London Travel Diaries: Week 6

The pictures I took this week are some of my all time favourites. I am really glad I bought a camera to take with me because as much as I love my iPhone it just wouldn’t have been the same. You quickly learn that the weather in London is on the bipolar side – grey gloomy skies accompanied with wind and rain on the one day to blue sunny skies the next. People felt sad on my behalf that I was in London during Winter. I on the other hand didn’t mind too much, hot weather means being sweaty, becoming tired more easily, plenty of tourists everywhere and lastly a greater chance that the sun would aggravate a lupus flare.

It didn’t take long to form a weekly eating routine. Mondays are meat free for me so I usually bought delicious Falafel from Pilpel close to work. Opposite the shop is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub which many literary figures used to frequent. My first amazon purchase also arrived this week and boy was I glad to finally have my hands on the Cards Against Humanity game. I don’t know about you guys but when I want something I can’t get, it becomes an unhealthy obsession until I can.

I promised myself that I would attend any cool events happening in London. Once my mind is made up, come rain or shine I will make the biggest effort to do it. While I do have dead set determination I also happen to have the procrastination gene just to keep things interesting. It shouldn’t be surprising that I left it to the last night to check out an upside down car installation on the South Bank. I couldn’t locate it but there was a silver lining of walking in the Jubilee Gardens, discovering a statue of Madiba and snapping beautiful pictures of the London Eye and Big Ben at night.

The thing about being on secondment in another country for work is that you get tired from working during the week and need some recovery time on weekends. While I wish I was able to get up early and go exploring I usually only made it out by 11am on a good day. London is a city of walking, I hate exercise but I absolutely loved the walking even though it did take its toll. On days that I was by myself I would stay out till 8pm by which time I was sufficiently tired.

Camden market and Regents Park were on my list of things to do on Saturday. After seeing the gloomy weather and the threat of spontaneous rain showers the idea was swiftly dismissed. I took a little walk around Westminster station, along the river bank, strolled in the Whitehall gardens before heading back to the station to meet Michelle. We walked quite far down the South Bank looking for a place to eat and decided on The Gourmet Pizza by Gabriels Wharf. I loved the prettiness and pastel colours of Gabriel’s Wharf. It very much resembles a seaside cove. This was one of the few places I ate at in London where I actually enjoyed the food. We had the dough balls, pizza and chocolate fudge cake which were all are really yummy! Chatting and chilling with Michelle is pretty high up on my list of favourite things to do, with the time flying by so quickly that it was too late to pay a visit to the British Museum. We decide to walk up to the Tate Britain. I couldn’t resist taking a few more pictures of the London Eye and Big Ben. I am pretty sure every time I have been in that area i have taken a picture – typical tourist right? We also discovered a graffitied skateboard place and a guy making sand castles alongside the river on our walk.

At the Tate Britain we somehow managed to spent a good 30 minutes walking aimlessly and getting lost before deciphering the map. It seemed like we wanted to get some exercise in because we walked back to the London Eye to catch the Thames Clipper to watch Kingsman at Canary Wharf. The movie was seriously funny, I would recommend you watch it if you haven’t already. I found it quite interesting that you can’t flavour your popcorn in London, your options are either sweet, salty or a combo of the two. To compensate for this you can buy nachos or hot dogs as you movie munchies. I already had an inkling about how conservative Brits are did not realise that this also filtered down to the movies where they seem unable to laugh much.

I awoke to blue skies on Sunday, the perfect weather to put my original Saturday plans into action. The guidebooks suggested jumping off at Chalk farm tube station when visiting Camden to avoid the crowds. I can’t say if this was better or not as I did feel that I ended up walking a lot. There were three different markets I visited, The Stables, Camden lock and Camden market. The stables have a mix of everything, Camden Lock is the place to go for food and Camden market for vintage clothes hunting.

Lunch was mac and cheese with truffle oil, mushrooms and breadcrumbs from the Mac Factory. After exploring the markets I walked along the canals filled with house boats and ducks, walked past St Marks church before strolling in Regents Park. The parks here are massive! I walked from one side of the park to the other and then across to the inner circle where you can find the Triton fountain, open air theatre and Queen Mary’s gardens. Although I spent it alone it was the perfect Sunday afternoon.

Sightseeing round up: Golden Jubilee Bridge, Jubilee Gardens, London Eye, South Bank Centre, Whitehall Gardens, Tate Britain, Thames Clipper, Canary Wharf, Camden Stables Market, Camden Lock Market, Camden Market, Regents Canal, Regents Park, Triton Fountain, Open Air theatre, Queen Mary’s Gardens, St Marylebone Church & Madame Taussauds.

1. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese/ 2. Cards against humanity / 3. Outside my apartment / 4. View from the Golden Jubilee Bridge / 5 & 6. London Eye / 7. View of Big Ben from the South Bank / 8. Aquarium & County Hall building / 9. London Eye from Westminster Bridge / 10. Big Ben / 11. London Eye & Aquarium building from Westminster Bridge / 12. Big Ben / 13. London Eye from Westminster Pier / 14. Big Ben / 15. Norman Shaw buildings with a very small door / 16 & 17. Whitehall Gardens / 18. The Cenotaph / 19. Big Ben / 20. Westminster station / 21 & 22. London Eye / 23. Big Ben / 24. Sand art / 25. Ships on the Thames / 26. Gabriel’s Wharf / 27. Tiger prawn & shrimp pizza / 28. Chocolate fudge cake / 29-31. Tate Britain / 32. Movie snacks / 33-42. Camden Town / 43-46. Regent’s Canal / 47. St Mark’s Church / 48-51. Regent’s Park / 52. Plane flying over the park / 53. Regent’s Park / 54. Marylebone / 55-58. Queen Mary’s Gardens / 59. St Marylebone Church / 60. Madame Taussauds / 61. Stone wall

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Sights seen: 18
Photos taken: 1045
Pounds spent: 58

Love & London,
CG

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