I suppose one good thing that's come out of this G20 city-wide lockdown in Hangzhou is the fact that I now have time to catch up on my blogs, seeing as there is literally NOTHING ELSE TO DO WITH MY TIME HERE. I've cleaned my room three times in the past week. Three times. You know things are desperate when Cynthia actually starts doing chores for fun.

Anyhow, since I now have the time, I thought I could do something about all the photos from my summer trip that are currently taking up precious storage space on my laptop. (And maybe if I'm desperate enough I might even get around to posting about the India trip from eight months ago...). I mean, what's the point of taking photos on vacation anyway if you're not planning to post them somewhere for peer validation and personal gratification right? It's not like I took them to immortalise the memories and experiences I had on this trip. 

Ah, London. What can I say about London that hasn't already been lauded enough in pop culture/immortalised in at least one scene of Love Actually or Harry Potter?

Probably nothing, but for the sake of getting this post's word count above 150, let's try.

First off, London weather was amazing for the five days we (my friend Kay and I) were there. Unheard of, I know, but the pictures act as proof. We were told though that those five days were the nicest five days locals had seen in a while all summer. If it wasn't for the fact that the British complain about it so much, I would say that crap English weather was a myth made up by locals to keep the irritating tourists away.

I would like to say I had the pleasure of tasting some of the above food but we stupidly had breakfast before heading off to the markets so yeah, we dun goofed.

I wish I could tell you more about food in London but to be honest, we had a lot of home cooked meals while we were there, due to staying with Kay's sister the entire time. Her sister's cooking though? 10/10. No regrets at all.

Camden, like Newtown in Sydney but on crack

When I look at London, I see it as everything that Sydney had hoped and aspired to be, but ultimately failed to achieve. It's like comparing the overachieving golden child to its more awkward, acne-prone sibling. London is older, more experienced, with a genuine sense of history and heritage, but at the same time worldly and unique enough to hold its own in the 21st century. Sydney is... young and confused and it wants to copy London in terms of architecture and infrastructure but doesn't have the money nor innovative ingenuity to do so.

Both cities are highly diverse, evidence a mixture of traditional and modern architecture, crazy about pub culture, expensive as fuck to live in, crazily health conscious and have both named their biggest park in the CBD Hyde Park (although I'm pretty sure the Aussies just copied the Brits on this one). London just has that indescribable buzz that Sydney doesn't. You can argue that Sydney's got great beaches but it's not like we worked hard for those...we just lucked out on the geographical lottery there, haha.

Hyde Park
View of London from the Sky Garden
Kay's sister got us tickets to the Sky Garden. The view here is supposedly better than that of the London Eye.
Apologies for the Sydney bashing. Sydney's my home and I'm very fond of it but it's such a small small place in comparison to the rest of the world - perhaps not geography wise but in the sense of identity, culture, life, etc.

Kay and I went and saw two musicals during our time in London. The first one was the Book of Mormon and that was hilarious, though not for those who are politically correct, religious or easily offended. The second one was The Phantom of the Opera and a spontaneous decision (we bought the tickets a few hours before the show) seeing how much we liked the first experience. Tip for anyone who's also looking for cheap tickets to London shows: the TKTS booth in Leicester Square often sells last minute tickets on a whole range of shows for less than half the original price. The only thing is that you have to buy them in person (but it's totally worth it).

I think this is what they mean by postcard picture perfect.

We did a lot of walking while we were in London which I didn't mind at all. It seems like everywhere you go, there's something new to see, or an iconic location that you need to take a tourist snap in front of. There were a couple of times where I felt that the journey there was more rewarding than the actual destination. Piccadilly Circus for example - it's kinda like the Times Square of London and sure, it looks pretty on your instagram, but if you're a poor student who's got no money to spare on anything that's not food, there's not really that much to do there. In fact, apart from a really obnoxious red, blue and white LONDON hat that I bought my dad (he collects them), I'm pretty sure I did zero shopping while in this city. 

As you can see below, we also spent a day at the British Museum where I learnt a lot about Egypt, Ancient Greek and not so much about Great Britain. I also saw the Rosetta Stone a lot of people taking photos of the Rosetta Stone. 

Just the tip.

Final Thoughts 

I loved London. Out of all the European cities I visited on this trip, it would have to be my favourite. Maybe this was partly due to the fact that it was our first destination after being in China for five months and we were just so happy to be in a country where communication wasn't a constant struggle, coffee was actually affordable and people weren't trying to run you over on the streets Grand Theft Auto style. But mostly it was because London is London and it's such a beautiful and interesting city. I'm going to make it my goal to be able to live and work here someday in the future.

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