Monday, July 28, 2014

Europe 2014: London, UK

We flew SQ from Penang and reached London at about 6am in the morning.
We were glad that my dad's friend HP was kind enough to fetch us from the airport. The last thing we wanted was to navigate our way a midst lack of sleep and jetlag. (hubby had a movie-marathon in the plane!).

We chose London as our first stop because it is the only place which speaks a language we understand - English. And we gathered from there, we would familiarize ourselves with our pace, and also to understand metro and train schedules.

We reached HP's place at about 9am and after a light breakfast, we took a short nap before we decided to head out to the city to combat our jetlag, and to hopefully adjust our body to London time asap.
That was probably one of the best decision we made because we were quite fresh after a short nap. And by the time we came back from the city, it was almost 8pm and we were tired and very soon it was time to hit the sack.
So our body adjusted the time beautifully.

London is beautiful. Love the city and the sky is beautiful.
I noticed the skies in other countries are much more blue compared to the skies in Penang. Is it just me?

Anyway, these are some of the places we visited in London.

Tower Bridge, an iconic symbol of London got it's name from the Tower of London, which is just close by.
Tower Bridge is often mistaken for London Bridge, which is another bridge upstream, and unfortunately is just a plain old bridge. 

Although seen it on postcards and images online, to be walking on it was a different and nice experience.
Standing on the bridge, we could see across the famous River Thames.

Parts of the Tower of London nearby.

St. Paul's Cathedral, which sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. It dominated the skyline for more than 300 years, at 365 feet (111m) high. 

The cathedral is also one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London,  

Its dome is also among the highest in the world.

Westminster Abbey, is another large and famous Anglican church. Since built, it has been the place where the coronation of kings and queens of England has been held. It is also a shrine and the burial place of many kings and queens.
Photo source:


The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square.
Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. But with us being museum noobs, we did not enter.

Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, United Kingdom, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. It was a bright and sunny day, so it was very crowded when we were there, with many street performing artists. It is also a good place for people-watching.

The arch or the start of the road towards Buckingham Palace.
The start of a long walk to Buckingham Palace at the end of the road. I guess this is the place of the change of guards which we missed. 

Really disappointed with the Buckingham Palace. Not too impressive except for the landscaped gardens. 

The London Eye, which is the expensive Ferries Wheel, photo taken by day and at night.

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock and its tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. 
Great architectural, and my sis couldn't get enough of it, so we went back three times to take decent photos of the place. 

M&Ms World
in Chinatown. Although it was a few storey big, it was nothing much that we saw as we didn't spend much time there because the moment we entered into the building, we were sick with the sickly sweet smell of M&Ms. 
It was M&Ms overload !


Erm, the compulsary shots of London's icons.


Hubby loved the Borough Market, naturally as the whole place was full of delicious smells of food.


We went where the queue was and it won't be wrong. Some we even needed to queue for more than 20 minutes. Our tummies were satisfied as we had some really delicious fish and prawn wraps. I think they tasted even nicer after the long queue. haha.

And these Westminister Pies were really yummy. Especially with the wine gravy. We tried two and both were equally delicious.

We also ate lots of cherries and strawberries throughout the trip.
Love the vibrant colours of the fruits.

They call their metro the Underground, and trains the Overground.
And their Underground lines are massive. You probably gets bewildered like me if you see their Underground map as a first timer. Many more lines criss-crossing compared to Singapore's or Hong Kong's.

But fret not. They are actually quite easy to understand if you are familiar with taking the metro anywhere else. It works almost the same way. And if you are going to be in London for more than 3 days, most probably the Oyster Card is more worth it for you. Well, it was for us. And there is a daily price cap, which is really good for us.
Me and sis in one of London's Underground train.

And we also had our turns running into the Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Railway Station.
Look at hubby practically doing kungfu with the trolley. lol.
(sneaks: more about Harry Potter world later!)

There was actually a dedicated corner for this with quite a long queue. There are about 3 people manning it and what amazed me was the attitude of the people manning the corner.

They actually smiled and held your your scarf for you (and they even fling it for you!) so that it looked as if your scarf is flying as you dashed into the platform wall.
One man was giving quizzes to the queue and another one of them was even trying to teach us in the queue how to pose to make it look real!
Talk about positive and friendly attitude! It looks like they were really enjoying their job.

I mean, I think they did it like a few thousand times a day, flinging people scarves and repeating the same thing over and over, and yet they did it with a smile and much enthusiasm!

Anyway, we ate one of the yuckiest food in London and also one of the yummiest.
The yuckiest food we had was at a Japanese fast food chain called Itsu.
It tasted so yucky I couldn't finish it (hubby ate my portion). The rice doesn't taste like rice and the soup/broth tasted weird.

And the yummiest food we had was dinner by HP and family at Joy King Lau chinese restaurant in Chinatown.

Just looking at the photos made my saliva drools.
Look at how they just use the chopsticks wrappper, scrunched it and then use it as a chopstick rest. Good idea.


The yam desert was to-die-for. In fact it was so good that we went back the following day on our own just to tarpau (take away) the yam desert.

Besides the nice buildings, what makes me fall in love with London is the variety of broadway shows available in London.
My sis and I had already pre-booked online to watch Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, and it was so nice that we decided to watch another broadway show.

We saw the Queen's Theatre showing Les Miserables when we were walking in Chinatown, we knew we had to watch it. Went back to HP's place and booked online. Paid a fortune for it as there were limited seats available, but no regrets as we were seating at the fourth row and we could see the casts expressions and even their sweat. :)

Ok, that is all for now.
I will be posting about Stonehenge and the Harry Potter World in separate posts.

p/s - Read more on my Europe trip here

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