Monday, August 31, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities - 1st City

Gosh, I've been staring at this page with an absolute blank mind. How to do sum up an exhilarating whirlwind of 13 days of doing all things touristy in London and Paris?

Okay, so here's what I'll do. I'll put some storytelling photos here while the pictures which you probably can rip off somewhere on the internet will be posted on my flickr.

First off, this is the plane (with the Raiders Livery) that took us on our 14 hour journey from Kuala Lumpur to London, courtesy of AirAsia for KS and me! (Photo published by permission from Ong Keat Siong)

The express that took us from Stansted Airport to Liverpool, also courtesy of AirAsia. Passed by fields of brown wabbits, horses and sheep along the way.

Our comfortable room at St Giles off Oxford Street, situated very close by to Tottenham Road Station and smack bang in the middle of London city. Also courtesy of AirAsia for our first three nights. :)

Our very English breakfast every morning at St Giles. Fantastic grub to kick start every morning. Unfortunately, I thought the white stuff at the 11 o'clock of my plate was some kind of egg salad. Wrong! It was some weird cheese. Guess what was the only thing left on my plate that morning.

The first few things that caught my attention was the many many shows London has to offer. Here's where I found where Jason Donovan is currently whiling away:

The other thing I noticed was the wonderfully detailed and intricate architecture of the building all around London.

So on our first day, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of guards. Boy, were we excited when we first spotted the still guards as we approached the palace! There were two of them and I guess they must have been photographed quite a bit that day.

Unfortunately, while waiting for the Changing of Guards to start, we scorched ourselves under the withering sun as we watched the tourist crowds swell. As soon as something started to happen, all arms stretched out with cameras/videos, creating a solid wall of limbs and obstructed our views completely.

We gave up after a bit and walked off towards Westminster, Big Ben and House of Parliaments.

We also went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum along Baker Street. Must jog my memory again about his adventures.

Other places we went was the British Museum which we spent four long hours just cause we got the audio guide and attempted to listen to every single description. Kiasu lah!

Of course, our trip was punctuated with the reason why we were in London in the first place, the U2 360 Tour! That one, I'll blog about separately.

So after a rock and roll concert, the next day we went for a Baroque performance at a church called St Martin. When we told this to the AirAsia guy who followed us, he swiftly and politely said, "Wah! You guys are very... versatile!"
Anyway, St Martin has a crypt. A crypt that is currently being used as a restaurant. Seen here are the patrons who are sitting on top of graves and sipping their tea and scones. I heard the scones are good but I just felt weird even standing on the floor with engravings of "Here lies the beloved So-And-So who died in the year..." let alone sit and eat something. But that's just me.

This is the inside of the church, taken during the break during the performance. They didn't just play the Four Seasons, Air and Parchabel's Canon, they played a whole load more. The combination was perfect, cool evening night, baroque music which I am not familiar with. I was half asleep by the time it ended two hours later.

Other places we visited were the Natural History Museum (I LOVE LOVE LOVE the building!). Here's one with a Hogwarts staircase.

Saw dino bones for the first time! Boy, were we excited!

Went to the V&A Museum, Tate Modern (the museum that we spent the least time in since we absolutely didn't understand that type of art), The Royal Albert Hall (ooo! Siti Nurhaliza performed here before!), Hyde Park, London Tower where an entertaining Beefeater (or Yeoman) by the name of Steve entertained us with wit and gross tales of the deaths that happened there, Camden and Portobello markets.

We reckon that's Albert plated in gold seated beneath a very Siamese-inspired shrine.

This is Steve, the highlight of London Tower since we don't know the history of England well enough.
One of Hyde Park's entrances.
We also went to watch "We Will Rock You", which turned out to be fantastic! We bought our tickets through which not only shaved off more than £12 from the actual price, it threw in a great dinner and gave us amazing seats! The show turned out to be very entertaining and really worth the while!

Anyway, for those who want to look at humans in photos, here's one of us camwhoring on the way back on the EuroStar to London from Paris.

Special thanks to my high school buddy Tsiang who opened her place in London for us, her sis Ying who vacated her room for us and slept on the living room floor while we were there and of course, to AirAsia who made this trip possible! Muah!

Oh, and how could I forget, my Aunt May Lin took time off and took us around, feeding us Chinese and more Chinese food upon our arrival! She even took the effort to grab a bus schedule from the library, lent me her clothes since I was silly enough to pack half my luggage with autumn/winter clothes and lent us Oyster cards which made travelling around London so easy. She was really great!


Ron said...

Oh Wow! I didn't realize you went to St Martin-in-the-Fields - was it the famous Academy of the St Martin in the Fields orchestra that you heard? I have a few cds by them...excellent chamber orchestra one of the world's best!

grace said...

Sherlock Holmes was a real dude? Lovely photos - must write more lah!!! What about Paris?

jo said...

wow! i didn't realise they were that famous! even mum has seen them when they came to penang years ago. unfortunately, we didn't take the programme leaflet so i don't know who were performning but there was this shaggy dude on a recorder/flute thingy. great. and i nearly fell asleep.

no lah! sherlock holmes is a fictional character but they based the museum on the stories and since his fictional home was on bakers street, they created a museum at that address.

didn't want to write too much, nanti boring lah! will add more later.

paris will come in my second instalment. uploading photos on dad's computer is quite a painful process.