03 Januari 2015

London: My New Favorite

My Indonesian high school friend (yeah, SMAN 3 Bandung!) visited me in Cambridge a week ago. She is doing a bachelor program in Germany, and she hasn't visited England before. So, we decided to spend a week travelling together: Cambridge, Oxford, London, and Salisbury/ Stonehenge.

Man, why is London so beautiful?

Tower Bridge. It makes me galau as well, I think Thames River has a magical power.

There are just so many things to do in London, and you can hop on to a train and go to Cambridge and Oxford for less than one hour, and Stonehenge for two hours (including the shuttle bus and the train).

Besides having a great time of reminiscing the past (and gossiping about X's new boyfriend or Y's new girlfriend) with Anne, we also walked and visited so many places.

First thing first, London's Chinatown is my new favorite. They have a really good Malaysian/ Singaporean restaurant called 'Rasa Sayang' and ChaTime. God, yes, bubble tea! However, there's even a better one called Cuppacha. Their matcha mousse tea with tapioca pearl is just, heavenly.

The matcha mousse is the one on the left. Why don't they have Cuppacha in Cambridge?
Rasa Sayang's Nasi Lemak and Teh Tarik was also really good. Really, really, good.
London also has a really long story, and has witnessed different eras, kings, and how British Empire evolves. I was really fascinated by my tour guide's explanation about the kings and queens in Britain, how unique each of them was, and how this formed what Britain is now.

Do you know how English Tea time becomes so popular? One of the kings in the past married a Portuguese princess, and the princess who became the queen of the empire brought the tea time tradition and made it really popular among the royals. Of course, if the royals are doing it, the peasants will also do it, right?

Why is British English accent is so different, and captivating? Apparently, after the use of English spreads around the world as the 'world language', the royals feel that they need to be distinct than the peasants. That's how the royals started to use what is now commonly known as British accent.

I got the information above from my tour guide, by the way, haha. So, you need to see if it is correct.

Here are some iconic landmarks in London!

Trafalgar Square. There is an interesting story behind this monument. This was erected for one of war heroes that Britain has. I heard that the hero was killed in the sea, but he asked to be brought back to London. So, people used alcoholic drinks on the boat (brandy) to preserve the body.
Buckingham Palace during Guard Changing Ceremony. When the Queen is at home (at the palace), next to the UK flag, there will be a royal symbol flag as well. You can conclude that the Queen was not at home when I took this picture.
The Guard Changing Ceremony ends at St. James Palace. You can see the iconic palace guards really close!
Westminster Abbey, where the royals get married, including Prince William and Kate Middleton.
London's Chinatown.
Piccadily Circus, which is really similar to New York City's Times Square.
Baker Street Underground Station. You can see Sherlock Holmes' giant sticker there.
The iconic Big Ben at night. Big Ben actually rings every 15 minutes, and at the exact hour it will ring the bells the same number of times as the time at that moment.
London Eye at night, as seen from Westminster Bridge.
New Year's Fireworks, as spotted from behind the London Eye. This time, NYE Fireworks was ticketed for the first time, and it was sold out long time ago, and my friends and I didn't get one. We sneaked in, and actually got a really good spot.
And in case you wanna see how it actually was, you can see the video below. Once again, I took it with my phone camera, so it's not in a superb quality.

Hyde Park. I think it's my new favorite park in the world. Really huge, and it's got a nice lake in the middle.
Borough Market: a must visit if you love culinary. They have fresh fruits and veggies, as well as bread, cheese, meat, among various things. This stall, called Bread Ahead, has a particularly good doughnut. So creamy.
That was a quick recap of things to do in London. It was also my first time Airbnb-ing, and it was a really positive experience. Our host was really nice, and the room was really neat as well. It was located at the center of London, so we could easily take the Tube/ go to Underground Station (Boston lingo: Subway, the T) and explore the city.

I think, the next time I visit London, I should go to the museums (including the free ones, in Trafalgar Square), and learns deeper about this country long history.

Maybe next time, I should not be too galau when I walk down Thames, though.

Or maybe, just don't pay attention to the couples around you.
Thanks for such a great trip, Anne!
Coming up: what is in Oxford and Stonehenge, so stay tune. Also, here is to start a new year, a song by the Buckingham Palace Guards Band. I recorded it using my phone, so I'm sorry if it's not really clear.

2 komentar:

  1. Hi sister, i'm so proud of you!
    you are amazing!. i wish, i can be like you someday, study at MIT, travel the world, and everything. our teacher must be proud of you too!. ou ya, my name is septian, i study at SMA 3 now, your old school hihihi.
    When will you visit your ex-school again? i think, it will be interesting if you can share your experiences to me and my friends here, you're very inspiring!

    anyway, sorry if i'm "sassy" of making a comment here :D

    goodluck there.

    1. Salam kenal Septian. Nice to meet you!

      Of course, I would love to visit. I always go to Kantin Sehat SMA3 whenever I am home, actually :)

      Thanks for reading this blog, and your appreciation. Good luck for studying at SMA3 and your pursuit of dreams!