Monthly Archives: February 2013

LONDON – DAY 4

I am sorry it took me a little longer to write this one. But I have good excuses you know! I had so many, so many things to write, it was too much for only one post. So I thought about it over and over and finally decided that I had to make choices. Not everything had to be said. I could leave some of those details out, not because there aren’t interesting but because it’s too much. So, I hope you will enjoy reading that post!

Early start

Very early, to be honest. For me it was fine, because since the beginning of the trip I had found a rythm (8AM every morning), but for my friend who was coming with me it was a bit harder. Or so I thought. In fact, we were both too excited to sleep, and we were ready even earlier than expected. Yes, that much excited.

Finding our way

None of us wanted to take the Tube. It seemed like it would affect our mood, somehow. Like, you know, it’s dark, underground, a bit gloomy. So we took the bus. Going from Swiss Cottage to Euston was easy, and we were amazed to see so many people in suits! I know, I know, it’s normal. At 9, everyone is on their way to work.

We needed to buy a ticket for Watford Junction so we went to the machines. Bad move. We were completely lost! Like, prices ranged from 9,8£ to 210£ (yes! I swear!) and we did not understand AT ALL what we were supposed to buy, if it was a return ticket or not, etc. So we abandoned the idea. Way better talking to a real human being! Funny enough, the guy guessed right away where we wanted to go. My friend just had time to say “We want tickets for…” and he finished “Watford Junction?”. Was it written on our faces? I suppose it was, as we were all smily.

So, of course machines are practical, but if you are not too sure of what you want, definitely go ask someone. The guy was really nice to us, there was no line at all, and he even gave us tips on which train to take. The first one going to Watford was stopping by a lot of stations and we would have taken this one if he had not told us to take the next one (direct to Watford). The ride was really fast! Around 20 minutes I think.

Shuffle Bus

We did not know where to go to find it. There was no sign or anything so we were a bit lost. Two spanish guys asked us where to go, but of course we had no idea so the four of us went back to the station and we asked someone of the staff. After that, we only had to wait for the bus to come. And then, it started hail. Yes, to HAIL. Like, why? The weather was cold but, but, hailing? Seriously? And no bus! Just us waiting, with the two spanish guys and a group of german girls!

Finally, I saw it. The shuffle bus. Impossible to miss, yep! A huge “the making of HARRY POTTER” was written on it, it was… well, better post a picture, right? Honestly at this point we were so, so impatient!

ShufflebusHarry Potter Studio Tour Shuffle Bus

Arrival

The Shuffle bus ride was around 15/20min. When we arrived, girls started to scream and to run around EVERYWHERE! We were calmer. I mean, we were excited indeed, but we did not run screaming. Not quite. I was impressed by our composure, honestly!

We still had to exchange our tickets (I was a bit disappointed because they only gave us a white paper… I wanted a true ticket! You know, with pictures… anyway.) so we lined up. It was fast, probably because it was a thursday morning (around 10h25~)

There were huge chess pieces outside so of course we took pictures with it (and that was only the beginning, I think I took around 600 photos on that day). Then we were supposed to wait our entrance time (at 11) but since there weren’t too many people, we entered earlier.

ChessQueen, Knight and Tower

Flying carMr. Weasley’s flying car and Tom Felton picture

CupboardHarry’s cupboard

Intro

Then we entered a room where a guide introduced us the tour and we watched a short movie about Harry Potter’s history. It was really interesting and quite moving too. As we entered there we truly realized that it had come to an end, you know? Like, we read the seven books. We watched the eight movies. And we were going to see where the magic had been created. It’s difficult to explain it.

After that we entered in a theater with a big white screen and watched a message from Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. If only they could have been there for real! No but, it was really well done.

I won’t reveal everything, but at the end of that message something happened and we were all surprised, in a good way! They really put plenty of efforts in this tour.

Discovering Magic

I started writing this part and it was so long and detailed I felt like it was too much. So, I re-wrote it and it is now a lot shorter, you will see!

We saw plenty of amazing things during this tour. I feel like if I tell you everything you are going to know too much and it will spoil the surprise when you get there.

We indeed visited the Great Hall. One of the best experience of my life, you bet. It was just as impressive as I expected it to be! I loved the tour. All the details everywhere, we really saw how much efforts, time and money they put in the creation of the movies. All those details we are not even aware of are there to make it all look real. They managed to create an entire world, it is a bit like Muggle Magic, right?

If you go there, definitely watch the little video about the portraits, it was very funny! There were screens everywhere with messages giving information about this or that, really entertaining and interesting. TAKE YOUR TIME! That’s the most important. Read everything. Watch everything. Take pictures. Don’t think you have to hurry up because the tour is supposed to last 2 hours. Me and my friend stayed there for FOUR hours straight. We did not want to leave anymore.

Gryffindor’s Common Room seemed so real! And Diagon Alley was amazing. There were tons of props and papers and costumes too.

