Sunday, June 11, 2017

Back in London - My unforgettable visits to the city, Stonehenge and Wimbledon

London - Parliament Building Thames bwLondon was the first city I visited in Europe. That was sixteen years ago. I went back to London, this time with Mijo.

They say love is better the second time around. I'd like to say my trip to London was like that. Mijo loved it too. Bonus points because I saw one of my good childhood friends after many years of not seeing each other.


This was my first glimpse of London in 16 years. The Big Ben, just like the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge, is larger than life. The imposing icon loomed over us as we stepped out of the Westminster underground station. I remember, this was the same impression I got the first time I saw the famous landmark. The afternoon sun added an extra bright hue on the already beautiful scenery.
London - Parliament Building Big Ben

Mijo and I just had just landed into Heathrow airport two hours earlier that afternoon. Just like in other cities in the Northern Hemisphere, the summers provide longer days so the sun does not set until after 8pm. After checking into our hotel in the Kensington and Chelsea borough of the city, we took advantage of the remaining day light that day.  We got on the Underground train near our hotel and after five stops we got off at Westminster station.
London - Parliament Building  
London - Parliament Building Manchester London - Parliament Building sunset London - Parliament Building tourist 

The Big Ben, the Westminster Bridge and the Westminster Abbey are close to each other. Mijo and I lingered a bit in the area to take in the moment as if there were no other sites in the city besides these three landmarks. "We can take our time", we told ourselves. We even heard the chimes of the Big Ben several times.
  London - Westminster Abbey side 

Here's the front view of the Westminster Abbey. The tours were already closed for the day so we just took pictures of the facade. We decided to go back back to the Abbey the following day for the tours inside the church.
  London - Westminster Abbey Sanctuary 

Mijo and I continued our site seeing that evening towards Trafalgar Square where a lot of tourists were also congregating. The square commemorates the victory of the British navy in the Battle of Trafalgar in the 1800s. From there we walked to Picadilly Circus and had a quick bite to eat in the area and decided to head back to the hotel and called it a night.
  London - Trafalgar Square

Sampling local snacks is part of our travel experience. The hotel was near a grocery store called Sainsbury's. We did a quick shopping for cold beverages and some snacks before we headed back to the hotel.  One of the snacks we picked up was this shortbread cookies. They are so good.
London - Foodie Sainsbury shortbread

The sun was up as early as 5am. I was up early so I used that time to go through my London notes. Mijo and I had a long list for our first full day in London. I was extra excited that day because we were going to see Mabel, my good friend from my hometown, later that day after not seeing each other for over 20 years. 
London - Food hotel brekkie


After our breakfast at the hotel, we started with our site seeing back in Picadilly Circus. But before we got there, we had to brave the train ride during the Friday morning rush hour in London. 
London - Underground escalators

Looking at the system map made me feel like an absolute small town guy. San Francisco's Muni and BART systems are child's play compared to this. Given the nearest underground stop to our destination landmark, we had to figure out which line to take on which platform and the connecting station, if any. Our Underground stop was Picadilly Circus.
 London - Underground map

The plan is to walk around the area and then walk to Buckingham Palace, and then to Westminster Abbey, meet up with my good friend Mabel and her husband Jason for lunch at Covent Garden. We had planned more site seeing for later that day but we weren't sure if Mabel and Jason were going to be up for something like a visit to a museum or a ride in the kitschy London Eye. So we made our plans after lunch optional. We could check them out the next days.
London - Picadilly Circus Shaftesbury

London - Picadilly Circus Air St London - Picadilly Circus bus taxi bike London - Picadilly Circus Picadilly

We got to Picadilly Circus a tad early because the stores were still closed. I planned on checking out Waterstones bookstore to get a canvas tote bag for my souvenir but the store was closed. Luckily, there are shopping arcades that are open to public even though the stores are still closed. These arcades are cute and they have been around for a long time. If you are like me and enjoy looking at nice stuff you'll have a great time walking through London arcades. This one is called Princess Arcade. We came in through Picadilly and out on Jermyn St.
London - Princess Arcade crowd

