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London, October 2015

Hello!

Last week I went to London with my sister for a few days.

It is always good to be in London and this time was not different.

We left early on Monday morning and took a taxi to our local train station, where we took the train to Brussels.
At Brussels Midi station, we bought some croissants to have as breakfast on the Eurostar train.
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We went through check-in without any fuss, waited for our 8 o’clock train, boarded and two hours later we were at St Pancras Station, London where we took a taxi to our hotel.

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Last year I stayed at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock for the first time and enjoyed it so much, that I decided to go back this year. We were there at about 10 am and had a bit of a messy check in but were told we were only to get our keys when we came back in the afternoon. We left our bags there because it was too early to go to our rooms and then we set of for some sightseeing.

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It was my sister’s first time in London and she prepared a couple of walks.
The first was a short one which took us to the following highlights:

St Paul’s Cathedral
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The Monument
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Tower of London
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Tower Bridge
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HMS Belfast (which my sister visited alone as I wasn’t that interested in doing so)
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Shakespeare’s Globe
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Millennium Bridge
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Bank of England where we got the tube/underground to our hotel.

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At the hotel there was no way that we got our keys as quickly as we were promised in the morning. Oh no. We were asked a million questions, the computers were checked several times and there was a small problem regarding the Wi-Fi. But after nearly half an hour everything was alright and we went up.

After unpacking and relaxing a bit, we went for dinner. To an Italian not far from the hotel. The food was superb but the seating next to the door proved very noisy because every time someone came in, the door would close with a bang.

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The next morning (and the two mornings after that) we enjoyed a marvellous breakfast at the hotel. I know it’s not good for me, but I had a full English every morning. And took some fruit to have on my day out 🙂

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Greenwich was the destination of our second day.
We took the tube to the pier at Embankment and had a wonderful trip with a fast boat. That was something I hadn’t done before and it was great fun.
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First we visited Cutty Sark, something that had been on my wish list for a very long time. It’s amazing how they restored it. You can even walk under the ship!
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Then we went for a walk to the Old Royal Navy College, which is now the University of Greenwich. And guess what: we were there on graduation day!
We continued our walk to National Maritime Museum (no visiting, sorry, that’s for a next time) and Queen’s House.
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Next was something my sister had wanted to do for years: walk on the Meridian Line, so we went for a walk in the park (very hard not to when you’re in London) and headed to the Royal Observatory.
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That concluded our visit to Greenwich. We went back to the hotel, rested a bit freshened up and went for fish and chips.
I have had fish and chips on many occasion but this was the best by far. The fish portion was enormous but it was so good that it was gone before I knew it. We concluded the meal with dessert. Sticky toffee pudding for me, which was yummy too. And you know what was cute? The little frying pan thingy the bill came in 🙂

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For the third day my sister had planned a long sightseeing tour. Because I had already seen them and I was in desperate need of some shopping, we each went our way.
I headed for Oxford Street and spent an hour or two at John Lewis’. A huge shop where they seemed to have everything.
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Now follows something which proves I’m both stubborn and stupid.
First let me tell you I don’t like getting the tube. When leaving in the morning, I saw a bus passing me in direction of Clapham Common but forgot about it until I arrived at Oxford Street for my shopping and saw another one. This got me all excited because it meant I could go back by bus instead of tube. Or so I thought.

So when I finished my shopping I took the bus to Clapham Common, still convinced it would stop in Camden. Even after three quarters of an hour and seeing many 88 buses going the opposite direction with “Camden Town” written on front, I was still on the Clapham Common one.
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Nearly at the end of the run I finally got the sense to get off and take one in the opposite direction.

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What an adventure of stupidity and stubbornness. And as if that wasn’t enough, we had to get off the bus at Oxford Circus (exactly 2 hours after I had started my bus journey there) because it wouldn’t go further because of the busy traffic. So had to wait 15 minutes to get the right bus. When I got on the first bus, I didn’t know then that my journey would take 2.5 hours instead of 18 minutes!
BUT I saw many things I otherwise wouldn’t have.
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And I know now that a bus goes from Camden to Oxford Circus. Handy for the next time. If I don’t forget that is.

This was our last evening in London and we had enjoyed our dinner at the Italian place so much, we decided to return. We had a lovelier seat and enjoyed a great pasta dinner with tiramisu for dessert.

Then we went back home to get packing. I had difficulty fitting all my shopping in my suitcase.

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After breakfast the next day, we brought our luggage down to put away until it was time to go home and we went for a walk along the Regent’s Canal.
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We went passed the entrance to London Zoo and even saw some animals a bit further.
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About two hours later we went to Camden Market and walked there for about an hour.

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We went back to the hotel to get our bags and a taxi to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar back home.

Bye bye London. It was good to be back. Until next year!

xxx

Ann

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