London in a weekend

Last Friday, I hoped on a bus to the airport after work and flew down to London. Flying into London City Airport was absolutely amazing, the thousands of lights of the city and getting so close to the skyscrapers. I did manage to take some pictures but they really do not do the experience justice. N. had been there the whole week for work and picked me up at London City Airport after an hour-long flight a little past 9 pm. After dinner and a drink, we headed off to bed. We were both tired from working all week, and N. would still have to work Saturday.

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That is the Tower Bridge in the bottom center!

I spent most of Saturday on my own. We were staying at a hotel in the Docklands and there happened to be a powerboat/ jet ski race that morning. The weather was absolutely amazing on Saturday, the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, and it was warm! It properly felt like spring. In Edinburgh, we have not yet managed to get close to 20 degrees, I had forgotten how lovely a warm spring day feels.

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After watching the jet skis zoom past for a while, I hopped on the DLR to Westminster, to see the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben up close. Turns out, hundreds of tourists had the same idea. It was absolutely crowded on Westminster Bridge.

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Turns out, from Westminster Bridge you also have a fantastic view of the London Eye. (I had come to London a little under-prepared. Since I had been a few times before, I was not too concerned with getting the maximum amount of sightseeing done in the minimum amount of time. In hindsight, just a little research might have been helpful, though.) Neither N. nor I had been on the London Eye before, and it was really the only thing we definitely wanted to do during our weekend there.

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That Saturday was also Earth Hour, and just as I was on Westminster Bridge, dozens of giant pandas descended upon us unsuspecting tourists to ruin our pictures give us the opportunity to take selfies with them. I’m joking, it was actually pretty fun!

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From there, I hopped on a bus to Trafalgar Square, where you can find the National Gallery of Art and, again, hundreds of tourists.

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I stumbled upon this charming old double decker bus just around the corner. Although I take one (more modern one) to work every day, I still get excited. In Germany, we didn’t have double decker buses in public transport, and they were always something typically London / British to me.

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I got on another bus that took me to Oxford Street, which was incredibly busy with shoppers. I had a look around one or two shops but I didn’t really have a shopping budget for my London trip, so all I bought was a Starbucks London mug for my collection.

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It wa an absolutely lovely afternoon, and I really enjoyed having a real spring weekend in London. After a walk along Oxford Street and a wee break at Starbucks, I went back to the hotel to meet up with N. who had finished work at 4 pm.

After freshening up at the hotel, we went back out. We got a tube to London Bridge, where I took some pictures of Tower Bridge and walked past The Shard, the tallest building in the EU.

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The Shard is a brand new building, only opened a year ago. It’s incredibly tall and very impressive when standing right next to it. The last time I was in London was in the summer of 2007, and back then, construction hadn’t even started on it.

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We ended our day at The Monsoon, a curry house on Brick Lane. I was really impressed with the food, it was absolutely amazing. Another London first for me, as I had never been to Brick Lane before.

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All in all, it was a fantastic first day in London. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and it was just great to spend some time together again after we hadn’t seen each other for the whole week. Be sure to check back for Part 2 for more pictures from Sunday in London!

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4 thoughts on “London in a weekend

  1. In Germany, we didn’t have double decker buses in public transport,

    -> not entirely true, they are still being used here in Berlin, not just for sight-seeing, but also for regular public transport. One of the most famous lines – No 100 from Zoo to Alexanderplatz – mostly has double decker buses, and I see several of those almost every day also when I am at the station here in Spandau (as there are some lines stopping there), like X34, or, on rare occasions, 237 which I can use to go back to my flat. :) I remember how I’d always get excited as a little kid when we visited our family here, and we got to ride on a double decker. I ALWAYS wanted to be on the top floor and front row. Yeehaw!

    Unless you mean your part of the country, that is. But here in Berlin, they’re a common sight. According to wikipedia, there are currently 416 double decker buses in total rolling around my city.

  2. We are going to London 16th to 18th of May. .-) I can’t wait!
    London is a City I really love and could visit every year!
    I havent looked into what to do as I have been twice to London before. A friend of ours from South Africa will be there with us and he has a list on what he would like to see/ do.
    How much does the London Eye cost? Thats on his list too.
    I am looking forward to the Pubs and I need to have Fish and Chips at least once!

    • I felt the same way about having been there before. The London Eye is about £20 per person for a standard ticket but we had a coupon from a Kellogg’s Cornflakes box that got us one free ticket so we paid £20 for the two of us. Fast-track tickets are even more expensive (but may be worth it if the queues are long and you can afford it). Unfortunately the Kellogg’s coupons are only valid until tomorrow at the London Eye or I would have recommended you do that.

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