London - Princess Arcade front London - Princess Arcade

And then a few steps away on Jermyn St. we got to Picadilly Arcade. The ceilings are much higher and the design is more intricate. Lots of jewellers, art galleries, cashmere stores, shoe stores, hat stores and ateliers. Looking at the window displays with the sample merchandise, tape measure and sewing machines next to each other gave me a 'hand made' impression. Though I am not familiar with the brand names, they all look exquisite, luxurious and impeccably made. It was so easy to romanticize.
London - Picadilly Arcade crowd

London - Picadilly Arcade front London - Picadilly Arcade statue

Across the street from Picadilly Arcade is Burlington Arcade. This is the biggest and longest of the three. I like that it makes use of natural lighting so even though it has its Old World charm it is not dark and stuffy inside. Lots of more popular brand names like Vilebrequin, La Perla, Penhaligon's and Harry's of London. I imagine this is the place where the monied used to come for their custom tailor made suits and shirts.
London - Burlington Arcade crowd

London - Burlington Arcade entrance London - Burlington Arcade Harry's

So we walked some more on Old Bond St. and more store but on the designer high end. We continued walking to Picadilly and to St. James's St. Aside from gastro pubs, restaurants and art galleries, one thing the caught my attention on this street is the proliferation of apothecaries selling beauty products, soaps, shaving cremes and fragrances, etc. And they all look like 'mom and pop' rather than a big chain brand.

We finally made it to Buckingham Palace. The area has wide boulevards and lots of trees. I've been there before but I haven't seen it with blue skies in the background which made the colors of the trees and the roads a lot more vibrant.
London - Buckingham Palace avenue

We came here way before the changing of the guard and we were not planning to wait for a couple of hours for that. The Palace tours have not commenced yet because it was too early in the season. While we were taking pictures, we did notice some activity within the Palace walls which indicated that they were preparing for something. A few minutes later, a line of black cars came out of the building. One of the cars was carrying the Queen. We saw the Queen wave from the car and everyone, including us, felt elated.  I don't have pictures to prove it because everything happened so quickly. They were probably on their way to visit the city of Manchester after the horrible and senseless bombing attack that happened there a few days earlier. 
London - Buckingham Palace palace

London - Buckingham Palace statue  London - Buckingham Palace gate London - Buckingham Palace guards

A consolation was the tour of The Royal Mews which actually turned out to be delightful and educational. The Royal Mews is at the back of Buckingham Palace. The mews are the place where the Royal Horses are kept. The tour includes displays of meticulously preserved carriages and coaches. Some of these carriages were used for special occasions like the Royal weddings.
London - Buckingham Palace Jubilee Coach

London - Buckingham Palace coaches London - Buckingham Palace horses London - Buckingham Palace Irish State Coach London - Buckingham Palace Mews stable

 We went to Westminster Abbey next. We decided to take a tour of the inside since we couldn't do it the day before. That was great but what's not great is that taking pictures was not allowed so I have nothing to show for it. How can you not take pictures of something that beautiful?

Mijo and I met up with my childhood friend Mabel and her husband Jayson. We both grew up in the small hometown in the Philippines and she moved to the UK for work as a Registered Nurse in one of the hospitals outside Greater London. We planned on meeting Mabel and her husband Jayson at Covent Garden
London - Covent Garden market

London - Covent Garden inside London - Covent Garden London - Covent Garden dining

My friend Mabel asked what we want for lunch. We've been wanting to try a 'proper' fish and chips so we all went to a pub called Punch and Judy. We started catching up from where we last saw each other. It was so easy. How I miss her! We probably spent a couple of hours eating and chatting.
London - Punch and Judy fish and chips London - Punch and Judy bar

We did have something in our list after lunch that day but we were not sure if my friends were going to be up for a site seeing with us so we made the rest of the day 'optional'. The good thing is that they haven't been to the National Gallery themselves so they thought  it was a great idea to go there after lunch. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Mabel and I would be meeting someday in London next to the masterpieces by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer, etc. Maybe someday Mabel and I will see the rest of our little hometown clique - Pam, Mayet and Ferdie, in London as well? 
London - National Gallery facade

London - National Gallery Mosaic floor London - National Gallery halls


Here are my favorites...

