London again~

London Travel Blog

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Wooh, another last minute trip. There have been so many last-time trip decisions this year. Probably it is because of my work commitment. I cant believe how late I finalise all the things for this trip. The air tickets and accommodation were confirm 3 weeks before departure, some of the train and admission tickets were bought only 1 week in advance, and my sister managed to change her currency in the airport before we depart.
We managed to booked air tickets on the new Airbus A380 for a few dollars more as compared to the package offered by BA. It was exciting, very exciting that I actually get to travel in the giant baby for this trip. Of course, when Singapore Airlines took the first flight last year, I have some very deep concerns. But it was alright.
More SIA girls ("Hi, good evening, welcome onboard, hi, good evening, welcome onboard").
I think I got too used to them already. But anyway, as we took an overnight flight, and expect to reach very early in London, we desparately want to have a good rest. Though A380 boast more leg space for the economy class, I felt that my seat was burdened by the pillow, blanket, my jacket and bag. The only thing I enjoyed most is the entertainment set. They have many movies, which I promise myself to watch those which I missed through my over 20 hours journey to and from London. I started with "Red Cliff".
Anyway, after "Red Cliff" and some other movies and a few hours nap, we reached Heathrow. Smooth check-out and transfer to our hotel.
The bus driver was very kind, he told us the important things to note about visiting London. Quite a nice way to welcome visitors to London.
Right, as we arrived in Heathrow 6am, my intial plan is to check in at our hotel to get some rest, then set out to explore London early afternoon. However, when we reached the hotel, we were told that check-in is 2pm. So, we were now officially lingering souls, with nowhere to go. We put our bags at the luggage area, washed-up and forced ourselves to walk to the nearest place with food for breakfast.
We booked Novotel London West for our accommodation, which is located not very near the main tourists areas in London. Luckily, there is an undergound shopping centre in the Hammersmith Tube station which was very near our hotel. We just went to Macdonalds to grab a quick breakfast. I got Oyster for both my mum and sis and we set off in the direction towards Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.
I admit I wasnt as prepared for this London trip as compared to my last trip. We got down at Westminster, and then the first thing we saw was the Parliament House. Because we were so close to the building, we could really see the majesty of the structure. Anyway, it was a strategic exit, because all of us are overwhelmed by the sights that greeted us once we emerged from the Tube station. There is Boudica statue (I think it is Boudica and her daughters, got to confirm again), Eye across the Thames, roads and cars and people.
We dont really have a destination so I thought it would be just a good idea, to roam the area (We were still half zombic). So we managed to walk a small lane, which led us to a very quite place. It is a green patch with buildings surrounding it. At first I thought, thats it, we are lost and it is only the first day. There is not exit sign, no signs of any people around. The place quiet and creepy, because there are plants climbing the walls of the buidlings. Of all the places to get lost, I have to get lost at such a creepy place, which my mum and sis looking at me for direction. Luckily, one guy jumped out from one of the building and walked purposefully to one corner. By instinct, I followed him. There is an exit and once there, I saw the familiar sight of the gothic design  of Westminster Abbey. I thought we need to pay to get into the Abbey. Then, I looked back at saw that we were at some Dean's square or something like that, and it says "Private property". Well, lucky we acted natural enough to escape any interrogation. I think it is ok to just pass by, we didnt force our entry anyway.
Then, we walked to Birdcage walk, because I knew it will bring us to Buckingham Palace, and St James Park. So it is a long long walk. I vaguely remember how my leg suffered, so I repeatedly remind my mum and sis to tell me if they are too tired to go on. Anyway, it was quite a nice walk because it was still morning. We were delighted to see squirrels, the last time I saw one was the one which fell on me when I was in Hong Kong Ocean Park (what happened to Singapore squirrels? I went to bukit timah with my colleagues and we failed to spot one!). Anyway, I think the squirrels were busy foraging for winter, because every 5 steps, you see another squirrel on the ground. They are soooo cute..
Then we saw a crowd in front of us, I saw that we were nearing a building, Guards building. Oh yar, I remembered. The time is near the Changing of Guards. This got my spirit up because I missed the Changing last time, and I can only catch the Changing this day or two days later. So we spent a lot of time watching the guards doing inspection, playing music to entertain us, and we followed them to Buckingham Palace. Mum was very interested so we spend a lot of time there. Finally I got to see the guards with the tall, furry hat in red tunics. Anyway, the sun was out, and we just lingered around the palace and Victoria monument before walking towards Nelson Column to find food.
After a long hard walk and satisfying meal at a Korean restaurant, we went back to check-in. It was a nice feeling to settle down, bathed and all and we slept at 4pm. It is going to be a hectic day tomorrow because we planned to go to Salisbury. The thing which worried me most throughout the whole trip is our Paris day trip on Day 3, because I dont know what will happen. And as I said, all of us are not very prepared for Paris, except equipping ourselves with Euros, Eurostar tickets and knowing that there is a L'Open busstop outside the Gare De Nord station. But there is no time to worry about that. I was so tired that I slept 15 hours and woke up the next morning for Salisbury.
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photo by: ulysses