London: A walk through Monopoly

Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
Trip End Feb 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hyde Park Hostel London
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of United Kingdom  , London, City of,
Monday, December 27, 2010

London, London London!!  What an amazing city...granted, it's not the best time to visit during Christmas when one, you're missing your family and two, EVERYTHING'S closed but hey, when you step out from the tube the first time and Big Ben's staring at you at the exit, you realise it's all worth it. 

So, after the whole debaucle in Heathrow, I eventually got too impatient and booked another ticket with Ryanair and arrived a day earlier than Tracy.  What to do what to do!?...Well after arriving 2 days late, I had to see the city even if it was 10pm by the time I arrived at the hostel and what better way than to take the tube to Westminster and meet Big Ben face to face =D  It was bit unreal seeing it for the first time...after all those times seeing it in movies and the pictures, to see it in person was unbelievable.  And the following walk around Westminster and Trafalgar Square was a lot of fun, just like jumping around on a monopoly board.  Trafalgar Square, Northumberland Avenue, Whitehall =D  Saw Picadilly, Regent St, Oxford St, Bond St, Leicester Square...the Strand, Fleet St! =D  All the good ones =P (Most of these were later of course). 

Went to Oxford on the extra day that I had since Tracy had been there already.  Quite a cool place, and a lot more bustling than I thought it would be, shops, cafes, people EVERYWHERE! =D  Though I guess it was close to Christmas and all.  Met up with Ann and her friends in Oxford and had lunch at a cool restaurant...mmm microwaved quiche =P but the Earl Grey tea was REALLY good =).  The colleges and libraries in Oxford were of course very impressive though a little disappointing since they either charged heaps to get in or they were closed =(  Worst of all, Christ Church, the place where the great hall of Harry Potter was filmed was closed =S  *sigh*  Stupid snow and not enough salt...GAH!  You'd think the British would be prepared eh?  Ah well, was still a very cool city to see and all the university buildings did make it feel a little like Harry Potter =P  Quite quaint too after a couple blocks out from the centre, guess I expected Oxford to look more like this in Christmas time, with the castle like colleges, empty streets and snow everywhere haha.  Oh, got to see a T-Rex skeleton in the Natural history museum too just before I left...awesome stuff.

Met up with Tracy finally that night and went out to see the city a little.  Picadilly, China Town, Oxford st, London is amazing at night all lit up, especially in the Soho area, got to see the West End and the shops they just go forever!  Oxford St, good for shopping and night time haha.

Next day we found out that pretty much all the museums and places that we wanted to go to were closed 24, 25, 26...fantastic...*sigh* Ah well, still cool.  Saw the changing of the guards!  Unfortunately it was crowded as hell and we couldn't see anything from where we were but some of them marched past us so we got a couple good shots.  Was a shame they weren't in the red though...the winter uniform is grey =(.  Walked around Picadilly after that and it was quite a different feel...less lights but lots of Londoners (and tourists) bustling about with their last minute christmas shopping.  Awesome views of the buildings too...I really like the British architecture, reminds me of home ^^.  Went and Wicked that afternoon with Tracy, AWESOME!!  That's right, saw a musical in London West End hah!  Awesome story, cool songs, funky costumes, amazing characters and what an experience!  Checked out the Winterwonderland in Hyde Park with Ann and co.  very nice and they had a cool christmas market there as well selling some very cool things...including mulled wine that I unfortunately got sucked into paying 4 pounds for =S, yeah, not the smartest choice but hey it's christmas.  BBQ pork that night for dinner...ooh how I missed it =P

Christmas Day!!!  It was a different feeling without family there, not that we did much normally back home but it would've been nice.  Everything was closed of course so we decided to walk all the way from Hyde Park (where we were) to Westminster and up to British Museum and back....yeah...if you had any idea how big London is, you'd know that isn't a short distance and by the end of the day Tracy and I were both pretty knackered.  Though it was funny seeing all of London empty except for tourists =P.  Saw Big Ben again, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, walked up Whitehall and saw Downing St (not that I could see much beyond the iron gates), you know, everyday London things =D  The weather was amazing too!  I know, good weather in London?  What is this!?  I actually saw the sun!  Was a fun day, UNTIL our escape plan with the London sharebikes failed cos they wouldn't take our cards >.<, was a long walk all the way back to our hostel in Kensington =(...spent the Christmas night with spagetthi, cider and a night in front of the TV, Dr Who Christmas Special!  Top gear and Narnia haha.

Boxing day of course, Tracy had to go to the Christmas sales, unfortunately the tube was on strike...of course, wonderful we waited for the bus.  Only to have two of them drive off without taking any passangers since they were all completely packed.  Decided in the end to grab a London cab since we were NOT walking all that way again haha.  Quite spacious inside actually and was cool speeding through the London streets.  My the sales were crazy though, lines that went on forever!  Filled with tourists and what not hoping to get the Christmas bargains.  Swarovski, Zara, all the department stores were completely packed, fortuantely I was smart enough to escape the maddness and went exploring on my own through London on Boxing Day.  This time I went a little bit further, down the Strand and Fleet St to St Pauls, a massive cathedral in London.  Saw the court house which looked like a castle, the Australian High Commission yeah! and further east towards the tower of London.  Then of course I saw my favourite site in London...the Tower Bridge!  That's the famous one with the raising bridge...not London Bridge which is actually quite boring haha.  It's a lovely sight but is an unexpected blue haha, still, definitely a place worth visiting and is just iconic London.  Walked along the Thames the rest of the way back with some nice views indeed.  Good old british pub food for dinner =)  yummy...Yorkshire pudding with roast and brussel sprouts...haha sounds british enough.

The last day in London was crazy...rushing through the British Museum and the Tower of London since they were FINALLY open again.  The British Museum was massive and the great court inside is really something, unfortunately we couldn't spend so much time there so I spent it speeding through most of the and aaaa-ing as required =P.  Saw the parts of the Parthenon from Athens, the mummies from Egypt, some very cool collections of Assyrian sculptures...mmmm, feeling very cultured indeed =P.  Korean for lunch then it was off to the Tower of London.  Had to pay for this one but was worth it I think.  Cool medieval renactments, got to see the king's armory AND take photos of it for once and got to see the crown jewels!  My they were many diamonds...oh so many diamonds haha and precious stones it was amazing that the royals could hold their heads up!  It definitely shows how rich you are I guess haha.  Oh and I was sick this day as well...lovely combination, speeding through London town with a cough, headache and constantly runny nose haha, Tracy must've loved it XD

So that was it!  London!  Wow, I really think it's a city I'd be coming back to and one that I could definitely see myself living in.  Maybe it's the english being spoken everywhere, or the buildings but I feel quite at home in London, and there's so much happening and so much to see, it's a very exciting place.  I didn't even go on any pub crawls!  Must come back haha...also I really wanna see the Science and Natural History museum one day....DINOSAURS!! travelling and being sick sucks and I've had no time to update things...will put up photos etc soon!!  But right now, 2nd day in Paris and I'm LOVING it more and more...I'M IN PARIS!!!  c'est magnifique =D

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saNdra on

holy crap this is epic 0______0

*two thumbs up*

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