 London - National Gallery Botticelli Venus and Mars
Venus and Mars
about 1485
Sandro Botticelli
Tempera and oil on poplar

London - National Gallery Da Vinci Virgin of the Rocks
The Virgin of the Rocks
about 1491-1499
Leonardo da Vinci 
Oil on poplar

London - National Gallery Vermeer Young Woman Standing
A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal
about 1670-1672
Johannes Vermeer 
Oil on canvas

London - National Gallery Van Gogh Sunflowers
Sunflowers
1888
Vincent van Gogh 
Oil on canvas

London - National Gallery Van Gogh Chair
Van Gogh's Chair
1888
Vincent van Gogh 
Oil on canvas

London - National Gallery Rembrandt Self Portrait
Self Portrait at the Age of 34
1640
Rembrandt
Oil on canvas


Thanks to Jayson and Mabel, our savvy locals, we made it on time to see the Tower Bridge while in it is the process of lowering its bascules. This view was taken from the esplanade across the bridge on the Southbank.
London - Tower Bridge open

More stories and reminiscing while we all lingered on the esplanade. It was also a great part of the Thames to see the city.  It is next to the city hall, there is a great view of the Tower Bridge and a picturesque view of the river and city of London.
London - Tower Bridge Southbank esplanade

We decided to walk to see The Shard via the Hays Galleria. I really love the architecture. We checked out the arcades in Picadilly Circus earlier in the morning that day and I was starting to see this design pattern being used in several places in London.
London - Hays Galleria

We finally reached The Shard. It is one of the newest skyscrapers in the city and it soars above 1000 ft in height. There is an observation deck on the top floor of the building but we decided we'd just check out their observation deck shop. A few hours of fun times were not enough. We were going to see them again the day after next in Wimbledon. That was a great day of reunion with good old friends.
London - The Shard


The next day, same drill. Breakfast at the hotel and an early site seeing tour. By the third day, we were getting the hang of the London subways. Some of their subway stations are as big as shopping malls. Some of the tunnel connections are long. There was one point it felt like we walked for a mile to transfer from one line to another.
London - Underground commuters London - Underground Charing Cross schedule

First thing in our list on our third day was The Tower of London.  We got on the underground and got off at Tower Hill stop. I have to admit that I missed this attraction the first time I went to London because didn't know anything about it. I made sure, though, that on my second trip that I don't miss it. The Tower has played many roles in the country's history - a royal residence, an armory, a mint, a prison, etc. This place is huge and we were there for the entire morning. I recommend getting an audio guide to get the most out of your visit there. Great views of the Thames River, the newer London skyscrapers like The Gherkin, the Tower Bridge from the complex. 
London - London Tower White Tower
London - London Tower Waterloo Block London - London Tower Tower Bridge London - London Tower Portable Altarpiece London - London Tower entrance

Right after our tour of The Tower of London, we walked toward the Tower Bridge and walked on the Bridge. The views from there are amazing. The weather also cooperated because it provided great background and colors. The amount of tourists that check out the Bridge made me think about the traffic jam it must be causing the commuters passing through there. A long line of people were queued up for the Tower Bridge tour.
London - Tower Bridge traffic

London - Tower Bridge London - Tower Bridge view London - Tower Bridge The Shard

Mijo and I decided to get lunch at a place called Leadenhall. It is on the same side of the Thames as the Tower of London and it is on the way to our next destination. I love the very high ceilings and Victorian style of this market. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you'll probably remember this place.
London - Leadenhall crowd

