Snapshots of Europe: London, UK
This is meant to be a snapshot of my time in Europe, and no doubt a very, very small snapshot of all the photographs I have taken (approximately 6000 photographs, at about 100GB of data, not counting all the ‘clicks‘ I had culled on the way). I will try my best to recommend places that I tried and loved, and mention places that I had on my wishlist which I did not manage to consume. P.S. it was incredibly difficult to fit everything in for such a short time, especially when you want to see the sights and feast on the best / representative food at each location.
I start off first here in London, the capital of England. Only once you have set foot here do you realise beyond veil of erratic and at times drab weather patterns, it is a charming city sprawling with history, vibrant colour and all your metropolitan dining and shopping needs.
I had arrived in London fairly late into the day, and it would be futile trying to fit any touristy activities, especially with jet lag on board the boat. So, first things first. Feed thy stomach!
Harwood Arms is Brett Graham’s gastro-pub found right in the middle of Fulham, which is conveniently close to the Chelsea football club. Actually, this place holds one michelin star, and is so called “tuned down” only when comparison is made to Brett’s 2 michelin starred Notting Hill restaurant. The food here is proudly British in character. The cheek jowl of middlewhite pork is heavenly tender with a crackling that is to die for. Scotch eggs is a signature item here – with a gooey, molten centre, wrapped by a juicy venison shell and batter. Definitely a choice place to find great British food.
Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and red London bus with an ever changing backdrop of sunny blue, overcast and rain. Aside from the usual touristy things one might go see, if it is one thing I recommend to do in Westminster, it is to take a guided tour of the Abbey. Treading on the graves of 3000 royalties, famed people, and legendary figures may be one thing, but to appreciate a small part of the history, culture and stories on each wall, stone and crevice is another experience all to together.
Of course what is a trip to Buckingham palace, without seeing the changing of guards? Be wary though, that the crowds can get quite heavy. Official start time of 11.30am, however the guards start arriving with music at 11.15am. So plan to arrive by 11.15am and much earlier in summer months to get the the best out of the whole ceremony. Otherwise you’ll be behind hordes of tourists and a million miles away from all the action.
London eye [top]. Barb-wired walls [2nd top] and golden gates [bottom] around Buckingham palace. Trafalgar square [middle]. Music playing at Wellington barracks.
After a long day of treading the footpath and cobble stones around London, having a little time at Trafalgar square to wind down and people-watch was much needed. [Nelson’s column pictured left]
After seeing the the famed St Paul’s Cathedral [top left – peaking through the buildings], I stopped at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa for a “quick” pit stop. It isn’t hard to deduce from the name, which usually refers to the process of slow-cooking meats over an open fire, that this is a barbecue steakhouse. The roasted pork chop with pickled cabbage and apple, was a gigantic portion of juicy tender meat cooked with to a beautiful char and smokiness. Refreshing citrusy notes are abundant amongst the down to earth hearty food. Not the cheapest steakhouse around, but much respect is paid to the meat here.
Next stop: Tower of London. If you take the scenic route here, via boat along the River Thames, you will be able to catch glimpse of the Tower bridge, the shard, and even the gherkin if you look for it.
White tower inside the Tower of London.
Indian in middle of London? Yes. Right before a musical? Probably not if you are prone to suffering heart burn.
Dishoom is a short walk from Leicester square, and is a good spot to break up (*ahem diversify) the intake of food. Marketed as a Bombay Cafe in London, it serves up scrumptious Indian cuisine, with a twist and notch up from your local takeaway joint (at least relative to those in Melbourne anyway). The biriyani is fiery and full of flavour; the Bhel pops with puffed rice and pomegranate.
A few shots at dusk. If only I had brought my tripod along…
Stay tuned for the Stone Henge and Bath.
And, don’t forget to check out The Ledbury!