I just got home from London last night. It was a really great trip, partly because of the great city and partly because of the awesome people I traveled with (Lene, Margrethe, Camilla, Luna, Maja and Knut). Going to tell you a little bit about what we did every day now – so this will probably be a very long blog entry, added some titles though so you can easily get back to it and read the rest later if it’s too long 🙂
We took a pretty late plane to London, in fact Im not sure if I have ever arrived so late in the evening to any of my vacations before. We landed at Stansted arround 11 in the evening local time (so thats 12 in Norway) and by the time we had gotten through security it was already close to midnight. We took the bus from there and arrived at Liverpool Street arround 1 in the morning, then we got taxis to the hostel where we arrived half past 1 or something like that. Good thing the reception desk was open untill 4. Allthough we stayed at a 14 person dorm, only one person were alseep when we got there, the rest were probably out drinking or something as they were there in the morning. The dorm was quite allright considering it was a 14 person dorm, my bunk had a little safe, a nightlight and walls.
Day 1 (The Kernel, The Nathional Art Gallery and randomness):
Some of the girls wanted to use at least two days on shopping in Oxford street so 4 of us went there already the first day. I didn’t really have the money to buy a whole lot though, and Knut and Camilla wanted to go to a micro brewerey so I figured that was a smarter thing to do. It was a really nice and sunny morning and we got of the subway close to the Thames. We had a nice wiew of Tower Brigde and the Belfast as we walked towards Druid Street (where the brewery was located). The micro brewery, The Kernel, located under a train bridge was only open on saturdays and just untill 3. Going there was really awesome, the beer was brilliant and the staff was friendly and helpfull as well. We actually tasted tons of beer for free before we even bought anything. Knut bought 12 bottles of beer to bring home with him to Norway and we all got a few bottles that we enjoyed in the sun. Like I said all of the beer was great, I especially liked the citra that tasted kind of mangoish (mangoish was the guy working there’s term – I did NOT make it up ;P). I really regret not buying some bottles to bring home now.
When we had finished our beers we headed to the Nathional Art gallery, we didn’t have a whole lot of time there in the end, but it was pretty nice untill it closed. When we got out from the gallery it was raining all of a sudden. This was actually st Georges day so we ran into some sort of celebration as well, people singing on a stage the crowd all singing along.
A little rain never stopped us either, so we headed down to Westminster to have a look at the Parlament and Westminster abbey. The pictures didn’t really turn out that great though so won’t post them here.
In the evening we went back to the hostel, but we didn’t find the rest of the group so the three of us went out to dinner on our own instead. Then we went out for some more drinking. Met the others on our way, but they wanted to get an early start in the morning so they didn’t join us at the pub. It was a pretty quiet evening apparently, not a lot of people out – the pub did have Strongbow on tap though so I was happy regardless. Was a really awesome cat walking arround as well, it tried to get into the snacks shelf all the time.
Day 2 (Hyde park, the Natural History Museum and Buckimham Palace):
Day two we all went to Hyde park and the Natural History Museum together. The park was pretty supersize compared to the ones we have here in Oslo and there was some nice monuments as well. The Natural History Museum was pretty huge as well, tons of exhabitions most of them free. I went to see the dinosaur one, the creepy crawlers, the apes, the sea animals and the stones (cause they had diamonds there as well). I still didn’t see it all though, it was a really big museum. After the museum we went back to the park to slack there for a few hours in the sun. It was really great to have time to just sit in the grass and relax.
In the evening Lene and I decided we wanted to go see something more, and decided pretty much at random that Buckimham Palace was the place to go. Going to see it after dark was actually real nice. Hardly any people there at all and the castle looked great. We realised The Clocktower (often called Big Ben though that is just the bell inside it) and London Eye was within alking distance as well so figured why not have a look at them after dark too. Then we got the last subway back to Kings Cross and tried some fish and chips (great food, bring it to Norway:) ). When we got back everyone was playing cards, next to our group was a group of British Marine Bilogists playing Munchkin – me and Luna couldnt stop staring at their game so eventually they invited us over, hehe. They seemed real nice, but they were leaving in the morning so we didn’t meet them again.