London - Leadenhall walking London - Leadenhall front London - Leadenhall dining

We continued towards St. Paul's Cathedral. Like the other London attractions, I've been there before but never inside. Unfortunately, taking pictures inside is not allowed. I bought some postcards just so that I have pictures of the interior of the cathedral. The climb up to the dome was a work out but it was all worth it.
London - St Pauls Cathedral

London - St Pauls Cathedral underground London - St Pauls Cathedral grand organ gala London - St Pauls Cathedral announcements

From St. Paul's we got on the Underground again and got off at Tottenham Court Road, which is the nearest Underground station to the British Museum. Even the train station is artsy!
London - Underground Tottenham Court London - Underground Tottenham Court station

Finally, we reached the British Museum. I couldn't go to the museum the first time I was in London because of time constraints. I am glad that I was able to see it in this trip. We went there on a Friday and the museum is open late on Fridays until 8:30pm during the summer.
London - British Museum

I love the museum's Great Court. Again, I see the similarity of this design from the arcades and gallerias dotting London. From now on, I'd think of London whenever I see this style.
London - British Museum lobby

London - British Museum lobby view London - British Museum lobby bw

My favorite is the Rosetta Stone. I used to read about this in my history books in Grade school and highschool. I thought it was a small piece of stone so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is actually a big slab of stone and quite thick and has a solid appearance. It contains multi lingual texts - Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, Greek texts and Demotic texts.  It is the key to understanding how to read Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
London - British Museum Rosetta Stone

London - British Museum guide

Another favorite of mine are these Winged Human Headed Bulls from the Nimrud, Ancient Assyria about 865-860 BC.
  London - British Museum winged human head lion
London - British Museum Nineveh London - British Museum Assyrian

Mijo and I took a break and decided to check out the cafe inside the museum. We were happy to see that they serve English Afternoon tea. We've had afternoon teas in San Francisco before but this was our first in England.  Having a 'proper' afternoon tea in London is a unique, relaxing and immersive experience for me. The food may not look that much but we got full right away.
  London - British Museum afternoon tea

Not necessarily my favorite but it caught my attention. This is the bust of Ramesses II. I recommend getting the audio guide to get the most out of the trip to the museum. I also enjoyed the Egyptian mummies upstairs.
  London - British Museum Ramesses 2
London - British Museum mummy katebet London - British Museum hieroglyphs London - British Museum Amenhotep 3 London - British Museum Shabtis

Looking at the Lewis Chessmen reminded me of Harry Potter during the chess game with Ron Weasley.
London - British Museum Lewis Chessmen

We left the museum a few minutes before closing time. This place deserves another visit. In fact, I already have a list of places to see the next time I visit. I wouldn't mind if I get a job in London someday. It was already dark by the time we got back to the hotel. 

On the Fourth day, we met my good friend Mabel and her husband Jayson again. The plan for the day was go to Wimbledon
London - Wimbledon station

Mabel and Jayson picked us up at the Wimbledon train station just outside the London center. It is located in the London borough of Merton. We made a quick stop at Prince of Wales gastropub near the Wimbledon station for lunch. There, I ordered another local dish called Shepherd's Pie which is filled with lamb and potatoes.
London - Food Prince of Wales Shepherds Pie

They also haven't been to a Wimbledon tour before so we decided all four of us do the Centre Court tour. I'm an avid fan of tennis so a tour of one of the tennis grand slam event is like going to big cathedrals for Catholics. I've only seen Wimbledon's Center Court on TV and it was unbelievable to be walking around the complex without the hassle of long lines and expensive tickets during game season. The Centre Court tour came with a free admission to the Wimbledon Museum. The highlight of the museum tour was seeing the Singles trophy for the Men and Women.
London - Wimbledon Museum Singles trophies

Lots of Wimbledon memorabilia like outfits worn by Wimbledon champions like Roger Federer, Serena and Venus, Maria Sharapova, and Rafa Nadal. I also loved the Wimbledon store next to the museum.
  London - Wimbledon Museum Serena Murray London - Wimbledon Museum Serena Venus

