The five days we had in London was meant to be a shopping expedition. We did end up spending three full days on shopping, but on the other days we managed to squeeze in most of the main sights, three musicals and catch ups with some old friends. I'm very blessed.
London was wet, windy, loud and crowded - everything I usually hate. But somehow, I ended up falling in love with this city just 30 minutes into our taxi ride from the airport to our hotel. Every morning, as I looked at the view of London from the 15th floor of Saint Georges Hotel, I felt so insignificant. But somehow, I also felt like I was part of something bigger.
As I have mentioned, London weather wasn't the best. We experienced cold, lots of rain and 30mph winds on most of the days. Nevertheless, that didn't stop us from visiting the main attractions (I would never forgive myself if I didn't see these on my first visit!).
On the same day we also caught London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern and King's Cross Station, though I couldn't be bothered queueing for a photo with Platform 9¾! On our last day, we made our way to our last sightseeing stop, the Buckingham Palace, and were lucky enough to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
I also got the chance to watch a grand total of three musicals during my stay. Prior to this trip, I had only ever watched one musical which was 'Once'. In the words of my two friends who are seasoned theatregoers, I was a 'white piece of fabric in need of splashes of paint and colour'. We watched Mamma Mia, Miss Saigon and Phantom Of The Opera. Eva Noblezada's rendition of Kim in Miss Saigon was hands down one of the most impressive performances I've ever witnessed.
And now for the food. I'm not sure if it was just because the weather was cold, but I think I ended up loving everything I ate. Here are some favourites though:
#1: Homemade lemonade @ Honest BurgersA nice, cold mug of lemonade was one of the best power-ups I could ask for after a long day of walking around the city.
#2: Honest burger with rosemary-salted chips @ Honest Burgers
It was a great burger with a juicy patty, tasty fillings and dripping sauce. You should have seen me with those chips. I was so, so full by the end of the burger but I kept on stuffing those chips into my mouth because they were that good.
#3: Wild boar sausages and mash @ Balans
A classic comfort dish and it definitely warmed up my tummy and my body. I've been craving it since returning and had to make it for dinner one night!
#4: Lobster roll @ Burger & Lobster
I love the simplicity of having only three items on the menu. From the bread to the lobster to the fries to the salad, no complaints. No complaints at all.
#5: Gelato ubriaco @ Assaggetti
I am so happy we randomly came past this place. Not only were the little bites amazing (I had vegetable soup and scallops and seafood), the dessert was also to die for. I chose gelato ubriaco which translates to drunk ice cream, basically a scoop of chocolate ice cream dunked in a glass of liqueur (sadly I don't know which exactly!). I don't understand how something so simple can taste so heavenly.
And that concludes our two week trip to South East France and London. I returned with an extra 8kg worth of shopping, memories, newfound motivation and a different perspective. I wouldn't traded this experience for anything else in the world.