After 12 grueling hours on the plane, flying from Hong Kong all the way to London, i was glad to had finally arrived to London Heathrow airport. My friend had decided to tag along with me to celebrate Christmas with my family and i was more than delighted to have an extra company to share this festive season with. As my sister and her boyfriend picked us up from the airport, i was more than happy to have a personal driver to take us home as oppose to taking the ridiculously over priced taxi in London. It would be last thing i needed after a long haul flight.
Every time i visit London, i get this sense of familiarity and home that takes over me, where this city acts like a constant reminder of the fun times I had here during my university days. However, as i walked through Canary Wharf, a Central Business District, which i used to live near by and frequent a lot, appeared to have gone through some changes over the years. There were a lot more tall sky scrapers than i could remember from the last time i visited. It also appeared that many hip restaurants and cafes had surfaced around Canary Wharf.
For old times sake, my sister decided to take us out to lunch in Canary Wharf at this relatively newly opened restaurant, by the name of Tom’s Kitchen. I ordered the sirloin beef with roasted potatoes and water cress in red wine sauce, along with their renowned British Yorkshire pudding. The dish was simple yet amazing, where the beef was juicy and tender and not too big in proportion, and the Yorkshire pudding was warm and soft. I have to admit, there was nothing special about the potatoes but it went really well with the steak. The ambiance was contemporary with high ceiling and a lot of wooden and white tiles to its interior decor, which is a westernized decor style that i am very fond of. The customer service was impeccable as well, with the staffs coming back every now and then in the right consistency to see if we were alright. It is definitely a place that i would go back again for a chilled lunch with my girls on a weekend.
As i had a friend visiting this time, I knew it would be mandatory to take her to the usual tourist attractions and despite seeing it a million times before, i never get tired of this beautiful city. All of the architectural buildings and history just never fails to impress me.
It was a cold and rainy day, and after a much satisfied meal at Tom’s Kitchen, we headed to Tower Bridge. Along the way, we spotted the Shard Building, which i have been told that its the tallest building in the EU, which is quite impressive. Yet the Tower Bridge is always the winner in my book and it always takes my breath away no matter during day time or night time, its just one of those beauty that you can’t stop admiring, and the whole majestic vibe that it holds.
After taking like a gazillion photos of the Tower Bridge in every angle that you could possible take, it was starting to get dark and so we headed to our next destination, the Big Ben and the House of Parliament.
As we got off Westminster station on the underground, we were greeted by drizzles of rain. We decided to not let the weather spoil the mood for us, especially after we surfaced from the underground and looked upon the beautiful view of the Big Ben set against the giant Underground signage (first picture shown above in this post). We opened our umbrellas and leisurely walked along the bridge as we took a moment to enjoy the night view of the Big Ben and the House of Parliament. I still remember my graduation being held at this venue in 2005, and it seems like only yesterday. That day was such a special day for me where my families were there to witness my big day, and it was nice to see this scenery again, 8 years later.
As i walked along the bridge and got closer to the oh so familiar view of the London Eye, my sister told my friend and i to keep walking along the London Eye until we reach the end of the road and then turn back. And we did exactly that. What I saw was the beautiful London Eye in full view, where it was glowing in blue lights, and there were rows and rows of trees in front of it also shining in blue lights in unison. It was one of those magical moments that i wished to have an other half whom i could share this moment with, but my sister and friend was just as good company during that very moment.
As the night unfolded, and our feet being tired as ever from walking the whole day, we decided to stop by a local cafe, Le Pain Quotidien, nearby Waterloo station. We walked into Le Pain Quotidien, where the smell of fresh bakeries and our body warming up to the central heating was more than inviting to us. We quickly got a seat and started looking a the menu. I took no hesitation and decided to go for my all time fave carrot cake and my friend went for the Lemon tart. Coffee and tea, and an elderflower drink were ordered as we slowly savored our desserts and relaxed. Not long after, i had arranged for dinner with an old friend that i’ve known years back from university. Due to lack of time ,we were only able to meet briefly and grab some local food in a British pub. Those short but sweet 2 hours of catching up over good old British food, which consisted of Bangers and mash, and Fish and Chips, were priceless. We laughed into the night as we shared good old memories and spoke of the present and future. As the clock stroked 9 o’clock at night, it was time to bid our farewells and hugged each other tightly, knowing we would meet again very soon. It was a bittersweet moment and just like that, my second night in London ended…