We were told that the Centre Court tour tickets were sold out. It is a timed tour so it was good that we pre bought the tickets online. We were with a small group of probably 20 people and we were shown around the complex.  Our tour guide was excellent, very knowledgeable, has a great sense of humor and he showed genuine interest in showing us around. I learned that the tennis balls used in the games there are made in the Philippines. He also patiently answered in details each question from our small group and gave us tips how to get tickets during game season.
London - Wimbledon Centre Court tour

London - Wimbledon courts London - Wimbledon covered balcony

We finally got inside the main court. It was Wow! I only saw it on TV. The grass is so green, the seats are green and I felt a sense of orderliness while we were there that we whispered every time we spoke. Maybe someday I'll see a game there?
 London - Wimbledon Center Court
London - Wimbledon Centre Court hill London - Wimbledon Centre Court seats

 We spent lots of time in Wimbledon that we couldn't make it to Hampton Court Palace on time. Thankfully, Jayson and Mabel knew how to see the gardens without going inside the Palace. The Hampton Court Palace was built during Henry VIII's reign and it is a historic Royal palace.
London - Hampton Court Palace fountain

London - Hampton Court Palace crowd London - Hampton Court Palace entrance

I love the gardens there. In fact, that's one of the things I noticed about London. It is very lush, trees everywhere.
  London - Hampton Court Palace garden
London - Hampton Court Palace Pond Gardens London - Hampton Court Palace privvy garden

We were the last ones to leave the palace that evening. On our way out, we witnessed a Changing of the Guard by the gate. It was quite a ceremony!
  London - Hampton Court Palace guards

Mabel and Jayson found a place near the Hampton Court Palace called The Mute Swan to sit down and eat dinner before driving us back to our hotel that evening. I ordered another pie dish and paired it with a dark lager. The drive back to Kensington and Chelsea was a breeze. This was going to be the last time we were going to see them in this trip. We stepped out of the car and we said our goodbyes. Our reunion was short but very sweet indeed.
London - The Mute Swan pie London - The Mute Swan pint lager  


 On the fourth day, we were already blending in well with the London train commuters. By this time, we were getting more comfortable with getting on, getting off, selecting which line to take, which platform to get on, with transfer point to take, and adding more value into our Oyster card.
  London - Underground ventilation London - Underground Way Out London - Underground ticket machines

We were back in Westminster bridge and took more pictures of the Parliament Building and the Big Ben. And then we walked towards the London Eye. We know some people might think the Eye is kitschy and a tourist trap and it has nothing London about it. However, we haven't been there so we want to know if there is any truth to what people are saying.
London - London Eye

Ok, it is touristy. Maybe just a hint of London? But the views from the Eye are spectacular. I recommend getting on the Eye just because of the views. There is a short London 4D show right after buying the tickets.
  London - London Eye Parliament up view
London - London Eye Southbank view London - London Eye Shard view London - London Eye Parliament down view

We walked around the Southbank right after our London Eye ride. It was Sunday so there were a lot of families and group of friends in the area. I couldn't tell if they are locals or tourists like us but everyone seemed so laid-back and just enjoying a leisurely Sunday. Lots of sculptures, bookstalls, shops dotting the area. I especially liked the sand sculptures by the bank of the Thames River.
  London - Southbank Gabriels Wharf
London - Southbank Jubilee Oracle London - Southbank London Pride London - Southbank carousel London - Southbank book sale

We finally reached Tate Modern. It is a modern art museum by the banks of Thames and housed in a refurbished power plant. The space is massive.
  London - Tate Modern facade front
London - Tate Modern facade back view London - Tate Modern facade side view

I love the texture of the buildings facade.
  London - Tate Modern facade texture

Just like the National Gallery and the British Museum, there is no charge to go into the Tate Modern. There are donation boxes where people can willfully give whatever amount they want.
  London - Tate Modern donation box

The place is massive. The collections are on one side of the building. 
  London - Tate Modern interior

There is a huge museum store on the other side, which I enjoyed immensely.
London - Tate Modern store

Here are my favorites...

