Tuesday, August 09, 2016

London July 2016 (Part 1)

Showing you all these pictures is a bit surreal.

I've been wanting to go to London since I was eight, the age I read my first Harry Potter book. So you could imagine my glee as soon as I got out of the train from Stansted and feasted my eyes upon a sight that I thought would always stay a dream. 

Looking back now, I can definitely say going to London was one of the highlights of my trip as the reality not only met my expectations, but surpassed it. There's something about those winding streets, mixed architecture, and the slight chill in the air even during the summer that resonated deep with me. Easy to say that I'm definitely coming back some time in the future.

But for now, here is my massive photo diary of my new favourite city (part two to come on Thursday).

I felt so small entering London Liverpool Street pulling along my luggage. I've only seen select parts of Bray and my aunts house in County Clare at this point, so you could only imagine how in awe I was with everything. That might have lasted for a good five minutes, because by then we had to go to our hotel and drop our things for lunch. 

My sister, cousins, and I in front of the Kindertransport Memorial. Yes, my cousin always does silly poses in pictures. I haven't seen them in four years and I was so happy to not only see them again, but  get to travel with them after such a long time. 

We were really lucky with the weather in London during our stay. No rain, about 20-22 degrees. Perfect temperature if you ask me!

We had lunch in Comptoir Libanais, which I heard a few YouTubers rave about in their videos. Food was pretty good, but service wasn't too great if I'm honest. Did the waitstaff have a thing against Asians? They made us wait about 45 minutes before we could order, even if the restaurant was open and completely empty. What gives?

Ah, the tube. I'm a fan of taking trains to go around so this was quite fun for me. I also love figuring out the best route and planning a trip by looking at the huge map of interconnected lines. Train doors close crazy fast, though!

First stop for the day was Buckingham Palace, which was beautiful. It was such a joy to photograph London to be honest, as every corner was just so photogenic. There were tons of tourists but I didn't mind one bit - was too excited!

We missed the Changing of the Guard Ceremony but that's all right. Food first!

I probably took about 70 pictures and waited a good 10 minutes for the wind. Trivia: the flag raised means the Queen is currently in Buckingham Palace.

The iconic red telephone booth, and just a few meters away...

...was Big Ben! That's when it really sunk in that I was in London. The clock itself is beautiful, and I had to capture a bit of the gold detailing which is often missed in landscape pictures and movie stills. 

After a quick trip to Tesco with a few bottles of water and a packet of blueberries later, we made it to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I remembered watching a livestream of the London Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 years ago and I told myself I had to stand in the middle of that square someday. There were also tons of street performers - a rare sight for me considering there aren't much in Manila. 

I didn't risk sneaking pictures with my camera inside the Gallery, so I took photos with my phone instead. We whizzed through it quickly, only stopping for prolonged periods of time to admire artists like Monet, Caravaggio, and Van Gogh. I honestly can't wait for the day I get to visit New York to see Starry Night in the Museum of Modern Art. 

Believe it or not, we covered all these places in around 2.5 hours, which is insane. I was fine since I like walking long distances anyway, but after waking up so early, we were all in need of a quick nap back at the hotel.

Mostly to get back some energy to watch one of the funniest plays I've seen, but only after a pre-theatre dinner at Cote, which was a French restaurant my aunt wanted to try. 

The Play That Goes Wrong is by the Mischief Theatre Company, and played at the Duchess Theatre. It's a smaller production compared to the one we watched the following day, but it was so enjoyable without trying hard at all. If you're planning to go to London, I highly recommend you see it! My cousin even got to be on stage for a few minutes when they asked for volunteers.

And that was our jam-packed first day in London! I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I did experiencing and relieving it. Have any of you been to London before, or want to visit in the future?

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