My favorite part was the “Creature Department”. I loved seeing how they created all of those characters and weird creatures! Of course, I learnt things that I’d prefer to ignore (like, Hagrid is not always human, did you know? There is a mechanical head acting on its own!), but overall it was really instructive (and somewhat scary, too!).

The end of the tour comes with two surprises I enjoyed very much. So, to resume it all: If you liked Harry Potter, DEFINITELY GO VISIT THE STUDIOS! It is worth it. Really, really, really!

G.CommonRoomGryffindor’s Common Room

LettersVarious papers

CreaturesGiving birth to magical creatures

BooksFlourish & Blotts

Shop

Of course, at the end of the tour, we came to the shop. It was very, very, very expensive. Way too much for us. The smallest stuffs cost around 5-6£. Therefore, we could not buy as much as we wished to. It is very difficult to resist though! I had a 30£ budget, and didn’t surpass it, so I was quite happy with myself. I bought a book (yeah, I know, I love books too much) and a gift for my best friend. There were plenty of funny stuffs, like Bertie Bott’s beans (real ones, yep, with disgusting tastes, of course), wands or clothes…

Platform 9 3/4

We were in a “Harry Potter Mood”, so as soon as we went back to London, me and my friend ran to King’s Cross to take pictures on Platform 9 3/4. They created a fake one in the station (the real plateform 9 isn’t really the place where they filmed it anyway), and we were able to take pictures there, with scarfs (I chose the Ravenclaws’ one!). It was really fun~

Platform 9 34Going to Hogwarts!

What a dreamy day~ I felt like if I was 12 again!

Thank you for reading! I hope you’ll go there someday!

If you wish, ask me questions! I was rather general, but I can answer anything you want :)

As ever, pictures are mine :)

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LONDON – DAY 3

Computers & University Mess

Yeah, we are in London, but we aren’t completely away from our students’ lives. So, we absolutely had to register for our second semester courses first thing in the morning. If we did not, we would risk to lose our places and that would be a total mess…. So, in our Hostel, there were computers in the lounge, so we went there at 9 in the morning (right after breakfast) and started the Internet registation. What a nightmare it was! Nothing was the fault of the connection, though, we believe that too many people tried to access the website at the same time and it was so slow! When we finally got to the page, our optional course was no-where to be found and we ended up registering for a random class. Well, it still took us almost an hour, and I imagine that everyone in the room was annoyed by how loud we were, complaining and trying to understand what we were supposed to do. I feel sorry for them, as we were really noisy so early in the morning…

Notting Hill & Portobello Road

You know, travelling as a group of girls truly is something. We are loud, we run away when we see squirrels, we take pictures of everything, everywhere, at anytime…

And we agree on the place we want to visit. For example, that must-see for any romantic-comedy lover in the world: Notting Hill. Who don’t like this movie, really? Spike is magical. And the story is cute. And the Bookshop is legend!

So, we went to Notting Hill. The neighbourhood is lovely, with many colourful houses. There are plenty of shops on Portobello road, for people who like shopping. I would encourage anyone to buy its postcards and other stuffs like that in Portobello, because it is way cheaper (around 20p for a postcard instead of 35-50p in other areas).

NottingHill

Notting Hill bookshop

Nando’s

So, why did we end up in Nando’s? One of my really, really, really wanted to eat there. Let say that the official reason is “Nando’s is famous in England, I need to eat there at least once!”, although we have reasons to believe that there was something else behind it. Nando’s is nice. It tastes good, staff is kind, and you can drink as many sodas as you want. However, I was still a bit hungry after my menu, which barely ever happens, so I wonder if a guy could eat enough with just a basic menu? Of course, you can order more, but with our menus around 6-8£, it will end up being too expensive.

For the little story (and because it will be of major importance in my later posts), one of my friends, who is a big fan of a particular group, was a bit upset to know that one of the members went to that very same Nando’s the day after. Aha, unlucky unlucky!

Nandos

Westfield

The Nando’s we went was at Westfield. For the who~~~le afternoon we were shopping there. It is the biggest shopping mall of Europe, isn’t it? Well, it is big. So, as I don’t like shopping that much, I was tired of it very soon. My favorite part was the bookshops! I was very happy to find a WHSmith because even if we have one in Paris the prices are cheaper in the UK.

I did not buy anything else but two books. We were so tired that we all sat down somewhere and would not move anymore!

Diner

Two of my friends went to a concert, so the other one and I came back alone to the Hostel.

Because we were tired of chips, we had bought food at M&S. The soups (very tasty by the way) were quite affordable (around 2£ each). However, if you buy a normal one-person dish it will be around 4-5£ and you can find cheaper stuffs at Eat, for example, that are really good too.

Then, we honestly went to bed quite early because, well, Day 4 was going to be so awesome, so amazingly unforgettable that I needed a full rest.

Thank you for reading!

Photos are mine, please don’t use without my consent,

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Holidays with your cat?

I have a cat. We adopted her two years ago through an association (we did not want a kitten, so she was already 2 years old when we brought her home. The cutest cat EVER!) and she was soon part of the family.

