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The Good Life

Woke up in London yesterday
Found myself in the city near Piccadilly
Don’t really know how I got here
I got some pictures on my phone

New names and numbers that I don’t know
Address to places like Abbey Road
Day turns to night, night turns to whatever we want
We’re young enough to say

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

Okay, so I just quoted One Republic, but seriously, when I think of London, that’s the song that I think of! I’ve been to so many beautiful places in this world, but I think the main reason why I love London so much is that I had my husband and friends there. I felt like anything was possible and I was in a whole new world.

They say that if you’re “bored of London, then you’re bored of life”! We only spent 3 days in London and I can honestly say that 3 days was not enough and that 3 days was definitely far far far from boring!

We arrived in London by Eurostar from Paris. The trip took us 1 hour and 40 minutes and I was amazed at how such a quick train journey took me to a completely different country. When we stepped foot into St Pancras station, it was a mish mash of people from all over the world and it was 10 times busier than Sydney! We dragged our 60 kg of luggage around to the nearest cab rank and waited in line patiently for a cab. The cab ride took us near Russel Square station to our hotel, where the very polite cab driver only charged us 5 pounds for the journey. The taxi metre actually said 7.5 pounds but he admitted that he did not want to charge us more than what the journey was worth as he had taken a slight detour. London cab driver’s have to sit a knowledge exam in order to know their way around every part of London and they treat their profession very seriously! Check out Bespoke Traveler where you can read stories from a London Cab Driver’s perspective.

Food Glorious Food

We met our friends for dinner that night in a place called Driver. We feasted on delicious seafood dishes and fruity cocktails and then went upstairs to enjoy the cool breeze. This place was really funky. They had lounge chairs on the terrace where people could mingle with their cocktails. It was great to sit around sharing stories about our adventures.

Having a cocktail on the terrace of the Driver, London

Our next stop was Lounge Lover in London, known for it’s funky atmosphere and delicious cocktails! You usually need to make a reservation in advance to get into this place, but we were lucky, there was a table of people that was just about to leave! I don’t even remember the name of the cocktail that I had, but I do remember that it was so nice, that we ordered another one. This place was a little more posh than Driver so it was nice to see the comparison. The lovely table hostess was also extremely friendly. She was from New Zealand and was overjoyed to hear that we were from Sydney. We told her that it was our first day in London so she gave us lots of advice on things to do the following day.

Van, Rick and I at Lounge Lover drinking cocktails

Vi and I on our second cocktail

So that was our first night in London with our London’er friends from Sydney. We went back to our hotel completely buggered from the day’s events and were looking forward to the next day of sight seeing!

All things touristy

I felt like superman was going to come out of this telephone booth...

Rick and I woke up early to see all of London’s famous sites. Truly breathtaking! We wandered around Oxford Circus for a spot of shopping at my favourite high street stores. I felt very giddy in Zara, H&M, Mango… actually everywhere!

We also rode a red, double decker bus to get to the British Museum where we saw the Ancient Egyption exibition, including the  Rosetta Stone which holds the key to understanding Egyption Hieroglyphics. The great thing about museums in London is that the majority are free! They do ask for a donation, which I highly recommend, because you will enjoy yourself so much!

On front of the British Museum in London


On our way to visit the Queen, we ran past a park where they had sun chairs positioned as if it was real estate. London is not known for sunny weather, so people take advantage of the sun whenever possible! If you look closely at the picture below, there is a “parking attendant” who monitors these grounds. It is very serious business!

Precious real estate; sun chairs facing the sun in a park in London

Visiting the Queen

I'm at Buckingham Palace! Yahoo!

Ok so I didn’t visit the Queen, but I did visit her royal residence at Buckingham Palace. As many of you may know, I love palaces and everything about European royalty so a visit to Buckingham Palace was top of on my list of things to do in London! Rick and I were amongst the 10,000 or more people who were there to see the “changing of the guards” ceremony.

Buckingham Palace - so grand isn't it?

The outside of the palace was buzzing with people wanting to get a glimpse of the ceremony where the guards (who are also elite soldiers) ceremonially march or ride out to symbolise the changing of the guard for the palace gates. It’s all a very serious event but it’s also a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed the orchestra-like band playing songs in the background as the solders marched! Rick had to hoist me up above the crowd to get this photo. Love it and highly recommend it!  If you are interested, check out the schedule here.

Buckingham Palace - Changing of the Guards

It’s party time!

After such an eventful day, Rick and I met our lovely friends who had finished work and were ready to jump start the weekend! We dined on Spanish tapas and wine in a very intimate setting. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but the quality of the food was amazing!

I’m taking a mental picture of you now
‘Cause hopelessly
The hope is we have so much to feel good about” (Good Life, by One Republic)

Then, it was party time! My friends introduced us to a bunch of their also awsome friends at this bar where Van had a free tab – apparently the bar called him and started off the tab with 100 pounds to spend and sectioned off a space just for us all – shows how much partying these guys do! We took advantage of the free bar tab and then made our way to a club where we danced all night and made lots of friends. Actually, the girls and I made friends with the promo girls who then gave us our own little section in the VIP area. This is where our travel stories come in handy, you build a comraderie with other interesting folk and thus get into the more glamorous areas of bars!

Dancing the night away!

After dancing the night away, we exited the club at about 3.30am feeling very hungry! So ofcourse, this meant a trip to the nearest Chinese restaurant. Anna knew just where to go but it was 10 minutes walk away and our feet were hurting so bad. The rest of the guys decided to walk while Van, Vi, Rick and I decided to figure out how to get there using the least amount of movement. What better way to get to there than to jump onto a Bike Carriage! It’s only 10 pounds but was well worth it. I did feel sorry for the guy who had to ride the bike, he had to lug around a lot of weight i.e. us!

The Chinese restaurant was closing when we arrived but we managed to convince the restaurant owner to let us in for the final meal of the night. We feasted on noodles and bubble tea. It was daylight when we arrived back to the hotel. I slept well that night.

The Last Supper

We spent the morning packing our stuff, eating a delicious bacon and egg breakfast, and double checking our plane timetable. Surprisingly, Van and Vi were up bright and early to bid us farewell by taking us to the famous Borough Markets, known for their variety of meats and pastries. We wandered past a man mixing a giant, delicious looking paella pot.

Borough Markets and man mixing paella

We also stopped to eat a scrumptious pork roll and have a drink of Pims, a refreshing fruity, cocktail which is oh so London style. Only in London will I drink a cocktail before sun set!

The sun was out and the sky was blue. To signify our last hour in London, we took some typically tourist shots on London Bridge, where we could see the top of St Paul’s Cathedral. Isn’t it magnificent?

London Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral in the background (Vi, me, Ricky & Van)

We also managed to say hi to our friend Cuong who had flown in from Sydney, just as we were about to fly back home to Sydney!

1 minute before jumping into a cab back home to Sydney!

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend in London! Friends, food, culture and a few touristy things – what else could you want in a holiday?!

Life is good, don’t you think?