Tag Archives: England

Bye London!

8 Nov

Time passes when one is having fun, despite the rain and cold! We could not get to see all and do all. We left London this morning for Dublin, Ireland. And it will be colder. Shudder.

Well, got to take it in stride and bundle up to keep warm!

A Wet Sunday

7 Nov

The weather ramped up the wet condition on Sunday. Rain was more frequent and heavier! Ugh. So we had to improvise our plans.

We started the day a little later than usual, as the toasty warmth of the bed over the wet conditions outside was much better. But we had to get going; we are not in London to stay in bed!

Royal Borough of Kensington
Breakfast

We walked over to the Royal Borough of Kensington for brunch before making our way to the Diana Memorial. Then it rained.

The Diana Memorial

So we took cover in Fortnum & Mason. And since we were there, we bought tea and more tea! Hehe, why not? When the rain let up a little, we trodded on to Buckingham Palace to do some touristy picture shots.

At the Buckingham Palace

Although the rain derailed our plans, it did not upset us. We walked, we saw, and we discovered new things. My only regret is we missed out on The National Art Gallery. Oh well.

Hyde Park
The Apple Store and around the city

Unfazed by the Weather, Part 2

7 Nov
Borough Market

The Borough Market was a pleasant discovery! The myriad of fresh produce colors was a delight to the eyes, a nice change from the dull gray skies. I was amazed that a simple staple like cheese had so many vendors showcasing their variety of cheeses. The fresh vegetables were very colorful and made great photography.

All kinds of cheese!

By then, we were tired because of the weather. However, by five, we decided to head back to our hotel to freshen up because, at nine, we had a Candle Performance, Tribute to Hans Zimmer, to attend in Central Hall Westminster.

Candlelight Performance

We had great Kodak moments, taking pictures of landmarks nearby before going for the live music performance. The soothing string quartet lulled me to nap and have a good rest, I have to admit because I was so tired then.

After the performance, there was worry that the Tube service may be disrupted because of some impending strike. So we hurried as best as we could in the rain and cold. When we reached our hotel, I wished I could swap my overused legs for new ones! Even my Blundstones could not help me with the 22,071 steps and 14.44km adventure!

Unfazed by the Weather

6 Nov

Sometimes weather plays a role in determining the outcome of a holiday outing is a success or not. It drizzled yesterday morning, but we were unfazed by it. I was clever enough to pack an umbrella, and it came in handy!

Tempting displays caught our eye!

We had another pastry breakfast to start our day. Luckily, the rain was light, and I did not need to open the umbrella. But when I had to, it was cold. Brr. I had to wear my gloves.

Pastries and sandwich for breakfast

We passed St Paul’s Cathedral and headed towards the Millennium Bridge to check out Tate Museum. The timing was perfect as we spent two hours indoors, staying warm and out of the drizzling conditions.

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Uber Boat anyone?

There were many interesting art pieces on display. However, two works caught our eye, not so much for their visual impact but for the lack of it instead. What qualifies these two non-visuals as art, displayed at Tate Modern? The concept? The process? They were blank canvases, for goodness sake! It baffled us to no end.

This is art? Or is this art?
Two embossed circles and dots make this art?

After Tate, we headed to Starbucks for a quick bite and cold coffee to refuel our energy. We passed Amazon Fresh and trodded on toward the Shard for a picture opportunity and discovered the Borough Market in that area. What a pleasant discovery!

Up and About, Part 2

5 Nov

After leaving The British Museum, we headed over to the Theatre District. The ice cream shop caught my eye! We must have ice cream despite the cold.

There’s a conveyor belt for the cheeses at The Cheese Bar

The honeycomb biscoff choice was excellent. Fueled with a sudden sugar rush, everyone caught a second wind in energy, and we continued. It felt like dinner time because night has fallen. But it was only 5.00pm! What?! There’s still a long way to go before dinner time.

Covent Garden

So we went to Covent Garden first, then to Chinatown for dessert to enjoy a hot Matcha Green Tea with cheese and Mochi. The drink was very yummy! Somehow a hot drink made us feel colder instead of ice cream. We decided then it was time for dinner.

