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Kept Calm & Went to London

london streets

After weaving through 7 cities with Italian, French and German words thrown about our heads, London was a breath of fresh air as we bade language barriers goodbye.

I loved every bit of this English city; from their quaint picture-perfect streets that hold the iconic  red telephone booths, post boxes and buses, to their beautiful British slang, musical theatre buildings and a personal favourite: the Union Jack.

london-street

london-street-evening

les-miserables-london

london-scene

As stereotypical as it may sound, we did feel the constant need to zip away for scones and tea — though we didn’t. And most fortunately for us, the weather was not at all gloomy. It was perfect actually, at 18 degrees celsius, with the one-off drizzle on our first day. But that didn’t meddle with our plans at all since we spent the entire day along Oxford Street getting acquainted with the mega-mall, Primark.

at-holborn-station-london

Where we stayed: My cousin’s apartment in Bloomsbury which meant saving on accommodation. Score.
Nearest tube station: Russell Square which has 3 large and indispensable elevators because no one was going to walk up/down 175 steps. They warn you before you attempt to descend manually.
Our first meal in London: KFC because we needed food, fast — on the otherwise expensive Oxford Street. Plus, everywhere else was full.

pastries-fork-deliDay 15: We started our second day in London at Fork Deli Patisserie, one of the many cafes in our neighbourhood, waking up with strong whiffs of coffee, croissants and a sweet glazed Pain au Raisin.

They had a “honest” crowd in there, mostly people grabbing their breakfast on their way to work, some in cosy nooks with their books and a brownie. No one looked like they were cafe hopping/ shooting everything like they were artefacts in a museum. (Except us.)

Then, it was off to the Buckingham Palace to catch the change of guards before gasping at adorable furry creatures in Green Park and throwing our bibs on for some amazing lobsters at … Burger & Lobster of course!

buckingham palace

london-the-mall

squirrel

green park

burgers and lobsters

Sitting at the top of my must-eats in London  was Burger & Lobster and it proved to be a worthy rave with their fresh and meaty catches. Don’t expect to be given any food menus here. Just take your pick between two dishes: The burger or the lobster. If you pick the latter like most people do, you can choose to have it boiled, grilled or as a roll.

For 20 pounds, this snazzy meal of fat lobsters was fantastically value for money. And it comes with a rather divine lemon butter sauce, which I chose to drown my fries in.

Burger and Lobster
29 Clarges Street
Mayfair London, W1J 7EF

After fuelling up, the monumental hunt continued with Westminister Abbey, Big Ben and the London Eye — all located within the vicinity. We didn’t get to enter the Abbey because it was closed for an event, so we basked outside for a while with everyone else.

westminister-abbey

big-ben

Once we were done with our mandatory tourist duties, it was time for some food-fested roaming in the Soho area/ Covent Garden. I had a long and unrealistic list of nearly 20 bakeries, cafes and cake shops to surrender my money to. But that wasn’t going to happen in three hours.

We did however manage to hit up the Milanese bakery chain Princi as recommended by my friend Genia, for a hefty slice of tiramisu and tea. Thereafter scooting down to Hummingbird Bakery to get a cupcake for breakfast the next day before we lost ourselves in M&M world at Leicester Square.

chinatown-londonLondon’s Chinatown in Leicester Square was full of roast duck joints, all-you-can-eat-buffets and … casinos?

koya-udon-london

Dinner were bowls of rather spectacular udon. Even though our tummies weren’t quite ready for another meal, we decided to have an early dinner at KOYA, a Japanese Udon bistro in Covent Garden, whilst the queue was still sane. It was pretty popular you see and one slurp later, we realized why.

I had this more than a year ago (and am quickly regretting my delay of this documentation), so you’ll need to forgive me on not remembering what we ordered exactly, or the lack of pristine details of that udon.

But I promise it was good.

KOYA
49 Frith Street
London W1D 4SG

charlie-musical-london

We took a slow walk back to to the apartment, which was 2 train stops away. With a weather that beautiful, it would have been a crime to spend 4 pounds on the tube instead.

Plus, you get you stumble upon places like the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theatre! That said, you can’t leave London without watching a musical. Stay tuned for the next London post to find out which one I watched!

Thanks for sticking till the end.

Follow the rest of my journey:

Day 1/ 19 June – When In Rome (I)
Day 2/ 20 June – When In Rome (II)
Day 3/ 21 June – A Slice of Pisa
Day 4/ 22 June – Florence and the Tangerines
Day 5/ 23 June – A Penchant for Venice
Day 6/ 24 June – Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Day 7/ 25 June – Top of Europe: Jungfraujoch
Day 8/ 26 June – Travel: Greetings, Munich 
Day 9/ 27 June – Munich: BWW Museum + The X Games
Day 10/ 28 June – Munich: Nymphenburg Palace, Viktualienmarkt & Deutsches Museum
Day 11/ 29 June – Paris: My First Impressions
Day 12/ 30 June – Postcards From Paris
Day 13/ 1 July – Thanks for Disneyland, Mr Walt Disney
Day 14 + 15/ 2 + 3 July – Kept Calm & Went to London (Now reading)

Instagram: #wenzineurope

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