23rd & 24th June 2018: London Express (England, Great Britain)

I took some family members over to London for the weekend, and they asked me to organise something so they could see a lot of things. We took the red-eye flight so we were downtown London something around 8:30. Our first visit had tickets for 10:00, so first spot was a Costa Coffee for breakfast! (≧▽≦)

Afterwards we saw the Tower Bridge over the Thames.

Then, at the right time, we walked into the Tower of London, where we wandered around visiting all the areas, including the White Tower, the dungeons, the Crown Jewels vault and the raven nests.

Once we were done, we took the underground to the British Museum for a quick visit through the most important collections, along with a few of the less known but interesting things – in the end we saw the Babylonian, Grecian, Egyptian collections, and had a glimpse at a few of the Chinese artefacts and the Hoa Hakananai’a from Easter Island.

We had lunch in-between and then went to the hotel to drop our things off. After that, we took off again and, via underground, we reached Trafalgar Square. We walked towards Piccadilly and on the way we stopped at Legoland and M&Ms shop. Then had dinner in an Angus steakhouse in Leicester square, and to end the day, we had a look at the lit Piccadilly Circus.

We got back to the hotel, and honestly, I had not realised how close to the centre we actually were until I looked out of the window.

The next morning we woke up early and headed off to have breakfast on the go – actually the weather was super nice so we got ourselves some Nero coffee and sandwiches and ate them in front of Westminster’s Abby. As it was Sunday we could not visit the Abby, but we saw the scaffolded Big-Ben, and walked around the Houses of Parliament.

We went to visit the Monument to Emmeline Pankhurst because the youngest person in the group needed to be told about a period in history in which she would not have been as free as she is today.

After that, we crossed over the Thames, then moved on to the London Eye. Half of the group wanting to go up, the other half being not fans of heights, we divided and conquered – two of us went to the London Aquarium while the other three enjoyed their VIP ride in the London Eye. I know you are not surprised I picked the side with the sharks instead of going up.

This guy judged us, very hard:

After our riverbank separation, we regrouped and headed off towards the Natural History Museum where we first saw the Butterfly carp that was installed outside it – they were extremely pretty and beyond friendly, because we were landed on quite often.

When we had finished the walk, we stepped into the Natural History Museum itself to wander through the dinosaur area for a bit, and then around the animal collection.

We decided to head out to the restaurant to have a bite to eat, and as we were walking through the marine invertebrate area (the room with all the crabs and so on), there was a nice lady showing items. And that’s how I ended up holding a megalodon tooth and fanbying like there was no tomorrow. Don’t judge me. Or do so, I don’t care ☆⌒(ゝ。∂)

As they walked into the insect / general creepy-crawler gallery, I walked around the gallery that held “less impressive” fossils, including the ones discovered by Anne Manning. We had lunch in the NHM, then moved on.

A short underground ride later, we were at St James’s Park, where we took a bit of a walk towards Buckingham Palace. As the weather was nice, we got to see a lot of the local fauna, even the local swans.

We hung around for a while as we saw Buckingham Palace, then headed off back towards the airport. Although we had a couple-of-hours delay, we made it home without further complication.

9th & 10th June 2018: Wicked London (England, Great Britain)

This will be the last work-trip, at least for a while. I might change my mind later, but for now I’m done with them (although there’s an upcoming family trip rather soon…). Again, we flew in early Saturday morning, and we went to walk around the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.

Then we went to the British Museum. I left them for a couple of hours there and I went to visit some of the lesser-seen galleries.

We had booked tickets for the musical “Wicked” in the Apollo Victoria Theatre at 14:30, so we headed over there. Wicked is a parallel story to “The Wizard of Oz”, focusing on the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, who becomes a social outcast due to her tendency to speak her mind and the strength of her magic. I had really wanted to watch this for a long time, so I used this chance and convinced the group to get there. I absolutely loved it ♥.

After the show, we dropped our things at the hotel. The group wanted to get some rest, so we stayed there for a while, then got out again. We took the underground towards London central and we were in Trafalgar Square for a while.

Then, we went to Chinatown for dinner.

Later, we walked around Piccadilly Circus, checking out some shops and so. We even stopped for cake.

On Sunday morning we went to Saint James’s Park, where we got to meet the local fauna, especially a very adventurous squirrel.

Then we dropped by Buckingham Palace. Although we did not watch the Guard Change, we did see one of the relief marches.

We walked from there to Westminster, saw the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben, along the outside of Westminster Abby.

We visited the Monument to Emmeline Pankhurst and stayed for a while in the Victoria Tower Gardens.

As a final visit, we went to the Natural History Museum.

Finally, we headed off to the airport, and the icing of the cake was that we got caught in a controllers’ strike, so we had like a three-hour delay on our flight and it took forever to get home (;¬_¬). All in all, this was a very… strange trip, and without a doubt the highlight was going to see Wicked, which is something I had wanted to do for a long time, and gave me a couple of hours of enjoyment to myself.

