LONDON, U.K.

Tripoto
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4 full days wandering about London and man, it’s not enough, not enough. Most of the time we were scampering from one point to the next. Even then, we had not seen it all, had not seen enough, watched enough nor tasted enough.

If you have plans to: 1) shop 2) watch musical 3) visit the tourist attractions 4) visit the markets 5) go to museums, I’d recommend at least 7 full days. Well, at least that’s the time I wish I had. I wish I could visit more markets (I only covered Camden Market and Borough Market) and I wished I had a night (where I wasn’t so exhausted after walking the whole day) to club. London is a prime spot for a couple of other day trips out as well, and if you do want to visit other parts of UK, be sure to allow even more time.

Public transport within London costed me SGD 60 for that 4 full days. Each train ride costs ~SGD 5, while the bus is relatively cheaper. I noticed that the bus drivers are separated from the passengers by a transparent panel sandwiched between them and the passengers, unlike in France where there is no physical barrier between them. I thought it symbolised the emotional connection between the driver and passenger quite representatively too.

Meals cost easily SGD 20. There are SGD 15 options if you look hard and aren’t fussy aka street stalls or fast food chains.

I’m sure London needs no introduction, nor mapping. I came to realise how more Singaporeans than I expected have moved to London to do their bachelor’s degree. Wished I had the time to meet up with them too, but time was very tight on my trip there. I’ve been procrastinating on this post for the longest time now simply because of the sheer number of places we’ve visited (and the accompanying photos that follows).

To keep things organized, I have laid out my content in the following order:

Personal touch- CNY celebration, climbing trip, Matilda musical

Tourist hunts

Food & markets we’ve visited are reserved for a separate post.

1. PERSONAL TOUCH

This was WL’s first stop from Singapore. After 2.5 months, we’re finally reunited!

We kickstarted the night with salmon, mussels in white wine sauce and some wine. This has got to be my best home-cooked dish in the entire time I’ve been overseas. Made none other than our superb host, Leonard.

It was also the eve of the eve of CNY (17 Feb). We just came back from CNY shopping at Chinatown street. It was where I found the one and only (monopoly) bubble tea shop to cost ~ SGD8 per cup? On a side note, that got me craving for milk tea so badly so I bought the bottled one at the Chinese shop. Heh.

Below shows our steamboat spread for CNY (19 Feb). I can’t believe I would have this opportunity to eat steamboat in Europe. What a joy! I remember feeling very deprived of fish and prawns. So when the ever-talented cook Leonard cooked fresh fish for us, and with 2 of the guys being averse to fresh fish, I unabashedly claimed the whole fish for myself. 8)

We improvised steamboat using a rice cooker. Again, we have much to thank Leonard for not only being helpful with the planning of our itinerary, but for also being a splendid cook! Felt so blissed. ;)

Since we were in the company of climbers, how could we miss out on it?! This was, and still is, my sole climbing trip since the beginning of exchange so far. :/ It was a novel experience to climb in the cold + dry. No sweaty palms, no slippery tiles.

Watched Matilda the musical for SGD 10. It’s a steal, considering we woke up before the sun was up to be the first in queue. We arrived 3 hours before the box office opened at 10.30am. That’s how long we stood/ sat in the morning chill. My toes were frozen midway through the wait.

To WL’s disappointment, we didn’t manage to win the lottery ticket to watch Book of Morman for SGD 40. Hence we didn’t watch it at all.

I also lost my beloved glove in London while rushing for the lottery ticket draw. :(

2. TOURIST HUNTS

How else can I begin other than the famous London telephone booths? No, posing with the booth is too cliche. I like a lone, bright booth. Take it or leave it. Besides, drunkards conveniently pee inside these booths in the middle of the night when everywhere is closed. Talk about being iconic.

CHINATOWN

TRAFALGAR SQUARE

HORSE GUARDS BUILDING

BIG BEN

Needs no further introduction. It was overcrowded with people that it dampened the charm of it.

LONDON EYE

Buckingham PALACE

THE SHARD

Saw this from a distance. Very distinct. One of the tallest buildings in the world, at 87 storeys.

TOWER BRIDGE

My favourite attraction of all! Can’t help that I have a thing for bridges and this bridge is in bright blue instead of the usual copper-brown colours. It sounds like I’m describing a toy bridge but when I was actually on it, it is pretty dazzling! Now I wish I had a memento of this bridge…

Here’s an interesting one. This picture depicts new age technology consumers. Given that I’ve just finished writing a report about digital technology, I found this picture rather apt in describing the humans in this age. There is a really gripping article that I found while researching. It called out to me, and I strongly suggest you read it too.

En route, we walked through old-fashioned buildings set in a modern setting. They looked like garages-turned-office-spaces. I found them really pretty.

My favourite exterior design below! I didn’t visit this restaurant, but passing by it, the striking red windows, rustic brick building, and gold finishes on its street lamps and signboard complemented each other so well that I couldn’t rid my eyes off it.

LONDON BRIDGE

Very… nondescript, in contrast to the Tower Bridge. Different from my childhood expectations of a London Bridge.

MILLENIUM BRIDGE

Made me wonder if Singapore’s Helix Bridge somehow got the idea from here ‘cuz of their similar features.

ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

On the way we also passed by:

Tate Modern (museum), Tower of London (museum), Pretty buildings of London below.

Other attractions that should not be missed are:

Oxford Street– the shopping street of London

St. Christopher’s Place– a side street along Oxford Street, at night the restaurants light up, offering a quieter (compared to bustling Oxford Street), saner and more conducive place for a quiet evening with your companion(s).

St James’ Park

Hyde Park

Goodge street– look for hidden cool pubs!

Seven Dials– seven streets that converge to the seven-faced dial, with each street filled with plenty of shopping opportunities. Shops like Holland & Barrett, American Outfitters, Mango, Hollister and other cafes can be found here.

Picadilly Circus– for the musical-fanatic.

Accom: courtesy of Leonard Expenses: SGD 674.33 Bristol-London: SGD 20.40 by bus

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