Day 3 (St Pauls, River Cruise, Comic Book Stores and China Town)
The third day we first went to have a look at St Pauls cathedral,I decided to wait outside as it did cost quite a lot to enter (close to 30 pounds) and I have seen it before when I went to London with my family, the other girls didnt want to pay for entering either, but Knut went inside. It still looked really great on the outside though and we were perfectly happy at Starbucks meanwhile. Late on we split up again, I went with Maja, Lene and Margrethe down to the Thames. It was yet another nice and sunny day and we found some really cheap tickets to a short cruise (4 pounds or so). The captain was pretty awesome, he told us about all the major sights as we went down the rived, but he also made funny comments like
“Do remeber to bring all of your personal belongings, it would ruin your day if you left something valuable for me to sell on Ebay”.
After the cruise we went to some huge comic book stores (yeah not really a tourist thing to do, but they dont have comic book stores that big in Norway!) where Maja especially got tons of random stuff mostly related to dr Who. I also found a cupcake place that I insisted on trying out, in love with cupcakes after we got free ones one day at school. Then we went to Chinatown, but we decided to eat at a Japanese Restaurant (why have chinese food in Chinatown right? :P). They also had a purikuri machine close by (purikuri are sticker pictures that you get to draw on, etc before printing them out) so we obviously had to check that out as well. Purikuri is great fun, I liked the machines in Japan better, but it was fun to take a series in London as well.
Day 4 (Oxford Street, Tate Modern and a great Pub):
Most of the others wanted to do some major shopping on the 4th day, and I figured, even if Im kind of saving money at the moment, I could join and just have a look arround Oxford street at least, maybe buy a few small things. I did pretty good actually, all I got was one t-shirt from UniQlo that was on sale and some tea. And thats all the shopping I did on the entire trip, didn’t think I could pull the whole not shop to much thing of, but I did. Later on Camilla, Knut and I went to Tate Modern. We got there kind of late, so we just had about 90 minutes there, but we did check out the entire 5th floor at least before it closed. Modern art is kind of confusing at times, but I saw several pieces that I really liked there as well. They had severa documentary photos on display that made me feel really sad, but were still really good for example. Some of the super modern sculptures were kind of cool as well actually, so Im happy I joined. Close to Tate Modern we found a pub that also sold food, and as we were kind of hungry we decided to eat there. Somehow we ended up staying for quite some time drinking as well and me and Camilla met a couple of really cool british guys that we played dart with for a while. Good thing we met them, as we didn’t know the actual rules. We took the bus home when the pub closed, and got to sit in the front seats on the second floor – YAY!
The last day (John Soane’s Museum and getting to the airport)
We actually had some time before leaving for Stansted the last day so some of us went back to Oxford Street while Knut, Margrethe and I went to Sir John Soane’s museum. It was a pretty tiny house with tons and tons of art inside of it. One of the highlights were a small room with 100 paintings in it – the guide just kept opening up the walls to reveal more paintings and eventually a sculpture. No pictures was allowed sadly, but this is a post card I bought just to have a picture of the room with all the painings. The others had gotten tons and tons of stuff from Oxford Street, think most of the other girls spendt arround 1000 NOK at least. I love shopping as well, but I had a great time at the museum and I definitely need to save up for China. To get back to Standsted we got on the bus again, but it was kind of late and getting seats on it was like a death match so that took a while too. When we got to the check in they were calling for all passengers to Rygge airport to come to the front of the line, and on the other side of security we barely had time to visit the taxfree at all. As it turned out our plane didn’t really depart on time either though so our rushing to the ryanair part of the airport was all for standing in line waiting. From Rygge it was yet another bus, but we got home eventually and it was really nice to sleep in my own bed again even if I miss England already.