Saturday, 11 June 2011

Our London trip!

Dear reader,

Finally I am able to write a post about my visit to London. The reason that it took me so long was that I had had three essays to write and only two weeks to write them in. Taking into account that I had to work as well, I really could not find the time to squeeze in a blogpost.

Since the essays are now finished I finally have time left to tell you about everything that my best friend and I did.

Day 1: 

On the first that that we arrived in London, May 16, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel which was called ‘Cherry Court Hotel’. The hotel looked absolutely adorable and the staff was really very friendly.

Doesn’t it look idyllic?

The first night we spent a night in a double which was on the small side, but the other nights we got a room in the basement which was actually a triple. The room was very spacious and since we only returned to our room during the night, it did not bother us at all that we did not have as great a view as in the other room. Every night when we came back we would find ourselves a little fruits basket filled with two bananas, two mandarins, two small apples, some cookies, two cereal bars and two packages of orange juice. This way we could just have breakfast whenever we wanted and we could even take the apples with us during the day. Really a wonderful idea!
Another great thing about this hotel is its location: it is only 5 minutes from Victorian station and thus very close the coach station as well. Also the hotel is not expensive at all: it cost us 110 pounds per person for 4 nights. So if you ever need a hotel in London; this is the place to go.

Well on our first day we decided to first go to Portobello road. It was a bit different from what I imagined it would be. It just reminded me of an ordinary market. Though I did finally find a watch on a necklace; I had been searching for a nice (and not too expensive) one for ages. So that immediately made my day. Afterwards we returned to the hotel and went to Harrods. And although we are both two grown up girls we could not help but buy something which they sold in the toy department. The brand is called Sylvanian Families and these are little families of chipmunks, rabbits, mice etc. for which you can buy toy houses, but also bakeries and all those types of things. And yes, weak against cute things as we both were, we ended up buying them.
These are the ones that I bought:

Aren’t they adorable?!!!

Note to self: avoid Harrods at all costs when in London.

Day 2:

The next day we went to the tkts ticket booth first thing in the morning. There we purchased two tickets for the evening performance of the Phantom of the Opera. After this we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. There an exposition was held which was called The Cult of Beauty: the Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900. I have to admit that not everything was to my taste, I just can’t find those paintings by Rossetti beautiful. However, there was one sculpture that really got my interest. It was a statue called ‘Mors Janua Vitae’ by Henry Bates. The picture below really does not do the sculpture justice, but it is one of the few pictures that they have of it. The sculpture portrays the soul of a woman (in ivory) that is enveloped by a dark figure of death, who is depicted as a beautiful young man. Together they hover above a city of which the houses are build in a Gothic style.

We really liked the Victoria and Albert Museum... One of the reasons was that you actually can play dress-up in the theatre department! We had a lot of fun dressing up as Juliet, a magician and even a bird. It’s definitely worth it to try that out hahaha.

In the evening we had dinner in the Rain Forest Café, a very special restaurant that looks like a rain forest. The greatest thing about the one in London is that you actually have your personal waiter who introduces himself to you and checks if everything is to your satisfaction. Great customer service! And the food is good too!!!

In the evening we went to the Phantom of the Opera; the only thing we really really desperately wanted to see during our visit. And my gosh it was soooo worth our time and money! The décor is amazing! In the beginning there is a chandelier that is slowly lighted and is then hoisted up into the room. The actors were amazing as well, especially the Phantom. My gosh; goose bumps all over. If you ever get the chance to see this show then DO NOT HESTITATE BUT GO!!! MUST SEE!!! You will thank me later ;).

Day 3:
On our third day we went to the box office to get some tickets to see Billy Elliot. After this we went to Victoria station and got ourselves a one way travel card (which cost 4 pounds each). Why did we do this? Well I had printed some vouchers from the net which were part of the London 2for1 discount. If you buy a ticket at a railway station, even if it is just a one way travel card, you will get a massive discount on lots of attractions. With then went to the Globe Theatre to look at the exhibition and tour. The both of us were admitted for the price of one. They do not even ask to see prove that we indeed had a ticket with the British Railway symbol on it.