  London - Tate Modern Picasso Weeping Woman
Weeping Woman 
1937
Pablo Picasso
Oil paint on canvas


  London - Tate Modern Picasso Head of a woman
Head of a Woman (Fernande)
1909
Pablo Picasso
Plaster


  London - Tate Modern Monet Waterlilies
Water-Lilies after 1916
1937
Claude Monet
Oil paint on canvas


  London - Tate Modern Miro Negress
A Star Caresses the Breast of a Negress 
1938
Joan Miró 
Oil paint on canvas


  London - Tate Modern Matisse Escargot
The Snail
1953
Henri Matisse
Gouache on paper, cut and pasted on paper mounted on canvas


  London - Tate Modern Matisse Backs
The Backs
1955-56
Henri Matisse
Bronze


  London - Tate Modern Kadinsky Cossacks
Cossacks 
1910-11
Wassily Kandinsky
Oil paint on canvas


  London - Tate Modern Richter phone case
Strip 
2011
Gerhard Richter
Digital print on paper between aluminum and acrylic
  

  London - Tate Modern Beuys
Lighting with Stags in its Glare 
1958-85
Joseph Beuys
Bronze, iron, aluminum, compass (39 elements)


  London - Tate Modern Bulatov Forward
Forward
2016
Erik Bulatov
Steel

Afterward, we found a place to get lunch near the museum called The Wharf. It was Sunday and noticed that the place had specials that day called roasts. I'm not sure if roasts are served only on Sundays  but I went ahead and ordered the chicken roast with half pint of Camden pale ale.
  London - The Wharf Camden half pint London - The Wharf Chicken roast

 Next on our list was the Platform 9 3/4 across on the other side of Thames. We walked to the nearest Underground station called Waterloo Station. This station is huge. It is the largest station I've seen so far in this trip.
  London - Underground Waterloo station
London - Underground Waterloo platform London - Underground Waterloo crowd

Our destination was King's Cross station. This is where some scenes of Harry Potter were shot and this is where Platform 9 3/4 is located. Since we couldn't fit a trip to Warner Brother's Harry Potter studio that time, a trip to Platform 9 3/4 would do as a consolation.
London - Underground Kings Cross

It is another big station but not as big as Waterloo. What it lack in size it makes up for it with looks. This station is pretty slick inside and outside. It is a great mix of old and new.
  London - Underground Kings Cross station
London - Underground Kings Cross St Pancras London - Underground Kings Cross platform

There was a long line to get a chance to take a picture with the Platform plus a fee, I've been told. Mijo and decided we are fine just looking at it from a few yards away. There is a store next to it for Harry Potter memorabilia. Not surprising at all was that most Gryffindor items are sold out. Maybe there is a spell to reproduce them faster?
London - Platform 9 3/4

London - Platform 9 3/4 wands London - Platform 9 3/4 store

Next to King's Cross is the St. Pancras Station. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you'd recognize the scene with this place in it. This is  another stunning underground station. If I lived in London, I would take pictures of all the beautiful train stations in the city. It is a tourist attraction in its own, in my opinion.
London - Underground St Pancras

London - Underground St Pancras statue London - Underground St Pancras facade London - Underground St Pancras commuters

We found a branch of Fortnum and Mason store inside St. Pancras Station. It is famous for its afternoon teas services. It also sells all types of teas, jams, marmalades, and tea wares. One can also sit down and have an afternoon tea at this store.
  London - Fortnum and Mason teas
London - Fortnum and Mason store London - Fortnum and Mason marmalaides London - Fortnum and Mason jams

 I'll update this blog about my visits to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Oxford and my souvenir shopping experience at Harrod's when I get a chance this week.

 London - Windsor Castle Windsor Royal Shopping

  The following day, Mijo and I took a bus tour to see the sites out of London.

