travel diary // oh london!

February 10, 2014
You know that feeling when you plan a trip a long time ahead and it feels like an eternity until the day of the departure is finally there, but then those few days you looked forward to pass so quickly and suddenly you find yourself being back home thinking “wow, where did the time go?” – Well that’s exactly how I feel right now! As they say, “anticipation is the most beautiful kind of joy” – gotta say, the trip itself was not bad either (just a tiny bit too short…)! And now I am back and there is nothing left to look forward to, which is why I desperately need to plan our summer vacation as soon as possible!

But first things first: I booked this trip right after we came back from our summer vacation in August to have something to look forward to in cold dark winter. So whenever I felt tired and sick of studying or working or whatever, I would just open my “days until”-App and the number of days shown got smaller and smaller until it finally said “0” last Wednesday. Armed with a looong shopping list and a (more or less empty) suitcase we got on our plane and despite strong wind conditions we arrived safely in London Heathrow. Unfortunately nearly every underground connection was affected by a strike of tube service personnel forcing us to take the more expensive Heathrow Connect… To make a long story short: it took us a solid three hours to get to our hotel – sounds like a good start right? Anyway, we stored our luggage in the hotel and – since we had enough of riding the underground – walked down to the London Bridge where we ended up having an early lunch in a pub.
Since the both of us, my boyfriend and me, had been to London before we hadn’t planned on visiting anything in particular which lead to strolling around and shopping most of the time. We both had our Oyster Cards with us, making it not only easy to get around town (at least when the trains were going), but also comparatively cheap (we spent approximately 35 pounds for four days including the ride back to the airport). Since London lived up to its reputation (rain on 3 out of 4 days) we did not only explore the Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown, Kensington, Notting Hill and Chelsea, but also visited the Westfield Shopping Center in Stratford – even better than the big shopping streets, because it was not too crowded, yet you can find anything you could ever wish for in one place!
Because of the tube strike during the first two days we took the bus a lot – we could’ve sat upstairs right in the front for hours watching the big city pulsing, businessmen rushing by, kids in their uniforms after school, so much life on the streets! Of course, we did not get around every touristy thing – on our last night we went to see London from above on the London Eye. I have to admit that the height and I, well, we are not exactly best friends, but since my boyfriend got two tickets for his birthday I made myself go. And it was beautiful! I sat on the bench in the middle of the capsule most of the time (as far from the edge as possible), but even from there the view was just stunning! All the lights and tall buildings and landmarks you could see from up there! It took me real courage to step into this little capsule, but in the end it was totally worth it, I would recommend it to everyone visiting London.

Last, but not least, I would like to tell you about the hotel we stayed at – Qbic London – which was built in 2013 and is hence quite new, modern and very very clean (not a standard in the UK). I was so happy when I found it on HRS, because it is so difficult to find a cool yet cheap accommodation that fits your expectations. I mean, eventually you only need to be there for sleeping, but I find it essential that you feel well while traveling and look forward to a cozy room after a day full of impressions and endless kilometers walked. The Qbic London is definitely like that, young and in the middle of a lively neighborhood providing lots of cool places to eat in or take some food with you to the hotel room (which we did most of the nights, because we were so exhausted). We spent about 250€ for three nights which is perfectly okay for a hotel of this class (we had a window-less room though, if you prefer a view, you pay 10 pounds more per night). So if you are planning a trip to London Qbic is the perfect place to stay!
Stay tuned for my shopping haul coming up in a few days! 🙂
PRET – THE place to eat! Delicious sandwiches, soups, baguettes, juices, etc. all fresh and natural = sooo good!!
sunrise on our flight to London
best fish & chips I have ever eaten – at a cute little place in Notting Hill
exploring Notting Hill (no rain for a change)
Big Ben
iPhone’s not the best to shoot a night picture, but you can see how high I have been up on the London Eye
our cozy room
it’s raining cats’n’dogs on Oxford Street
Sun shows up right when we depart – that figures!

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