A trip to London wouldn't be complete without visiting Oxford Street and the now famous Westfield at Stratford. I was one of those last minute Christmas shoppers and was left scrambling looking for presents for everyone, mainly for my dad. He asked for a pen, like a nice legit one that grown ups carry =P For whatever reason, I decided against going into House of Fraser and John Lewis while I was on Oxford St. so I was forced to stop by Stratford because I couldn't go home empty handed.
The Stratford mall is crowded enough as it is, but on Christmas Eve, it's a complete and utter nightmare. John Lewis is on the opposite side of where the station is so I was hot, sweaty and irritated by the time I reached the store. After I left John Lewis, I passed by this place called Bubbleology, which was funny because the day before I was wondering if they had any boba places there.
As with anything that Londoners aren't too familiar with (burritos at Adobo anyone?), I was a little iffy about this place. I mean I knew it wasn't going to be anything like Tapioca Express, but I was curious. When I saw that they didn't have my go-to Thai tea, I had to settle on Taro instead.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it took them about 10 minutes to start making my drink and they also made other customers' drinks who ordered after me. I mean I know customer service in England is nearly non-existent, but it's boba for crying out loud! On a busy day, TapEx can make my drink in like 3 minutes... Bah, oh well. Oh and I also noticed they were using shakers to mix the drinks. Really really weird. The tea itself was okay. It's taro. If you can't get that right then you probably need to shut it down.
Here's another random shot from my window. I'm not sure why I took it, but there you go:
I didn't have too many pictures from Christmas, but I did make sure to get a shot of our lovely Christmas Roast.
Honestly, I don't think you've lived until you've had my mom's cooking. She's amazing.
She made prime rib and ordered ham for Boxing Day. It made me feel like I was back in San Diego :)
So I've been to London like maybe 3 times before this and I had never once been to the British Museum. I was surprised at how close it was to where my mom works. This time I made sure to visit.
|Old school Wizard's Chess.|
Some vintage jewelry. It belonged to some girl's mom from the 1680's ;)
I'm going to need one of these for the zombie apocalypse.
Why don't they make these anymore? Or do they...
I was legitimately freaked out by the mummies. I really thought at any second they were going to wake up and start attacking everyone.
A Japanese woman's vanity. So jelly! It's gorgeous. I want it for myself!
I have this thing about weapons, mainly swords and things. My lifelong dream is to become a ninja so I was really excited when I saw these weapons that were in mint condish.
This katana actually belonged to a samurai, but whatevs. Ninjas used katanas too!
I didn't notice this guy until I overheard someone say, "It looks like a vintage Dalek."
I had no idea that the British Museum was so big. I swear, it was like being in the TARDIS. Rooms just kept popping up out of nowhere. I'm going to have to go back because I'm pretty sure I only covered half of the the exhibits.
Everytime I've been to London, I don't ever get to explore during the night. This time around, I was able to and went to a few places that I had never been before, like the Churchill War Rooms for example. That place is awesome and it's a great reminder of how much of a legend (read: badass) Winston Churchill was. My friend and I walked there from Trafalgar Square and we walked down some streets I'd never been before. The city really is beautiful if you just stop and look around for a second.
No matter how many times I go there, I am always fascinated by this view of Big Ben looking down Whitehall.
This was taken on the same day. And no it did not take me all day to walk down to Big Ben haha! My friend and I had gone elsewhere, then walked over.
My friend had never been on the London Eye and I had never been on it at night so we decided that night was as good as any to go.
|Looking down at the capsule below us.|
With that said and done, I just want to say that I am never ever ever going to ride that thing ever again. Like ever. I think 3 times is enough don't you think? Also, the line for that was so unbelievably long, nothing like I had seen before. The wait wasn't very long though, but still it was ridics.
Another first for me on this trip was visiting St. Paul's Cathedral. I've always seen it, in the far off distance but had never actually gone anywhere near it. The area near St. Paul's is super nice, by the way. And speaking of nice places, I had to go to Sloane Square Station to catch a bus (long story) and holy cow is that area posh or what?! I felt very... poor, LOL!
Anyway, St. Paul's was absolutely beautiful. You can't take pictures when you're inside so here are some exterior shots:
The dome has three viewing galleries, all of which are only accessible by spiral stairwells (you can go on the lift but only if you are disabled). The first is the Whispering Gallery which is actually inside the dome and was 257 steps up from the cathedral floor. It sounds like a nightmare, but it wasn't that bad because the steps were not very steep and the stairwell was very wide. I didn't take any pictures, but it basically looks down on the altar and cathedral floor. An amazing view :)
The next gallery is the Stone Gallery which is outside and can be seen from the picture above (the terrace looking area around the dome). It's another 119 steps up from the Whispering Gallery and the steps were actually normal sized steps so it was a little bit tiring going up. Good thing I had some practice at the Covent Garden station (but that's another story for another day).
Here's a couple of pictures from the Stone Gallery:
|Hi Tate Modern! I see you!!|
Afterwards, my friend and I walked over to the Tate Modern to check out some art. I made sure to say hello to my good friend "Marguerite Kelsey." Here are just a couple of photos I took:
|The Snail by Matisse|
|"It's a full on Monet!"|
I'm not like a hipster so I don't
pretend to understand all art (especially contemporary/modern) so I couldn't help but laugh at these guys that were trying to figure out this black canvas.
I got really sick on New Years Eve so we ended up staying in. It actually wasn't too bad since we were able to watch a bunch of firework shows from the balcony. Fireworks are legal there so a lot of the neighbors were setting off their own. We were treated to about 15 different shows. Here's a really crappy photo of that from our balcony.
On New Years day, my friend and I took in a match at White Hart Lane. I was still pretty sick and it was cold as balls that day (excuse my language). It was probably the coldest day during my entire trip. It didn't rain or snow or anything. It was just hella cold.
My family and I went back to Hogwarts (aka the Warner Brothers Studio) to say hello to Harry and the gang. I didn't take as many pictures as last time, but I made sure to take a picture next to my BFF.
I had intended on putting my hair up that day just like hers, but I was running late after coming back from last minute shopping at Stratford. By the way, there is a reason why I'm wearing that oversized Padres jersey. But the explanation for that will be in another post, at another blog, which I swear I'll get to before the turn of the century.
Last time I went, I forgot to take pictures of some of the concept art. They are so beyond brilliant. I would definitely hang some of them up in my own home.
And because I'm crazy... (don't ask me how much it cost)
It's legit. I tested it. I opened the gate to the underground garage at my parents' building.
Well, that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading through this post and if you haven't already, make sure you check out Part 1 as well.