I’m sorry that I have to disagree with Seth Godin when he said instead of wondering when our next vacation is we should set up a life we don’t need to escape from. After all, we’re only humans. We get bored and tired, even from a routine that we love the most. Instead of ‘escape’ I’d prefer to call it ‘take a break’, to be honest. In this case, ‘escape’ sounds a bit negative.
I took a break from my extraordinary life in Manchester and went to London for a night. The highlight of the trip was watching a ballet performance. And that’s basically it. Obviously, no one will finish London in two days. It was just huge. But, if you’re being efficient, perhaps you can visit most of the places in Zone 1 (London has 9 zones). My trip was not prepared with an itinerary so the decision about where to go was rather spontaneous than planned. I hope this is entertaining enough for you though 😀
Take a tube and get off at Borough station. Not far from the station, you will find a market full of food and beverages, raw and cooked, from all over the world. The market is huge and it has several different areas. You will find just almost everything, fresh juice, cheese, meat, cakes, chinese food, thai food, egyptian food, and many more. Plenty of choices just makes it hard for me to choose what to eat. So basically, I didn’t buy anything there. It is so crowded, I believe because there are so many tourists (or is it because I came at lunch time?). In some food stalls, you have to queue until you got served. Being in Borough Market reminds me of travel documentary series I used to watch in NatGeo Travel and if only I got more time (and money) I’d stay for a little longer in the market.
We went to this place because one of my friend used to work at PwC and the office of PwC London is located here. It was a nice visit though, because the riverside view is just nice and we can see the famous Tower Bridge (which often is mistaken as the London Bridge). Office buildings near the place is also very modern and sophisticated.
If you’re not a budget traveler and you’re keen on shopping, visiting Covent Garden is a must. It welcomes you with luxury shops and some restaurants, though at the back you’re going to find a less luxurious market. There’s shake shack here, I bet it is a must for Indonesian hipster kids to buy a burger and take a selfie there. Oh, and Godiva. Fancy a cone of Godiva ice cream, don’t you? (Well, di Indonesia juga ada sih ya..). The area that surrounds this place is nice to stroll around and less than 10 minutes walk, you will arrive at my next destination…
This iconic square in London is a tourist must visit. The name Travalgar is taken from an ancient battle between Britain and France and Spain. It was a nice place to chill and relax during a good weather. It’s full of people but when I went there it wasn’t as crowded as Dam Square (by far, Dam Square is still the most crowded public open space in the world that I’ve been to). National Gallery stands just beside the square and in the area of the square itself, there are two fountains and several statues.
China Town (Assa Korean Restaurant)
My friend and I have been craving to eat Korean dish and there we were in one of the most popular Korean restaurant in London. It’s located in the China Town (kayaknya lebih tepat dibilang Asia Town sih.. soalnya ada restoran Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, dan lain-lain juga). How was it? Recommended! It’s a good value as well, per person-nya dibawah £10 aja. We grabbed some packs of Samyang noodle too. Samyang noodle is just too popular everybody tries it.
My thoughts about Samyang : enak! Pedes banget, tapi pedes nagih. Di awal pedesnya belum terasa tapi lama-lama bikin meler dan mewek. But you just can’t stop karena rasanya enak. It won’t be my weekly dose of instant noodle, tapi once in a while I’ll crave for it. Anyway, di sini Samyang-nya berlogo halal di packaging-nya. Kata temenku, di Indo ngga ada logo halal-nya ya?
There is a Chinese bakery which smells sooo good and we stopped by to buy some sweet buns and taiyaki. Roti manis kayak di Indonesia itu ngga dijual secara masif di UK, beda jenis roti dan beda taste yang pasti. Roti yang lazim dan normal itu pastries, donuts, chiabata (pardon my spelling), dan roti-roti yang cenderung keras dan plain. Ngga ada deh roti isi pisang coklat, isi keju, isi srikaya, selain di Chinese bakery. Jadi, toko roti di China Town itu selalu jadi favorit (sambil bismillah semoga halal). Kalau taiyaki sendiri adalah kue berukuran kecil yang dicetak di cetakan berbentuk ikan. The price is expensive tho, menurutku mereka menjual experience ngeliat proses pembuatannya juga. I bet it’s interesting untuk orang-orang Western, kalau aku sih udah biasa liat kue cubit 😀 (but no, the texture is not the same as kue cubit).
Our final destination of the first day, where we watched the Swan Lake Ballet. The building is just amazing and the show was even more amazing! That was my first experience to enjoy a ballet performance. I didn’t expect myself to like it that much. Perhaps it’s also because of the stunning orchestra (an orchestra always amuses me, it reminds me so much about my childhood as a violinist). I’m not a football person, jadi instead of nonton match sepakbola, aku lebih interest nonton art performance (but not a concert). If you love art, di UK ada banyak performance yang menarik untuk ditonton.
Pardon me if I’m not giving any direction in this post. Peta tube lumayan membantu kok dan aku pakai apps andalanku juga: City Mapper selama jalan-jalan di London and I didn’t get lost even for once. Camden Market itu pasar yang tumpah ruah semua jualan ada disitu. It’s like Chatuchak but in London. Ada makanan, minuman, mainan, aksesoris, baju, souvenir, lampu, dan lain-lain you will find almost everything. Banyak barang-barang yang lucu dan menarik di sini. On our way to the market, kami melewati sebuah jalanan yang penuh manusia dimana di kanan dan kirinya terdapat toko-toko. Penampakannya persis Cihampelas (like for real).
Ada dua tempat tujuan di Baker Street. Yang pertama tentunya 221B Baker Street alias rumahnya Sherlock Holmes dan yang kedua adalah masjid besar di sekitar Baker Street karena kami harus solat zuhur dan ashar. The home of Sherlock Holmes is actually a museum, which you have to pay to get inside. As I’m only a moderate fan of the detective, I didn’t go inside. I went to the shop instead. It was a small shop and I didn’t find anything that interest me. So we kind of spent just less than 15 minutes there and then moved to the next destination: the mosque (alim). Masjidnya gede banget, aku ngga expect akan sebesar itu masjidnya. Bersih dan nyaman juga di dalamnya. It’s around 5 to 10 minutes walk from the 221B Baker Street, passing the London Business School on the way.
I have been here once but one of my friend haven’t been there. So, we decided to visit the palace. The front side of the palace has a quite huge open space for people to take pictures and chilling out. We’re basically exhausted by the time we reach the palace (a short trip will definitely makes you more tired because you have to move fast and not to waste any time). So we just sat there, watching people passing by.
It’s a wrap! That’s basically it. Someone said when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life for there is in London all that life can afford. Well, that’s a bit exaggerated. But I do want to explore more of London when I have time (and money) one day 🙂 I hope you’re entertained by this post 😀
♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia