Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You sound like you're from London!!!!

Our five day trip to London was an enjoyable one. The weather was perfect, so Farah and I decided be royal tourists. We visited the usual suspects such as Buckingham Palace, The Changing of the Guard, London Eye, Trafalgar Sq, Westminster, Little Venice and Notting Hill Carnival which you can see more photos here.
London is super expensive, my wallet thought my hand had gone mad. However there are a bunch of things that don't pull on the pocket strings. Freebies included a stroll through through Little Venice, which I loved. Someone pointed out Richard Branson's house boat along the way and yes it is massive, it's even got a little second floor. No matter what city I'm in, I always head to Chinatown. London's Chinatown is pretty epic, we ate at an absolutely amazing Japanese Restaurant. The markets were another pull. We had to see Camden Market (I wish we had more time here) and Covet Garden, whose antiques were to die for. We avoided the long lines of the the London Eye (£20 P.P), instead opting for a stroll by it and back over the Bridget Jones bridge. Buckingham Palace was jointed as usual and if you plan on getting a close up view of the changing of the guard, then get there early. Another must see freebie is the Soane House Museum. This museum/former architects home is jam packed with his projects, collection of paintings and models. It was truly fascinating. On a rainy day, The British Museum was a saving grace, giving us a chance to see the Rosetta Stone and a lot of Mummies. St Paul's Cathedral is also worth a visit. The detail is amazing, but watch out for service times, once you sit down they do not like you leaving until the end.

Onto the paid attractions. The Tower of London (£22 P.P) not including the £4 audio guide was definitely one of the best few hours spent in London, not because of the Crown Jewels but the amount of history upon which you are standing is overwhelming at times. The views of Tower Bridge are stellar along with the free boat ride down the Thames which had the funniest tour guide to date. We also took the Hop on/ Hop off bus for (£28 P.P), in my view we did not get our moneys worth. I would suggest taking the Tube and walking around next time. Be prepared to drop a few quid on food and drink, the cheapest bottleneck of cider I had was £6.50. Stay away from Downtown joints unless you want the tourist price. Brick Lane has some decent curries and you can find cheap shawarmas almost everywhere.
Coming from Montreal everything is expensive, even though our taxes are really high here, it still does not prepare you for the walloping the £ will give to your wallet. Once you get over the shock, it is a perfect tourist spot. There is plenty of shopping and plenty to see. We only saw the tip of what London has to offer, so we will save and we will be back.
I still have not gotten over spending 80mins on the tube from Heathrow to the Mile End. If I spent 80 mins on a train in Montreal, I would nearly be in Quebec City. Note to self, bring a few books next time for the tube rides. And guys please Mind The Gap!!!