Tag Archives: London

In Denial

29 Nov

You know it’s back to reality when the alarm rings, and there’s so much to clear and unpack upon waking up. I was in denial over the weekend upon returning from Bali, even going for a movie, before I tackled the things left in the bags or scattered in the house.

Well, no more trips for the time being. I need to get back to my routine. Speaking of it, I’m not too sure about my golf game as I have gone a month without playing. We will see when I tee off on Thursday morning. Perhaps I better prepare with more golf balls in the bag.

End of the Adventure

16 Nov

It has been a whirlwind trip for us, with the big city lights, attractions, crowds, sights, cold, smells, food, wind, graduation, colder temperatures, sceneries, and smells.

We took it all in stride. When we see what the other side of the world faces daily, I think it makes us appreciate our home more.

The cold weather and the wind were a challenge. And wearing four to five layers is not something we enjoy doing, but we have to do it to stay warm. The wind is the killer factor, and that makes it unbearable at times.

The graduation ceremony was the highlight of the trip. It is hard to describe our pride and joy in seeing our baby receive her degree. A new exciting chapter awaits her life.

As much as we enjoy going on an extended holiday, I’m glad our adventure is coming to an end. We now have to prepare for hot and humid conditions back home. It will be uncomfortable to readjust, but we have had enough of the cold and wind.

Goodbye Ireland, we leave with good memories.

Around Dublin

9 Nov

Dublin may be a city, but it feels less crowded, and the public tram transport, the Luas, moves slower than the Tube in London. People here walk and do not rush. It was a windy nine-degree morning, and we took the opportunity to walk around the city center yesterday.

I am not ashamed to say I wore five layers! Well, I had to bundle up to stay warm if we were to do Dublin on foot.

We also did the Jameson Distillery tour towards the end of the day. By evening, it was colder, and I sure was glad I had my layers.

Hello Dublin!

8 Nov

It was gloomy when we arrived in Dublin. Our RyanAir flight was delayed a bit due to the weather. But no further delay in clearing immigration and getting the bags. Our prearranged transport was right there waiting for us.

The chatty, friendly driver kept us entertained with his Irish hospitality during the ride. Before we knew it, we were at the doorsteps of our hotel!

This city center hotel is much more comfortable than the one in London. More spacious and thoughtful in terms of essentials like USB ports and plug points at each bedside!

Thoughtful touch at each bedside

After settling down, we went out in search for food and ended up at a pub. I am not a Guinness drinker, so I opted for an Irish lager. I have never had a beer that had such a big beerhead. My Rockshore lager was divine! Our pub grub was very satisfying. Lots of potatoes, which should not be a surprise as Ireland is the land of potatoes!

Our pub grub: seafood chowder, cottage beef pie, braised beef and Galic chicken

It was drizzling but windy, with gusts up to 34km/hour! Our driver had advised us earlier not to bring out the umbrella because I would end up fighting for the umbrella’s life. It was certainly good advice to follow.

Both hubby and I also changed our berets to beanies because the berets will fly off in the wind! So different from London. With rainy, windy, and chilly conditions ahead, our plans may change to suit the weather. We shall see.

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