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.

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.

28th & 29th March 2014: London (England, Great Britain) for VAMPS

A friend convinced me to attend this VAMPS concert in London by paying for the VIP upgrade in advance. I took a red-eye flight on Saturday morning to Gatwick and went directly to Camden, where the venue, Koko live house, stood.

The venue, a neoclassical building with a marking reading Koko

Aside from the run to the hotel, I spent most of the day in the queue, which was rewarded when I got an autograph from HYDE himself on the Sex Blood Rock ‘n’ Roll album.

Hyde's autograph on the Sex Blood Rock n' Roll CD

It was probably due to the high of the autograph, but this is one of the best concerts that I’ve ever attended, with lots of amazing songs, and I had a great time. I did not freeze during the Meet and Greet, and I shook hands with both members, mumbled something along the lines of “thanks for the autograph” to Hyde and “thanks for the pick” to K.A.Z, referring to the one I got in Barcelona. Then I bounced off the evening with most of the songs:
  1. Devil side
  2. Redrum
  3. The past
  4. Secret in my heart
  5. Replay
  6. Dolly
  7. Sweet Dreams
  8. Life on Mars?
  9. Hunting II
  10. World’s end
  11. Angel trip
  12. Trouble
  13. Midnight celebration
  14. Revolution II
  15. Memories
  16. Love addict
  17. Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll

The venue at night

The next morning my friend went off to the airport first thing in the morning. I was not travelling back till the evening, so I took the chance to… Well, first things first, I took the chance to get myself to a Costa Coffee and get a vanilla latte.

A Costa coffee dispossable glass

Then I took the underground towards the end of the world, or more precisely the end of the Jubilee line – to North Greenwich. I took the O2 Arena exit, to say hi the IndigO2, where I had been once back in 2012 to attend the L’Arc~en~Ciel World Tour, the first and only time I’ve ever seen them.

North Greenwich undergrond station

The O2, a huge tent with crane-looking structures that reminds one of a giant hedgehog

I left the O2 Arena behind, and walked about 20 minutes towards the Cutty Sark, a tea clipper built in Dumbarton in 1869. It took eight trips to China to trade for tea and other items. Its history involved mutinee, murder, trampling of cargo and travels to Asia and Australia. In the 1880s it was considered one of the fastest ships if not the fastest sailing the ocean.

A landed sailboat

The Cutty Sark’s figurehead is the witch Nannie Dee, created by Robert Burns – in the poem a man falls in… love or lust… with a witch during a coven meeting that he’s spying, and the witch chases him away, getting away with the tail of his horse, that you can see in her hand.

Close up of the ship. It is perched on a glass structure that gives away tot he museum

The steam engines made sail-ships obsolete, but the Cutty Sark was active until the 1950s, when it was rammed by another ship on the Thames. In 1954 it was moved to a custom-dock in Greenwich to become a museum.

I wanted to see the exhibition inside, which turned out out be about Chinese tea and the history of the ship, which was not unexpected. I bought a pet-rat souvenir plush because I found it adorable. In 2007 it was ravaged by a fire, and extensive rebuilding works were undertaken, which included building a new support of glass and steel that would also become the new visitor centre when the museum reopened in 2012 (when I was there in 2012 it was not yet open. I guess this was an itch I had to scratch).

Different objects in the Cutty Sark museum - tea boxes, sailing instruments, the steering wheel, marionettes, one of the original floaters

A small black rat plush with the Cutty Sark tag

Oh, and by the way… here’s the binnacle!

An actual binnacle compass

I walked back towards the underground and by the Thames riverbank.

Thames and riverbank

There stands the Old Royal Naval College, a Unesco World Heritage site build between 1696 and 1712 – it was originally conceived as a hospital and it became the Royal Naval College in 1873.

Naval college. A symmetric Neoclassical building, with columns and a green lawn

Continuing on the riverbank, you can see the floodgates in the background.

Small waves at the walk near the river

I paid my respect to Admiral Lord Nelson Statue and went on.

A sculpture of Nelson, with his right hand

I had to take a bus at Victoria Coach Station to go to the airport, and I got a very nice tour of the city, with the Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

The Big Ben or Elizabeth Tower

… the London Eye

The London Eye, a giant ferris wheel

… and the Tower of London.

The Medieval Fortress Tower of London

Once at the airport, I had some Yo!Sushi dinner – not the best, but hey I take sushi wherever I can find it because yay sushi.

Sushi dinner

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.