More London, more Aussies, more fun...
London Travel Blog› entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
August 14th, 2005 – by: Vikram
First annoying observation - the sun rises VERY early in London during summer. 5:30am in my opinion is a bit of stretch. And it doesn't help that I asked for an east facing room, and the smartness that I am decided to keep both windows and curtains open before I slept the previous night.
Also, before I forget, after turning in the previous night, I was woken by another new roommate who showed up at 3am. Kiwi again, and a very talkative one, bless him. Anyways I got up by 8am on Sunday morning with a big list of things to see and do. But I ended up taking my own sweet time to get ready. And having 3 uber-social roommates didn't help much either, all 3 Kiwis were telling me about their backpacking experiences as well as plugging NZ as the perfect backpackers' destination.... next thing I know, it was around 10am. Time to stop the banter and get around London town!
Breakfast (at 11am!) was by some coffee shop right across the Earl's Court station. It was decent enough, at least got my batteries charged for what I was hoping would be a hectic day (like the previous day).
I took the tube to Bond Street. And talk about fodder for a shopaholic, I walk out of that station onto Oxford Street and staring at me is b.loody Topman! I spent a good 2 hrs in this store (British fashion rules. Very hip and trendy and cool), and bought myself quite a few hoodies. Rest of the day was spent wandering around Oxford Street - usual chain stores and stuff. And yes, Thortons'!
In terms of variety, I think Sunday was a lot quieter than Saturday as I was pretty much heading in and out of stores and shopping malls.I know I said this about Earl's Court and the same applies to Oxford Street - roads are so narrow. But I just love British traffic. Whlist crowded and backed up, I never felt that I'd have a problem driving on the streets. They're all very polite and very organised.
I don't know the name of the intersecting street, but it's right outside the Oxford Tube station, and it's got FCUK, Benetton and H&M...that part of Oxford Street is so so picturesque. Lovely white and dull coloured buildings, it's a delight just clicking away. I took a 10 min "foto break" for this. And ended up capturing what I'd consider one of the best snaps of my trip.
Weatherwise, today I experienced the classic "4 seasons in 1 day" British weather that everyone talks about and loves.I went from wearing my rain poncho to my jacket to just my tee in a span of 3 hrs. But I quite enjoyed it. As I mentioned in another thread a few months ago, what I like about British rain during summer is that it drizzles for a few minutes and stops, an ideal opportunity for a caffeine fix.
Lunch was at "Hog in the Pound" that's... well let's just say a 3 minute walk from Thorntons'. I quite liked this place. Seems very traditionally English - I went to the pub in the basement and had my favourite fish and chips (before anyone asks, YES I know I'm vegetarian, but it's ok to break a rule every now and then!). It was really good, although I don't understand the British obsession with peas. Where do peas figure in the fish'n'chips thing?! And so many! I do however love the different sauces - red sauce, brown sauce and my favourite tartar sauce. I took my own sweet time for lunch, for some reason I was feeling a bit tired.
Got done with lunch around 3pm and continued my walk around Oxford Street.I finally got to see Selfridges. Looks posh from outside, nowhere as posh as Harrods IMHO but nice all the same. I didn't go inside, my legs were aching and I just wasn't upto it.
I finally found my way upto Marble Arch and couldn't resist taking pix there. Another "London" spot. U have the arch, lots of colourful double decker buses passing, a park, etc. Very nice basically.
Finally caught the tube, got back around 6pm to the hostel. Spent some time with those Kiwi boys who were proudly displaying a jacket they bought for a pound, s'posedly made out of "Recycled material" from some Camden flea market. I really couldn't tell, it looked like a regular poncho to me. But they were generally exalting Camden and what a must-see it is.(That's one thing I heard from a lot of people, and I'm gutted that I couldn't go there).
That DK book led me to believe that the British Museum is open till 11pm on Sundays so after a caffeine fix and hot shower, I caught the tube to the museum. It was quite difficult finding it. And for a city that's so cosmo, it looked so deserted at around 8pm in the evening. I was quite surprised. Practically no one on the street. I kept going round and round in circles until some Japanese gentleman helped me in finding the location to the museum. I just loved its look from outside. And having heard so much about the Egyptian exhibits on this forum, I couldn't wait to see them. And so I proudly waltzed in through the gates when security ran and stopped me with "We're closed suh". Awful. I verified in my DK book, it said open till Sundays 11pm, and I did have the latest edition too. Oh well... looks like someone needs correcting!
Anyways, it was nearing 9:30p so decided to head back to Earl's Court.Dinner was at "Siam Garden", a RIP-OFF Thai rsnt there. I simply cannot tell you how expensive Thai rsnts are in the UK. And I can't, for the life of me figure out why rice is considered a separate order from the curries. I could understand for takeaways but not for dine-in's. And seeing as this is the 1st time I'm going to a Thai rsnt in the UK, I didn't even know that you're s'posed to order rice separate, it's not part of the curry. I asked the lady when I ordered the curry , "And I assume it comes with rice right" for which she says "oh no. Rice is optional. You can order it if you want to". I promptly shot back - "well then, is there anything else with which you'd suggest I eat my curry with besides rice?" and all she did was grin at that. Dear Lord!
After all this, the food was sooooo average. I asked particularly for it to be spicy. Spicy my ----! It just looked like a lot of green colouring agent was dashed in liberally. To make things worse, I wasn't listening when that lady asked "sparkling water?" for which I've said yes.It's my first time drinking "sparkling water" and GAAWDDD!! ... drinking that thing was like drinking Eno. One experience best forgotten, I'll leave it that. :-) Proved to me finally that food in the UK is all about M&S takeaways and Thortons', and not fancy Thai garden style rsnts.
I finally made it back to the hostel by 11pm. Checked email and slept, ready to begin my backpacking in Bath the next day.
My 2nd day, compared to the 1st wasn't as memorable. I was hoping to have done a bit of Camden, at least see the place but that couldn't happen too. Moreso, I think jetlag caught up and I was feeling a bit tired. Seeing as it was the start of the trip, I didn't want to push it either. So I was happy relaxing and just taking in the sights.
I left the next day to Bath, and would be returning to London after 12 days to spend a week in London with my mum and dad. That set of reports coming up soon!
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