Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My free and easy London story

Its been a while since I shared much of my travel photos - gambar from HK and Istambul trip last year pun simpan sesaje je dalam hard disk for my eyes only.  Not that I am short of choices of photos to post - there was just too many I can't really decide which to post anyway.  I don't really feel like writing a travel guide because over the past year my travels were simply out of whim and mostly on a free and easy basis - no stress to catch any form of sights or whatsoever so in that sense I didn't really bother to compare prices and whatnot, I simply just winged it and hope for the best.

Bertuah kan?

But then so far all my travels are within a certain budget and since it meets that particular pool of funds then I have no complaints but just had as much fun as I can.

The latest trip to London and Paris was no different.


I suppose its no big deal - a lot of people I knew had already set foot in this two places. I never cared much to visit it since I prefer beach holidays anyway. But then I can't scoot off for summer (or at least autumn) holidays last year because my sister got married in August so end up last year dapat la winter holiday.

Looking back I am now positive that I am not a winter person. For starters, the cold is such a hassle. Snow is overrated. It requires a lot of effort (and energy) to dress up. There's a lot of luggage to carry - its a nightmare la kalau lift hotel tu macam lagi kecik dari luggage. There is no way you could ever look thin in a winter jacket and lastly - I hate the pale look I carry through out the photos. The only time I look slightly okay is when I actually put on make up - in which I hate doing especially during holidays.

Sigh.

I miss the effortless chic I exude when I am sunkissed. I suppose Bali, Maldives and Hawaii is more my thing.

Grin.

But knowing me I never not have fun during a holiday. I am so easy to please with food and culture - and both London and Paris has lots of food and culture to enjoy.


For starters - I love Costa and Pret-A-Manger. I never thought there would come a day when I'd trade Starbucks for any other coffee chain in the globe but guess what, I only step foot in Starbucks in London and Paris to get those city mugs I collected, then quickly dash to the next Pret-A-Manger or Costa at the corner for either a coffee fix or the hot chocolate with marshmallows. I gotta say that cup of hot chocolate is simply divine and made exactly to my liking. Their coffee is a bit bitter, but its still fine. My fav at Pret-A-Manger on the other hand is their tuna melt or vegetarian wraps - which is to die for. Kenapa la kat KL takde benda ni? Its so simple yet very tasty. Especially when the wrap is all heated and the weather is cold....rasa macam saje nak beli banyak-banyak and sambung makan lagi.

Second off their fish and chips is simply out of the world. Selalunya fish and chips is just plain normal to my liking, its not something I'd crave for tapi kat London ni kalau tak try fish and chips dia memang rugi.

My travel buddy and I made a point to try local restaurants while we were there. The first few nights after the theater show we had light supper and cakes at a quaint italian restaurant in west end, and before we left we tried Jamie Oliver's Union Jack restaurant at Covent Garden.


The que was long, it took us 20 minutes before we got a table. The restaurant is located in an open market so we listened to people busking at the market while waiting and having dinner. The air was super pleasant, everyone seems to be on a holiday mood. Its past xmas and boxing day but there's still a considerable amount of shoppers hauling their sprees.
  


We ordered fish and chips (obviously!), pizza in pesto and salmon on rye.

Besides food, the highlight of my trip is experiencing my first west end theater production.

I was lucky that we stayed at Covent Garden which is smacked at the centre of all things artsy and culture. Across the corner to our hotel (we stayed at the Travelodge @ Covent Garden) are rows and rows of small theaters and production houses, with various shows running every night imaginable from famous titles such as Mathilda, Cats and Mamma Mia to the less famous once we barely heard of.

And it seems like the place was never short of people since most productions are sold out every night when we were there.

Ticket prices range from merely 20 pounds and up to over 100 pounds. Of course famous shows will be more pricey. I remember Mathilda was going for about 60 pounds, while Mamma Mia was almost 90 pounds per ticket.

Since I didn't budget that much for a ticket, so we opted for a new upcoming show called Memphis.


We got the early bird ticket (which is sold super early in the morning when the box office opens at 10am) and lucky us we got front row seats to a full house show. During the whole show I was simply mind-blown - its a musical and the arrangements, dances and vocals were simply amazing. Its worth every penny paid and more.

Thirdly I love the fact that London can be explored on foot. Their public transportation system is easily accessible and their roads are walker-friendly. When we arrived in London it was christmas day so most of the shops were closed - meant no shopping of course, but despite all odds, we manage to cover a lot of grounds on foot. In fact, I remember walking throughout the central zone from one end to another on xmas day itself!

During my stay I manage to catch a stroll at Hyde Park and Kensington Park - in which is amazing despite the cold weather because we rarely find such chill places back home.





If the park is not your thing don't worry - there's lots of attractions ; museums, art galleries, London tower, the big ben.

Sebulan pun tak abis visit I tell you.

Too bad Harry Potterland tix were sold out. Boohoo.


Nevertheless I sampai la jugak to Platform 9 and 3/4 kat St Pancras. Nak tangkap gambar dengan trolley tu but look at the line - hazab okay nak beratur so sampai situ je la then cepat-cepat lari lepak kat Costa.

Dasar pemalas. Lazy bum la katakan.

My 5 days in London is not complete without shopping!

We caught London's boxing day just in time and experienced the craze at Harrods and Oxford Street. People shop as if its the end of the world. 

Sorry no shopping pics. Insan punya la ramai macam kiamat sudah - tak kuasa la nak sibuk tangkap gambar. But it was super fun because the bargains were simply to die for. Kalau ada duit memang heaven.

Winks.

I should have done a flatlay of my shopping haul. But my room was so itsy bitsy - lepas shopping terus campak barang masuk luggage then forget about it till I get home to KL.


Okla - that's it.

Laters!

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