In an early Friday morning I am at the Brussels Midi train station, about to board the Eurostar and go to London for an extended weekend. My first time traveling with the Eurostar train. And I am looking around, listening to people speak French or English with a superb accent, thinking how lucky I am and how cool is Europe!
Mind the Gap. Harry Potter
After 2 hours via the Channel Tunnel we arrived at King’s Cross Station. I can’t believe I am in the city of London! So much to see. Where to start?
Pay a visit to Big Ben? London Tower and Buckingham Palace? Westminster Abbey and London Eye? The Victoria & Albert or British Museums? Walk in Hide Park or shop on Oxford street?
St Paul’s Cathedral. Kensington. Paddington. Trafalgar Square… Ooh, London with all your bloody iconic places. Still keeping calm and carry on.
Time for a cup of tea. Coffee for me. And a biscuit.
Let’s go first to Hogwards and to the platform 9 & 3/4, this if Dobby or the house elf will let us (for le connoisseurs).
Soho. Piccadilly Circus
Meeting point next to Piccadilly Circus Underground Station on Glasshouse Street (exit 1). I had a 2 hours walking tour in Soho called – Soho, Piccadilly and Chinatown, with a first stop at Golden Square.
When in Piccadilly, the tour guide asked us first in which city are we? Apparently we are in the City of Westminster. That was a first lesson.
The walk continued in China Town, still with decorations from the New Chinese Year. The evening ended in Soho. We found out that this part of the city used to be a dodgy one, but today is lively and is considered very trendy, with many restaurants and jazz bars.
Covent Garden. Mamma mia
If you “fancy”, a theater night out with dinner and musical is part of a proper London experience in West End. While dressed British in a classic Trench coat and with Oxford shoes.
Before “Mamma Mia” musical at Novello Theater we had a delicious dinner at Hugh (Holborn) with fish and a fantastic Mars cheesecake. Then, discovered beautiful Covent Garden area and the market there.
Let’s not forget a British pub for serious fish & chips. Then take a double decker bus and see London by night (and most likely, rain).
Notting Hill. Love Actually
Lastly, our accommodation was in Notting Hill – a beautiful neighborhood, with a famous flea market on Sunday and a Carnaval, even a own way of life. The weekly market is on historical street Portobello Road, filled with colorful houses and many cafés.
Can’t help it, but think of the movie “Notting Hill” with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant or the timeliness Christmas Movie “Love Actually”. London does make you think of movies and clichés, because similar to New York or Paris, we first travel to London through all the movies .
Made an exercise and imagined my two trips to London black & white, with a touch of Red. Some cities are simply amazing!
As I wrote in my old journal notes, I am glad I discovered Covent Garden, Soho and Notting Hill in my second trip, that I went to Piccadilly for a musical, and to have revisited Hyde Park and Big Ben.