London: sightseeing and too much walking

Hello hello~ I’m back!! It’s funny that only after 2 months of being in Copenhagen, coming back after a week of travelling feels like coming home again. I actually landed on Wednesday night, but I took a day off to just rest and do nothing (yeah, I needed a vacation after my vacation). I promised myself I would write this today before I forget everything. So here I am on the couch (still plugged in to the dumb ethernet) with a cup of coffee and listening to Sara Bareilles’ new album 🙂

Here we go!

DAYNIGHT1: Landed in London in the evening and met up with Maria. I’ve known this girl since we were 9 years old and we had both from moved to the States (me from China, and her from France). We became best friends even though our English was… incomprehensible. We were together through all the playground drama, the awkward puberty phase in middle school, and in high school, she left me and came back to Europe. We hadn’t seen each other in FIVE years, and honestly I was a little afraid that it would be awkward. But let me tell you… we picked up right were we left off like nothing has changed. Over dinner and drinks we filled each other in on the 5 years we missed in each other’s lives, and reminisced about the “good old times”, then quickly decided not to because all the awkward and cringe-y memories came flooding back.

DAY2: Our hostel wasn’t far across the bridge from Big Ben. So the next day Charlotte, Eliza, Laura and I set out on our adventure. The view along River Thames was incredible. The sun was beaming down, Big Ben to our left and the London Eye to our right… it looks exactly like the 12 postcards we bought for 1GBP. We went to the National Art Gallery to see some incredible paintings by Picasso, Michelangelo, van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, and many many more. Next came Camden Street Markets, where we ended up spending most of our afternoon and decided we could live here and come back every.single.day. The food stalls were amazing free samples everywhere! Eventually I decided on Jamaican jerk chicken and a mean sangria from the paella man. After lunch and a slight break for our feet, we ventured deep into the market where there were small shops of cloths, jewelry, art, and other weird little things I can’t categorize. I spotted a painting of Audrey Hepburn that I just couldn’t leave without (because I’m absolutely obsessed with her), so I bargained with the guy and got it for 20GBP. He rolled it up for me, and just like that, my journey with Audrey in my hands began.

Back shot and Big Ben

Back shot and Big Ben

National Art Gallery

National Art Gallery

FLOATING YODA outside the Gallery

FLOATING YODA outside the Gallery

Lunch at Camden Market

Lunch at Camden Market

Chinatown night life

Chinatown night life

Nightlife in London really reminds me of New York City with the tall buildings, bustling tourists, and honking cars… except more people spoke with European accents. We bought stand-by tickets to The Commitments for 10 pounds, wayyy up high in the serious nosebleed section with restricted view for 10GBP. We sat in the front row and leaned over the railings of the highest balcony seats and had a blast. The show was funny, the music was great, the show was interactive at the end and it was totally worth it! Afterwards we were all hungry and on the hunt for cheap food when a lady approached us with a 3 course meal for 7.99GBP coupon. It sounded like a good deal, and she led us down a narrow staircase into a room with 4 empty tables and we sat down obediently. I will not go into much detail… but let’s just say if I ever thought I knew what Ratchet was, it really outdid itself with that meal. Our dessert came and Eliza said “Ok, I expected AT LEAST an Eggo waffle… this is NOT an Eggo” to which Charlotte responded, “it is… from this morning”.

DAY3: Guys, London is a big place! We walked so much the day before that when I woke up the next morning, my feet just hated me and threatened to quit on me. If it could talk it would probably say all kinds of things to me that’s not suitable for children. But it stays silent, so we walk some more…. a lot more. At least it’s a beauuutiful day and we walk through a scenic little park with lots of daffodils, ducks and swans in the pond, and cute kids running on the grass. Of course we had to stop and do a photoshoot with the pretty flowers like any real tourist would. Next we made our way to Buckingham Palace to see changing of the guards. So many people were waiting that the Queen passing through would have nothing on them. But let me tell you… it was pretty uneventful and a little anticlimactic. A group marched in through the gates and faced left… *we wait*… then another group marched through another set of gates and faced right… *we wait some more*… and they pretty much just stood there for a while starring at each other. We moved on to the Victoria & Albert Museum. It was great and all.. but really… my feet! Charlotte and I sat at the cafe for a good hour, and I just knocked out right there for about half an hour. Walked through Hyde Park on our way back… it was huge! open fields where people were sunbathing, playing soccer, or reading; and pedestrian roads where people were jogging, roller skating, or biking. Ah, this is how European enjoy life.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Among the daffodils!

Among the daffodils!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Walking through Hyde Park

Walking through Hyde Park

London Eye at night

London Eye at night

DAY4: Met up with my cousin and his girlfriend who were studying in Bristol. We walked through the British Museum then went to Chinatown for lunch and drinks. I went back to the hostel and took it easy on my feet before we left for Dublin later that evening.

The British Museum

The British Museum

COMING SOON: The Dublin Chapter, so keep an eye out for that. I’m also editing video footage and putting it together into a montage, but that’s taking a little longer so maybe come back in a couple of day 🙂

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