

Trafalgar Square

The duration of our stay was simply insufficient to really explore London, and to learn to appreciate the culture of this city. However, we were happy to leave grey skies and pitter-patter rain behind. London is definitely a city that I would return to someday, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

Goodbye, London!

London, England

One thought on “London, England

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s