Just like last time I loved the visit to the Globe Theatre. The greatest thing was that they were rehearsing part of a new show (I believe it was ‘All’s Well that Ends Well’) so we actually saw a glimpse of the preparations.

After this we went to the Tower of London, where we used the same discount. As such we saved about 12 pounds per person ;). So it really is worth your while to look into it when you are going to London.
As always, the Tower of London was amazing. And our guide, Mitch, was really funny and did a wonderful job with explaining the history of the tower to us in such a small time. Unlike last year, the White Tower was now open to public. To be honest, I was a little disappointed since all they had on display were different types of armours; something I am not too interested in, but oh well. It was still fun to see.
In the evening we went to Billy Elliot. Although we were at the upper row (we paid only 20 pounds for the ticket) we had no problem seeing everything on the stage (except for, perhaps a small part of the décor). The musical was a bit of a letdown to be honest. It is definitely true that the dancing was great, but sometimes the story was a little vague and because of the accents I sometimes had a bit of a hard time understanding what was going on. I did, however, love the scenes in which Billy and his best friend were on stage together; those were just hilarious! But I suppose this is just not my type of musical. But don’t let that stop you from going ;). It, nevertheless, is a great night out for not too much money!

Day 4:
On the fourth day we went to the Sherlock Holmes museum. Even though it really is small it really is worth a visit. They have paid a lot of attention in the decoration of the place and they have wax statues of characters of some of the stories! And you never know, you might even run into the old Sherlock himself ;).

Afterwards we went to the British Library, hoping to get a tour there. The friendly person at the information desk informed us that there would be no tours during weekdays and that they would primarily have focused on the architecture of the building (which is just absolutely hideous to be honest). So instead we just visited the exhibition, which was really quite interested. Next to the first folio of Shakespeare there are quite a large number of beautiful manuscripts on display. The Library Shop is also well worth a visit. I found the perfect souvenir for one of my friends and even found a ‘must have’ book for myself: The Oxford Book of Death. Not the most cheerful topic, but it ties in perfectly with the tutorial that I will be following next semester.

Having time to spare we paid a visit to the British Museum; we primarily looked at the Egyptian and Greek/Roman galleries. We then returned to the hotel for a little, after which we went to the Jack the Ripper walk. The history of Jack the Ripper really is simply intriguing. Even if you are easily scared, these walks are not scary at all (take it from mrs scardy cat herself). Apparently we were the first people the guide ever encountered that were actually from Amsterdam. So I hope that we left a good impression ;) hahaha.

Day 5:
We went to Camden Market. My gosh that is one hell of a huge market. I thought there would be no end to it! And they have really cute clothes as well (for those amongst us who have size S-M that is). The only downside is that when you walk past stalls that sell food they keep calling you to try the food. Oh and if you see one spot where they don’t do this and where they sell crêpes... then walk past it and go for something else. Their crêpes taste like crap <.<.

We spent most of our day there, after which we spend a short visit to the National Portrait Gallery. There we saw the Elizabeth I painting that is so famous amongst us students as it is on the cover of our Norton Anthology of English Literature I hahaha.

We ended the day with some Chinese food in China Town (near Leichester Station) in Gerard’s corner. Although the food was pretty good you could really notice that they just wanted you to finish the food a.s.a.p. and then get the hell out. How do we know? Well as soon as you finish eating they come ask you if you did. They ask you if you wish for anything else; if you say no you will not even have to ask for the bill; they will get it for you yourself. In other words: we are not going to eat in China Town again... >.> Very very rude people.

Well that was the really really really long entry about your adventures in London. Hope you enjoyed reading it!



Adinda said...

Wow, it al sounds really really wonderful, makes me want to go to London even more! As soon as I've got the time and money I'll call you to ask where I should go! ;)

Blackcat said...

Sure! ;) I will fill you in on all the must sees... and all the ways to get discounts!!! I mean, were ARE Dutch :P