The tour company is located at the Victoria Coach station which is near the Victoria underground station. Since we arrived early, we decided to check out the station. Judging by the amount of foot traffic, this station seems big. It also has a pretty facade.
London - Underground Victoria platform
London - Underground Victoria station London - Underground Victoria

The bus ride leaving London was surprisingly immensely satisfying. While riding on the Underground is fast and smooth, I only saw dark train tube outside the windows. The bus ride allowed me to see pretty rolling green hills and lovely countryside sceneries. 
London - Stonehenge green

We finally arrived Windsor Castle. We got there before the gate opened but there were already a lot of people waiting in line. It looked like it was chaotic. Several lines going everywhere. We went with a bus tour so we had a our own line. There were bus loads of tourists from Asia and they had their own long line as well. I saw several tourist who went there on their own and they were confused and didn't know which line to fall into.  This was my second time here and I don't remember my visit here 16 years ago this confusing. Maybe if we had arrived here during the week the scene would have been less crazy and much pleasant?
  London - Windsor Castle gate
London - Windsor Castle State Apartments London - Windsor Castle gates

We waited in line for almost two hours. By the time we got inside, there were no more audio guides available. This was the only part of our London trip that was a bummer. We made the best of our very short time in Windsor Castle.
London - Windsor Castle redcoats
London - Windsor Castle Quadrangle London - Windsor Castle Lower Ward

While waiting in line, Mijo let me wander around Windsor while he stayed in queue. Here are some Windsor scenes I've captured. I really liked a small chapel called St. John the Baptist.
London - Windsor Castle Windsor London - Windsor Castle St John the baptist
London - Windsor Castle Windsor Royal Shopping cafes London - Windsor Castle St John the baptist side London - Windsor Castle St John the baptist inside

It started raining on our way to the Stonehenge. This was also my second time to Stonehenge but it felt great to be back to see it again. We got lucky because the rain had stopped by the time we got to Salisbury. We had to walk about 20 minutes from the Tourist Center area where buses park to the area where the Stonehenge is located. Mijo was expecting some magical experience to happen while we were there. He said he didn't feel anything special. I said me neither.
  London - Stonehenge view 5
London - Stonehenge view 4 London - Stonehenge view 3 London - Stonehenge view 1a

Our last destination in our bus tour is Oxford. This was also my second time visiting Oxford.
  London - Oxford Radcliffe Camera

After my second visit, I still didn't understand how the University is structured. I did enjoy the walking tour and the scenery as it made me feel scholarly.
  London - Oxford St Mary the Virgin
London - Oxford Magdalen Stree East London - Oxford library London - Oxford Brasenose Lane

We made it back to the city before Harrod's closing time. I went there not to shop for personal items but to buy souvenirs such as reusable grocery bags.
  London - Harrods food hall

While making my way out of the department store, I stumbled into this beautiful part of the store - Egyptian inspired interior called  the Egyptian Escalators. I don't think I've seen anything like it in any of my travels.
London - Harrods Egyptian escalators

London - Harrods Egyptian elevator 0 London - Harrods decor

There still daylight by the time I stepped out of the department store and had time to snap more pictures.
London - Harrods side facade
London - Harrods window London - Harrods taxi
London - Harrods front London - Harrods building

As for the food souvenirs we brought home with us, we got some eclectic mix but we made sure they are not available in San Francisco.
London - Foodie Thorntons toffee London - Foodie Harry Potter Bertie Botts Beans London - Foodie Fortnum and Mason teas London - Foodie Fortnum and Mason shortbread London - Foodie Fortnum and Mason marmalade London - Foodie Caffe Nero coffee  

There are still a lot of sites and landmarks that we did not see during this trip. I hope there'll be another opportunity to visit the city in the future.

Mijo and I absolutely enjoyed our trip to London. Thank you, London! Cheers!

~rl


3 comments:

Renelee Luistro said...

Nice! I felt like i have been to London myself reading your blog👍And i can tell that you had a great time there! ☺️

Roland L. said...

I am glad you liked it. Thanks for dropping by sis!

SRUN POR said...

I was very fortunate to be able to visit your page.
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