Off Air Travel

Blog-cation: A Stroll Through London

December 13, 2015
Was watching the Brit Gala Awards on TV just now (which happened earlier this year) and it brought me down memory lane when I was in London some months ago.
We stayed in the neighbourhood of Aldgate, which has a large Muslim population.
What was supposed to be the start of summer in the UK, turned out to be a cold and windy experience. Especially on our first day.
We arrived just before midnight London time, after a long-haul 13-hour flight.
We were tired, it was nightfall and it was cold.
When our cab reached Aldgate, it was deserted and quiet. We unloaded our luggage in the alley of the place we were staying, and yes, it did feel kind of dodgy.
But the mood changed when we got upstairs….
The apartment unit we were staying in was absolutely spotless and comfortable – and for a very reasonable price.
That’s what I like about this side of the world — they really know how to maintain and care for their hostels, apartments, etc. Lodging here comes with a strict set of rules for the occupants, that’s why.
One of the bedrooms
The kitchen
 Come the next morning, we took some photos outside of the veranda before heading out on our first day in London-town.
London is famous for its public transport. Traffic congestion happens still, just like in KL but a large number of people also opt for public transport – mostly the bus and train. Cabs are expensive.
Don’t forget to get your Oyster card! Being in London for a certain amount of time warrants for the purchase of one, for ease of commute on the tubes. (Cheaper too, rather than paying each time you’re on the go.)
Some of our first-day captures – decorated by the clear, blue skies – included some iconic landmarks of the city:


Ouh, there’s the famous London taxi!



Evidently summer; look at the flowers! Hehe.


Beginning to look a lot like summer? Hehe.
Now you’ve always seen the Tower Bridge from afar…
Don’t get it mixed up with the London Bridge, btw.
Here’s what it feels like crossing the bridge:


Tower London Museum (lots of history learning in there)
Eye of London
A view of Buckingham Palace from Green Park

Witnessing the change of guards outside Buckingham Palace

We were lucky enough to enjoy some ‘summer heat’ and blue skies during the first part of the trip, though there were days which were gloomy and rainy.
Typical UK weather.

On one of those days, we decided to head for the British Museum.


In the Southeast Asia section, we found exhibits with a familiar country of origin:


A bronze bell from Klang!

Because of the gloomy weather, we settled for some hot waffles right outside the museum before heading to our next destination. That was when it started to drizzle.

The trip would not be complete without going on a quest for the best fish and chips!With the help of Google, we found an award-winning eatery in Fulham called Bailey’s Fish and Chips.

Again, the streets of the Fulham neighbourhood was quiet. We thought we were in the wrong place at first.


But ta-daa!! Indeed, Bailey’s is located along this street…and their dish of fish and chips did NOT disappoint us! One dish was fit for 2 persons, actually.

Their staple sauce/gravy here is vinegar as opposed to ketchup or chilli sauce. There’s also s
omething you won’t find here — curry gravy! However, their version of curry is a little different than ours – thicker and not spicy. It tastes splendid with the fish, especially during the cold weather. The curry gravy did cost about RM6 alone, though. But it satisfied our UK-curry-craving. 🙂 

A heart-warming feature at this eatery is that they cater to the needs of Muslims. They serve halal sausages which are cooked separately. Good on ya, Bailey’s!
Another dining experience of Muslim-friendly cuisine was at China Tang, The Dorchester – a very upscale and posh hotel. Entering the hotel to get to the Chinese restaurant was like walking through etiquette class. People were having tea and scones in a very upper-class set-up.

“Can we go up to our room, now?” one of my nephews asked, after eating. I wish we were staying here too, kiddo! 

Fried Rice at China Tang

The food was alright, but worth an experience at The Dorcheser.


What I loved about the hotel was its restrooms. Each cubicle had its own sink and toiletries. Music was played with people reading famous poems to keep you company. Kinda creepy when you think of it. Some of the poems were dark

We also travelled outside of London, by taking the First Great Western. Easy to purchase tickets, convenient and reliable.



Okay, next stop : every Asian’s dream and must-go destination! LOL. 
…a factory outlet outside of London by the name of Bicester Village! Yes, the handbags are a lot cheaper than those in Malaysia.

If you’re a Kate Spade, Gucci, Coach or even Pandora fan – Bicester Village is a mandatory checklist item. 

Needed a break, so I ordered mango crush from Starbucks. You can’t find this in Malaysia.

I couldn’t resist. I got my first Anya Hindmarch. 😀 😀 

Hard work pays off, kids!

We ended our London trip by stopping by Piccadilly Circus. I can just see Bridget Jones walking by and the advert monitor goes, “Go Bridget, Go!”


Til next time, London!


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