There’s nothing better than getting lost in London City. As I previously mentioned in my other post, London is my all-time-favorite City to take a stroll. All royal buildings, sophisticated and intricate building ornaments, modern and glassy buildings collaborate in making the city vibrant. The uproar in the pedestrian or in underground seems to comfort me.
Since I had a lot of places to visit and limited time, I grouped some of closest destinations to avoid spending time just to move on from one place to another. So knowing the opening hours and how to go in advance, what underground tube station/bus i should hop-on definitely helped optimizing the time that I had. On that day me and my friends planned to visit regent’s park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington Palace, Natural History Museum, Chelsea FC Stadium Tour, Westminster Abbey, Jewel Tower, Buckingham Palace, and walking around Piccadily Circus.
With roughly average on hour on every place including travelling time, we managed to started around 6 am and went back to our hostel around 8 pm. Of course, we took breaks, at times we spent longer in one place compared to the other, depends on our mood and interests. I must admit it felt a bit rush (especially when I was in Natural History Museum, gosh! I love being in that building) at times. I just wished I had more time to embrace London.
Warning, from this point forward, I will use so many exaggeration (that will insufficiently describe how beautiful places I luckily had a chance to visit).
I started from Regent’s Park since it’s the closest destination to our hostel YHA London Central. it also opens at 5 am until 20 pm. The park is 369 years old (you may drop your jaw!) since its dated back to 1646. The park is very wide and offers space for various activities and sports. But the main reason I went there is to admire the Queen Mary’s Garden. It claims to have planted 12,000 roses with 85 single varieties. I’m not a flower aficionados, but seeing the park spatial dotted with colorful and beautiful flowers made me feel like I was in heaven (Boy I truly was!). It was just so refreshing and mystifying. The layout of the park is easy to understand, you just need to decide on what gate you will enter and follow the direction board..
St. Paul's Cathedral
Our next stop was St. Paul’s Cathedral. We hopped on Bakerloo line from Regent’s Park Tube. I could never be thankful enough to Google Map. Greatest Invention for traveler. It made easier to plan a travel and guide you on a self-walk (if you bring your smartphone with data plan, of course).
St. Paul's Cathedral is the kind of sacred place that could literally drop your jaw to the floor. Because you will stumble upon something from gazing toward its ceiling. That’s the impact of the epicness of Britain’s architecture. But I went by with contrite heart unable to capture its ceiling epicness on my camera since it’s forbidden to take picture. I just took it’s outside architecture (the exterior design itself blew me away). I may look like hillbilly, but that’s another effect of Great Britain’s architecture to me. If beauty can make you depressed, this one definitely is (depressed from its awesomeness).
I was hoping to meet Kate Middleton and Prince William by chance, but I didn’t (putting on my not-really-sad face). Kensington Palace is such a humble building with such an amazing interior inside. It’s another eating-chocolate-with-surprise-filling experience when walking inside.
it’s a home birth of Queen Victoria, and it’s dated back since 17th centuries. If I wasn’t amazed by the architecture or the design, I was truly amazed by how they diligently preserve the buildings. There’s nothing more rewarding than the ability to adore and witness human’s legacy from centuries behind. This much respect to history and people is what I probably can bring and share back to my home country in Indonesia. History is part of our identity must respect, uphold and preserve.
Natural History Museum
My first encounter in Natural History Museum was from Google. Seeing it up close and personal brought pure joy to my eyes, my camera, and to my soul. Its dome-shaped ceiling immediately catches my deepest senses with grandeur and eerie (especially with the dinosaur tail looming over its ceiling). It was unbelievably crowded and it took almost 30 minutes to enter the museum (which worth every second of it).
What interest me much about the building was how it could be a palace or a cathedral. Except that when I entered the building I was welcomed by giant dinosaur skeleton and soon the idea was diminished.
Chelsea Football Club Stadium Tour
My first intention actually was to watch a live football (or soccer) game, but when I figured out that official purchase must be a member, or within days with the game (or with unofficial website but with the risk of getting fooled), me and my friends decided to just having a stadium tour. My pure motivation is actually to watch any live sport games (it’s been on my bucket list). Watching it on TV always giving me thrill, and I just want to feel that Supertastic thrill that I believe would be heightened when you watch it alive.
I’m not a fanatic of any football club, or following premier league game. But, I do watch World cup years after years. And although I understand the rules of the game, knowing some of the famous football players, AND do not mind watching the game for straight 2X45 minutes, I must admit the players draw my attention much more than the game itself (Confession of female soccer not-that-much-of-a fan).
Anyway, the visit to the stadium was great. You get to see the “off-camera” scene such as the entryway, the VIP seats, the player’s changing room, the press conference room, and many other part of the buildings I didn’t know would exists. I could only imagine how does it feel to be there when the game is on (surely made note to self: Do come back to watch the live game someday!).
I didn’t get the chance to get in since by the time we finished the Chelsea FC Stadium tour it’s near the closing hour of Westminster Abbey. So I just strolled around the complex and tirelessly admire the intricate buildings (Boy such a magic building does exists – crying from admiration). Take my advice: spend 4-6 days in London. The Westminster abbey could make you older by just watching it. Spend one day just to admire this architecture wonder.
Buckingham Palace & Victoria Memorial
This is one of the attractions that you can admire just from the outside of the fence if you visit London not in the summer. It’s famous because it’s where the royal families live. it’s not the type of place you want to explore more than half an hour if you can’t get in. It’s only open to public from July to September. I went there on May, and the only chance is to seeing it from outside.
Right in front of Buckingham Palace is Victoria Memorial Sculpture, a monument to honor Queen Victoria. On top of the statue is the gilded bronze winged victory. It such a fine art to savor.
Where we stayed in London
When I arranged the itinerary, there were several options of hostel in London such as St. Christopher Village, Walrus hostel, and YHA Central London. After looking at about 20 hostel, our choice narrowed down to those 3 hostel. They are strategic, near the tube station, and have a pretty good reviews on tripadvisor. But when we were about to book, the two of them (St Christopher Village Inn and Walrus) had already run out of room sleep four. That left us with YHA London Central.
And it didn’t disappoint us at all. It’s about 10 minutes walk to great Portland street tube station, and about the same distance to Goodge Street Tube station. It’s also close to relatively near attraction such as Sherlock Holmes museum, Madame Tussaud London, Regent’s Park, and Piccadily Circus. The kitchen are very wide and equipped with many kinds of kitchen utensils. The common areas also clean and wide, and the room is also clean. It was such a nice stay for me and my friends.
Day 1 at London – Journal to the past @May 3rd 2015)
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