Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Search for that Blue Door and the Big Bear

"I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

Famous line from the movie Notting Hill back in 1999 starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Since my friend and I were planning to visit the Portobello Markets, we decided to kill two birds with one stone by walking around Notting Hill and searching for the house with that iconic blue door. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hidden Gem in London

Desserts have always been a weakness of mine, something that I can rarely say No to. Despite being full from a meal, I have been a living proof that there is indeed always room for desserts. So when a friend of mine suggested that we go to a dessert place while we were in London, I did not hesitate to agree and join her.

Apparently, the dessert place has been recommended by her friend who has been living in London for quite some time. I found this to be actually a good strategy whenever exploring a new place. Don't just be contented with known tourist destinations since they would most likely be crowded or overpriced. Instead, talk with the locals and discover from them their own personal recommendations or where they would usually go to for food or to hang out.

Upon arriving at the place, there were plenty of seats to choose from. At first, it had me worried because the lack of people can sometimes allude to a not-so-good food or service. But then I decided to just have an open mind and be reminded that this not the usual tourist spot and the time that we were there was still within the normal working hours.

The place specializes in pancakes so even though I was more of a waffle type of girl, I decided to try their specialty. And boy they did not disappoint! As soon as the server was heading our way, my eyes got huge and could not help but exclaim that "Wow! Their pancakes are sooooo big!". It was my first time to see such a huge pancake served in an equally humongous plate, that I immediately thought that my friend and I should have shared instead. They also had not just one scoop of vanilla ice cream as a topping, but they had three mouthwatering scoops! And when I sliced and had a first taste of the pancake, I just have to close my eyes and savour its deliciousness. Any thoughts about calories or exercise have been temporarily thrown away.

Who can go wrong with apple, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream?

A Visit to the Tower of London

Almost two years after my last post, I am finally back, and I hope to continue and be more consistent in writing about my travels in this blog. I know I still have to finish my Australia series but for the mean time, I wanted to share about the most recent places I've been to given the changes in my life. Because as of last August 2014, I have temporarily moved to the UK to pursue my MBA studies.

(Gasps!) Yes, one of my greatest dreams of going to Europe has finally come true.

So going a bit back to the topic at hand, it is currently summer here in the UK (meaning more time to explore). Since I would be meeting my highs school friend in London, I decided to combine some sightseeing as well.

Loving the medieval feel at the Tower of London
My classmates in the MBA have mentioned that going to the Tower of London is a must-do while you are here, so given the opportunity, I decided to book my ticket in advance and consequently avoided the long queues and wasted time.

By visiting the official website of the Tower of London I was able to see its opening and closing times, including the link to purchase the tickets. As a student, I was entitled to a discount and purchased the ticket for GBP16 versus the GBP21 as an adult. I also decided to purchase an audio guide since I tend to appreciate the place and the history more as opposed to just roaming around by myself. This cost an additional GBP3 with the discount already included.

I arrived at the place at around 2 PM by taking the tube and getting off  at the Tower Hill Station. This gave me three and a half hours to explore the place. Personally, I think I should have gone a bit earlier especially since I chose to also take part of the Yeoman Warder guided tours. If you are pressed for time however, I would suggest that you just take the Yeoman Warder guided tour (which is free), without the audio guide and then just select the areas of interest you wouldn't want to miss out on such as visiting the Crown Jewels.

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