london on my mind.
london is always on my mind, not only because it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but also because my sister aissa lives there now. :)
imagine sharing the same room with your sister from birth, to adolescence, to adulthood, for a total of 27 years.. then all of a sudden, she moves not just out of the house, but half way across the globe. can you say separation anxiety? august last year, my sister left to study furniture design in london (she was the summa cum laude of her batch in the philippine school of interior design!) i planned my trip to visit her as soon as i could. i finally got to do so, october last year.
i had a total of only 3.5 days in london because i can't absent myself from work that long. so we had to make the most out of it!
i arrived friday night, and in the spirit of making the most out of it, we went straight to a london house party! and wow. i've never experienced a house party like this.
it was a small house, there was a dj blasting house music, the place was packed with guests in costumes, and smoking was allowed inside. i of course didn't know anyone except my sister and her friend james, so i gladly mingled and tried my best to understand the thick brit accents. later in the evening, a group of four geishas came out for a dance number! it was so odd but so trippy! i did get two super cool ideas from the party. first, all the drinks were in the bathtub, yes, in the bathroom. they fill the tub with ice, all guests who bring drinks drop it there, and everyone goes to the tub to choose their poison! neat, huh? second was the ice sculpture for shots. this was super cool. they had an ice sculpture of a tiger, with built in hallow tubes. so someone drops the drink from the top hole, and you stick your mouth by the bottom hole, and tadaa! an ice cold shot! doesn't sound so hygenic i know, but it was fun!
for saturday, my official day one, we decided to hit the city itself.
of course, my travels would not be complete without my tumbling shots! so, here is my tumbling shot by the london eye! as you can see there were so many tourists around, so it was quite embarrassing, but i've gotten used to the stares and chuckles by now. :p
and here's another tumbling shot by the house of parliament! good thing i wore a bright color, to contrast the neutrals shades of the city!
after more walking around, we arrived to what is now one of my favorite spots in london, borough market!
welcome to foodie heaven!!!! just the smell coming from the different food stalls as you walk by is enough to make your knees buckle! i loved the stalls for truffle oil, cheese, chocolates, and one of the most popular stalls in the whole market, the raclette sandwich stall! i loooove raclette! it was food stall, after food stall, after food stall. i love borough market.
in our quest to make the most out of exploring the city, my sister made it a point to bring me to have my photo taken at westminster abbey! :) this was taken months before the royal wedding of now duke william and duchess catherine, but during my trip, it had already been announced that this is the wedding venue! i really wanted to take a tumbling shot here, but it was church grounds, so i sort of got shy. hahaha! (note i was sporting the eco friendly borough market shopping bag. thinking green is the way to go!)
more walking around the city (yes, in my platform wedges, ang kapal ng mukha ko talaga :p) brought us to the famous trafalgar square. i love this photo that my sister took of me. yes, that's me in the red coat!
we also passed by what used to be a dream of mine, london film school. aaw, i remember when i was back in college, just another communication arts student, dreaming of studying film here. my life took another direction and i never got to study here, but hey, i still love film just as much. :)
time flies when you're having fun! sunday came quickly, my day two . we've already taken the underground during day one, so they decided to make me ride the famous double decker bus! of course we sat on the top deck.
welcome to portobello road! another one of my favorite areas in london! if you're the type who loves vintage shops and quirky one of a kind items, then portobello market is the place for you! walking around, i was secretly super hoping that i'd bump into british celebrities that i love! sienna miller, jude law, alexa chung.. i always see their paparazzi photos online taken in this area! sadly, no celebrity sighting. but! i did have my token photo taken at the famous blue bookstore in the movie notting hill. i'm sure so many people who go here have their photo taken there too. haha!
the rest of the day, we just relaxed and took our time going around, hopping from one cafe to another. both my sister and i love coffee!
here is beautiful london by night.
then came monday. my final full day in the city. my day three. my sister had school that day so i was all on my own. what's a girl to do all alone on her last day? why, go shopping of course! hahahahaha. a lot of people share the same sentiment as mine i'm sure, that its nice to shop for items abroad because for sure you'll have unique items when you get home!
after a whole day of shopping, on the train, my sister took this shot of me and all my newly acquired prized possessions! that is the look of one tired but happy woman. :p ironic how there i am with all my bags, and the man in the foreground of the photo is reading 'financial times'. uh, whoops.
as a final meal, as a thank you gift to my sister aissa and james, i treated them to a nice dinner. now, the british aren't exactly known for their cuisine. in fact, some people argue that they have bland tasting food. this is one place that proves that wrong. welcome to beach blanket babylon!
this restaurant has one of the most interestingly beautiful interiors i've ever seen. i'd say the theme is cave luxe. not kidding! it has cave-like walls, bridges, chains, juxtaposed with pretty chandeliers, beautiful vases, and floral arrangements. very, very nice. :) and most importantly, the food is delicious! we ordered the rack of lamb with aubergine, plum tomato, pine nuts and basil compote with aged balsamic.. the risotto with courgette, broad beans, fresh mint and parmesan.. and the seared tuna with chick pea puree, roasted peppers and chili oil dressing. such an unforgettable meal. :)
on the way home that night, i decided to do one last tumbling shot! huling hirit ika nga nila!
this is my tumbling shot at the earl's court train station. see how james looks on with a weirded out expression on his face. this is also a tumbling shot to celebrate my london shopping finds! :p
putting together my few hours during friday evening, and my few hours on tuesday morning, i get to my last .5 day to complete my 3.5 days in london. my sister really supported my making the most out of my trip so guess what! we went somewhere near. walking distance from her place was brompton cemetery, the cemetery where they shot that scene in the movie 'sherlock holmes'! see, pati cemetery, ginawa naming tourist spot? hahaha!
after that, i made my way to the airport.. it was a bittersweet goodbye, walking with all my luggage, complete with the gloomy, rainy london weather.. it may have been a short trip, but i did get to spend much missed quality time with my sister, and family quality time is really priceless. plus, i always say about traveling, better a short trip than no trip. :)
a few days after i got home, my sister uploaded this collage online..
miss you dee! we'll see each other soon! ♥