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Tag: London

Exploring London

Our day started with a hunt for winter boots as the first signs of snow herald our arrival. Being on budget travel does not permit us to splurge – so…

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Our day started with a hunt for winter boots as the first signs of snow herald our arrival. Being on budget travel does not permit us to splurge – so our hunt excluded shopping on the West End of London. Instead Chern recommended a place called Primark where she got her boots for only 7 pounds. Much to my delight shopping, everything was a steal and hard to resists. I finally found a pair for 5 pounds! Ah joys of great bargains.

Next, we hoped to catch the Queen at the Buckingham Palace for a cuppa tea but was quite unfortunate. Even the guards didn’t come out to play today – it was apparently too harsh a weather for them. Ah well – so we thought we could feed some pigeons at Trafalgar Square, again much to our dismay not a pigeon was found fluttering in sight. Wonder what they did to get rid of them! Sights were pretty nonetheless. European architecture is something I’m trying to appreciate and understand – especially since I’d be roaming in more than a couple of castles in the next few weeks!

The Big Ben and Westminster Abbey pretty to behold. It still startles me how old London buildings are and how well they are taken care of. Each building had a story to tell and each echoes a different line of history. This we found true as we were walking down the street on the West London and stumbled on a town house that Benjamin Franklin used to live in – how surreal indeed.

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Around London

Did I tell you that Chern is a great host?! Well she is! She gave up her room for us, made sure we had hearty breakfast before heading out and…

Did I tell you that Chern is a great host?! Well she is! She gave up her room for us, made sure we had hearty breakfast before heading out and made us packed lunch so that we didn’t grow hungry walking the streets of London! If you don’t already know, London is an expensive city to holiday in – so we try to save where we can. And packed lunch is awesome! Today we had tuna and corn sandwich overlooking the river Thames & the London Eye. Whilst feasting on the sandwiches, the cold had a bite at our fingers too… we quickly scurried for something warm at the Christmas Markets.

Little make shift shops lined the walkway along the Thames, each with its own design and flavor. Family come in throngs all bundled in warm coats, scarves and beanies as they hopped from one shop to another. The market was laden with Christmas goodies like German sausages, mulled wine, hot chocolate, Christmas candies, pretty trinkets and even Spanish churros. The buzz of Christmas cheer filled the air…

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We spent the late afternoon watching the sun set over the Thames and stopping off to watch buskers do some silly stunts. We were purely entertained by the showmanship of these street entertainers and our ability to brace the cold – laugh and cheer with glove fitted hands (clearly our claps didn’t make much noise!)

Our great host had another surprise for us – she had earlier bought Lion King tickets as Christmas presents for us. I was ecstatic as I remembered watching ‘The making of Lion King the Musical’ on TV when I was much younger and was in total wonderment at the stage play and props. It was my chance to watch it live now! As surreal as the thought of actually being in London, Lion King was a major dream-come-true for me.

Staged in Lyceum Theatre in West End, London, the 2 ½ hours show left us awe-struck and enthralled. The props were incredibly amazing and intricate Set against the majestic plains of the Serengeti and to the evocative rhythms of Africa (especially by Rafiki the baboon), this Disney’s multi-award winning musical raised my expectations of theatre. The show was a spectacular visual feast of dazzling animal characters, bursting colours, stunning effects and enchanting music. Everything in the theatre was electrified; the audience stuck to their seats throughout the show and burst in applauds as the actors came out for a bow. Bravo without a doubt!

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London With Friends

London is famous for its museums, fortunately the Natural History Museum is free for entry. We spent a good 3 hours exploring the different halls from mammals to dinosaurs to…

London is famous for its museums, fortunately the Natural History Museum is free for entry. We spent a good 3 hours exploring the different halls from mammals to dinosaurs to planets and the earth beyond. Massive re-constructed bone structures and life-size replicas filled the museum, knowledge oozed from every corner and inquisitive minds got their feed of chunky info.

Next stop – Hyde Park. Winter wonderland at Hyde Park exudes the very flavor of how Christmas is portrayed on telly. Carnival games, trails of food stalls, Christmas goodies and yummy hot drinks. Everyone is out to celebrate. There was even an ice rink with graceful skaters and those just fooling around. We walked the entire carnival hunting for cheap hot choc to warm our bodies. Cold pasta for lunch merely filled our tummies. Finally we found a shop at the end of the carnival selling a cuppa for 2.50 pounds.

We took a leisurely stroll to the other end of Hyde Park passing by a half frozen lake with ducks wadding at the ridge. The other side of the park looked pretty deserted especially when the entire extravaganza was happening on the other end.

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Dinner was treat at Michelle’s place. I just realized we didn’t take much pictures with her – but dinner was a bliss. She cooked up a storm of Asian delights in her quaint lil home just after Ealing Braodway station. It was a cozy get together with her in-laws and a couple of other friends to join us. Clement has grown since the last time I saw him as a baby – now he’s running, chuckling and speaking a lot of French. Edgar the new member to the family is a bundle of joy. He coos and bobs his head when you talk to him and fits perfectly into my arms – making it really easy to carry him. Michelle and Vincent are doing well and it’s a joy to see her come this far with a very nice place she calls home.

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