21st & 22nd April 2018: MIYAVI & London (England, Great Britain)

On Saturday the 21st I caught a red-eye flight and I landed in London Stansted around 7:00. After clearing security (aka a security guard very interested on WHY I was there and WHOSE was the concert again?) I got myself on the train and headed off directly towards ULU London to attend MIYAVI’s “DAY 2” World Tour in Europe 2018. I spent the whole day at the queue / venue, so I tell you much of what I did, except that I was an idiot and did not really eat much solid food, if at all. A cookie, I seem to remember, and a cereal bar, which in the end caused a bad stomachache. Lesson learnt. Also! Heatwave in London. How do I manage to always catch the heatwaves in London?

MIYAVI is a Japanese guitarists I’ve listened on and off for a while. I lost a bit of track of him when he got married and had a baby, but every excuse is good for a little getaway. And I have to say that he blew my mind.

I set off at around 4am on Saturday and arrived in the queue around 10 am. The line was incredibly well organised, and the venue staff was super-friendly and efficient (which is a welcome change from most). Often, when an artist comes in, you can hope for a wave, maybe an autograph or sneak up a picture – not with this man, who goes out of the way to shake your hand and thank you for coming.

Well, I did have a VIP ticket that included a handshake and a picture, so I got two handshakes out of him! The concert itself was fantastic, fast-paced and MIYAVI is a guitar master. He was supported by a number of musicians and singers and they all were bustling with energy.

MIYAVI's instagram story reading well done London you guys were hot tonight

Before heading to the airport, the following morning I headed off to the British Museum, which was halfway between the venue and the hotel. I spent a couple of hours there, mostly in the Korea and China areas. There I fell in love with the Bodhisattva Guanyin.

Collage. British museum façcade and some exhibit from the Asia ward - Shiva, Buddha, a green-faced priest, dragon, a Korean dress... The main piece is Guanyin, sitting with a knee up, their hand resting on the knee, the other leg hanging down

From the British Museum I directly went to the airport, and I grabbed some food at Itsu, which is not my favourite Japanese brand due to the price, but my stomach was acting up (my own fault though (≧▽≦)) and I needed something to appease it. So sushi, miso soup and Coke it was.

Sushi and miso soup

11th & 12th June 2017: Highlights of London (England, Great Britain)

As part of my day job, I took a group of customers on a trip to London. Not the best decision in my life, but one that I would repeat a couple of times before I had enough. This was a short getaway – we took off on a red-eye flight on Saturday and we came back on Sunday evening.

Our first stop was The Tower of London, officially called “Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London”. The main Tower, “White Tower”, was built in the 11th century, and additions to it were made up to the 1400s. It was designated Unesco World Heritage Site in 1998. The Tower holds an armoury, some treasure, documentation offices, a few shops and the Crown Jewels of England. And, according to the legend, quite a few ghosts.

After the Tower, we took a moment to see the Tower Bridge.

We had a hotel basically at the end of the world, and we decided to go to drop our things off before we continued on the visit. We saw the Wellington Arc in Hyde Park on the way to the royal palace.

Then we fooled around Buckingham Palace.

Finally we went to Chinatown to have dinner…

… and rounded up the day at Piccadilly Circus.

The next morning we headed off to the British Museum. We had breakfast outside because of course it was one of those times when it’s all warm in London. Waffles = ♥

The British Museum was established in 1753, and opened to the public, in its current location, in 1759. It focuses on human history and art, having branched the natural history items to the Museum of Natural History and all the documentation to the British Library. The museum holds the awe-inducing number of 150 million of artefacts from dozens of cultures of the world, both ancient and modern, with amazing Grecian and Egyptian collections (albeit having disputed ownership…)

Inside the British Museum we separated. I left them to have a walk around the most important areas and I walked into my favourite spots (although the Japanese galleries were still closed. I also got a ticket to see the Hokusai – beyond the Great Wave exhibition, which presents a number of Hokusai’s works organised in series or topics. One is waves, and it shows how Hokusai experimented with textures, shapes, swirls and foam until he found the “perfect” wave – his most famous work, the Great Wave. There is a series on people, another one on mythology, and another one on himself and his family.

After I was done and we had met up again, I helped them found some stuff that they had not seen but still wanted to. Then, we headed off to the Westminster area to see the Big Ben, and although there was some scaffolding already visible, we managed to see the whole thing.

Finally, we headed off to the airport to get back home.

Flashback to 28th December 2010 – 2nd January 2011: New Year’s in London

  • Hyde Park
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Sherlock Holmes Museum
  • London Eye
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Big Ben
  • River Thames
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Globe Theatre
  • London Aquarium
  • British Museum
  • London Natural History Museum
  • Buckingham Palace

Note: This is a flashback post, which means it is just a collage regarding a trip I took before I started the blog in 2012. Tags may be incomplete or slightly off.