England

London part one: from Picadilly to Primark!

Sunday night and what a blessing, just having a few moments at home without anything I need to do. Cleaning has been done, groceries have been taken care of and laundy has been folded. Oh wait a minute, I need to pack for Berlin AND should complete my Spanish homework. But then again, that can wait until tomorrow.

I can’t believe London is over already. I consider this my first proper time in London as a traveler. My first time was when I was still in high school and we did an exchange program. All I remember is that we stayed with a family that had a huge house with pink toilet seats and a cat that kept crawling into bed with me each night… The second time I went to London, it was on a day cruise with my mother, her husband and my sister. Theo (my mum’s husband) got extremely seasick and spent the rest of the day hanging out around the loo area of the National Gallery. Poor guy. On top of that it was raining all day long, so we just hid in the shops to stay warm. Not a very memorable experience. So now it was about time to explore London properly.

Nina and I landed at Gatwick at 9.00 am but only made it to our hotel (Hilton Metropole) by noon. After dropping off our bags we went back to Piccadilly to meet up with Melissa, “the reason” we went to London in the first place. She’s a penpal of the both of us and spent a week in London with her coworker Karen. Her other friends Vanessa and Vaughan were also there so we explored London with a group of people.

piccadilly Thames

After taking a traditional phone booth picture (need to have at least one of those) and having fun with geese and squirrels in St. James’s park we made our way to Buckingham Palace. Not much to see there in my opinion (the castles in Scotland are so much prettier) and we continued to Big Ben, the Thames and basically just walked around for hours. Then it got darkish and we decided to go shopping at Oxford Street.

phonebooth

Here comes the embarrassing part of today’s entry: I love Primark. My only wish while visiting London was to go to one, other than that I decided just to tag along. But Primark it just had to be.  I’ve been to a few of them while traveling through Scotland (Martijn went nuts!) but I just love buying a lot for little. I know the quality is poor and you actually have to dive into a pile and use your elbows to find the right size, but still, it’s such a fun experience. After Primark we made our way over to Kensington to go to Churchill Arms, one of the most famous pubs (apparently) in London. Here we met up with our friends Ellen and Raquel and later on Susie (the local one) came around as well. The Thai food was awesome and the atmosphere even better so I’d definitely recommend making your way over if you are around. Make reservations though, even though it was just a Monday, it was full to the roof. Shame they already closed at 23.00 hrs.

churchill arms

After closing  we made our way over back to the hotel where we chatted, showed each other the purchases of the day of Primark (Raquel and Ellen went by themselves) and finally went to sleep… resting my head on an (expensive) Hilton pillow and so many things in my head, I still managed to catch about 5 hours … just enough to make it through the next day!

I’m curious, how do you like Primark? Been there yet? Love it or hate it?

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Anto is a 30-something outdoor fan who travels the world about 100 days a year, combined with a full-time office job. She loves to go hiking, enjoys a good class of wine and can usually be found with an iPhone in her hand. Favorite destinations: New Zealand, Patagonia, Austria and Alaska.

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