Chinatown

The Fish & Chips portions were huge but delicious, nonetheless. Sated but tired, everyone agreed it was time to make our way back to the hotel. By the time we reached our room. I registered 21,231 steps and clocked in 13.25km for the day! What a record. Oh, by the way, my Move and Stand streak in the Fitness app did not end during the flight. And with more walking ahead, these streaks will go on. Yay!

Theatre District

Up and About

5 Nov

Our hotel room is small but sufficient. The beds are comfortable, and that first night, tiredness kicked in after a simple souvlaki dinner. We were all knocked out!

Greek beer and souvlaki for dinner

Refreshed after a good night’s sleep, we were ready to explore the next day. It was eight degrees Celsius when we stepped out of the building. In moments like this, the face masks were handy to keep our nose and cheeks warm!

The day started with a pastry and coffee breakfast. The cinnamon pretzel choice was the biggest we have seen. As big as the face, the pretzel alone could feed us all! We sat outside on the walkway of the pastry shop, and that was nice. The fat pigeon was watching us the whole time!

We took the Tube to the Bank of England to exchange some old currency notes, no longer accepted as legal tender, for new ones. It would be wise to do this unless you want to keep them as souvenirs.

But the line was very long, and the Security Officer suggested we do this at the Post Office around the corner if our amount was not in abundance. It was good advice, for we got this done in less than ten minutes instead of waiting an hour and a half.

After settling this, we headed to King’s Cross to see the iconic Platform 9 3/4. And what a crowd there was for the famous Harry Potter scene! We decided to skip the queue and still managed to snap a decent picture from the side.

The platform and queue, and the gift shop

It was a sunny day, so we kept our activities outdoors. The next stop was Coal Drops Yard before meeting an old friend for lunch. So good to see him after all these years!

We parted ways after the pleasant meal, and we continued with our adventure. At our friend’s suggestion, we thought getting on a Hop On Hop Off open-topped double-decker bus was excellent to take in all the sights. But it was already 2.00pm, and there may not be enough time. The sun sets around 4.30pm!

We decided to go indoors instead and headed over to The British Museum. We spent time in the museum until the closing hour, oohing and aahing over relics and artifacts. But if given a choice, I’d rather ooh and aah over paintings than headless and armless stone figurines and stone relics missing noses and head gears, you know?

The British Museum

London Bound

4 Nov

I woke up at 3.44am, a minute before the alarm rang. The body knows when the situation calls for it. Our pick-up arrived on time, and the journey to the airport was long enough to nap a little for the loss of sleep.

Every step of the way, it was pleasant to start the trip well! And before we knew it, we were boarding! That’s when the hiccups started. Instead of departing as scheduled at 9.05am, the plane pushed off at 9.38am and took off only at 9.55am. A good solid 50 minutes late! Hmm.

Happy travelers!

I was so glad the first meal was served an hour after take-off because I was ravenous! The Airbus A350-900 seating configuration was a three-three-three in the economy section and comfortable enough for us small-sized people. But the comfort level may not be so for a larger built or bigger-sized passenger.

Breakfast on board

Anyway, I watched two movies and slept whenever I could; likewise, hubby and the girls too to pass the time. I lost track of time, and suddenly, the aircraft was descending! Oh yay! We are almost there.

We touched down at 3.22pm local time despite departing 50 minutes late. That’s good. Immigration clearance was smooth, but baggage claim took a little longer. So yay, here we are in London!

Off to See the King!

3 Nov

Today’s the day! We left in the wee hours of the morning. It’s been ages since I last woke up so early, and my usual 5.30 am wake-up for golf pales compared to this ungodly hour. I might as well not sleep and get ready for the airport straightaway.

It will be a long day ahead with our direct flight. I have forgotten what it’s like to be on a long-haul flight. And this journey will take 14 hours and 20 minutes, a little longer than the last time we flew to Amsterdam. Oh boy, my butt and body.

Separately, I’m a little bummed that my Move, Exercise, and Stand activities will be disrupted, thus ending my long record of 1,053 days in the Fitness app on my AppleWatch. Oh well, it is for a good reason; we are off to England, sadly not to see the Queen (God bless her soul) but the new King!