We had had various pets before (a hamster, two gerbils) but it was easy to leave them with someone during the holidays as they stayed in their cage. However, with Nala (it’s my cat’s name) it is not quite that simple. Can we leave her at somebody’s place like that? Of course not. It is a lot more difficult to take care of a cat than a hamster (even more a cat like ours, who considers she is a princess and needs two litters because otherwise it is not good enough for her majesty!)

The solution we found… is to take our cat with us when we travel within France! We usually travel by car and Nala is really calm and patient so that was never an issue. She doesn’t like it so much but she never really complains about it. She generally is a bit reluctant to enter in her carrier but once she is inside she doesn’t move anymore. We feel bad for her when the travels are very long (sometimes around 10 hours!) but she is the sweetest cat ever!

Usually we buy disposable under-sheets (is that the English word for it? It’s a sort of diaper but not really a diaper, you know? The kind of stuffs you use when you change a baby on a couch or something like that) and put it in the carrier to avoid accidents. We give her one of her toys so she feels safer (though she won’t play with it during the ride, we believe that it makes her comfortable) and often talk to her. During the ride, she wears a heirness and we have a leash, as when we stop we let her out in the car (never outside of the car, it is too risky).

NalatravelNala in her carrier

On D-day we give her some dry food early in the morning (at least two hours before departure time) but once we are in the car she doesn’t eat anymore until we arrive. At the beginning we tried to give her some food but she refused. When the weather is really hot we encourage her to drink a lot but she doesn’t want either… We offer her some water regularly though.

So that’s it for the actual ride. I suppose it is the easiest part of the holidays because cats usually hate to change their routine and adapt to new places. The first time we took Nala to our summer house, she litterally did all the clean up. It is a very old house and there is a lot of dust under the furniture. She wanted to hide all the time and when we came back home we had to give her a bath. Yes, really. And give a bath to a cat? It’s torture, for her and for us. My father and I ended up with big scars on our arms.

Nalatravel2Nala discovers our summer house

So this first time Nala was very anxious and it took a little bit of time until she felt at ease. Because the house is big and open to the exterior (we live in a flat) we reduced her space to two rooms: mine and my parents’. That way it was easier for us to keep an eye on her. At the beginning, it was tough. She showed us how upset she was by peeing on the floor ALL THE TIME. It was terrible, even more as it is an old wooden floor. But she did feel better later and the problems started to disappear. In fact, she even wanted to extent her territory and it was a bit hard to keep her in the rooms. It was no option to let her out, because we did not want to have her walking around in the garden. As I said, it is a very old house, and therefore some mice run around. Nala was delighted and it helped to keep her entertained. As she could not go out or run around as freely as usual, we played with her more and my family (cousins, uncles, aunts… even grand-parents) loved to pay her a visit.

Nalatravel3Nala waiting for the mouse

We came back there last summer and she was very much at ease. She had access to the corridor and everyone is so happy to have her there! My cousins love her. However, one problem remains: she eats every spider she can find and it make her sick. It seems she doesn’t get it.

We also took her at various other places. When you book for an accomodation in a residence there are always conditions to respect. We, for example, had to vaccinate Nala for certain stuffs, and it was important to bring her papers. We also had to be more careful when we opened the windows. Also, you have to bring more luggage, because the cat needs food and litter. Those are things you have to think about. When we went to the Alps, it was a bit tough to have everything in the car because winter clothes are bigger. Also, Nala always wanted to leave our accomodation and visit our one-week neighbours.

Now, Nala is used to travel. I mean, she doesn’t enjoy the rides, but she adapts more quickly to new places and seems very much at ease. I would say that she even likes it because she can sleep on our beds (it is stricly forbidden at home!) and ask for food at 4AM in the morning.

Nalatravel4Holidays are nice, aren’t they?

This summer however, we are going to Canada, so Nala won’t come with us. We found another solution, but it is not yet sure so I will wait a bit before I blog about it.

I know some people fear that because usually owners don’t bring their cat with them during Holidays it is impossible. Believe me, it is possible. Everything depends on your cat, its character and where you are going. It will indeed come with some constraints, but it is bearable.

Once again, thank you for reading!

Photos are mine, please don’t use without my consent,

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London – DAY 2

8:00AM, Early start

It is important, when you are on a short trip like we were, to not spend too much time sleeping. I mean, you are abroad, there so many things to do and so little time! We had set departure time at 9, but, of course, only two of us were ready on time. We should have anticipated it, because we were 4 girls and girls are usually slow in the morning. We ended up leaving at least 30 minutes later. Believe us that we did not do the same error twice, we woke up our friends earlier the next days!

Breakfast was nice (I think I already wrote about it in my first post?), but crowded after 8:45. I suppose it is the same in every hostel so wake up early, it is worth it! You can still go to bed early later.

The British Museum

Another free museum, indeed we had to drop by! It is huge. Like, really huge. The roof is so high! We visited the egyptian part of the museum, a bit of the greek/roman part and then went to see the Chinese, Thai part as well. We really saw many beautiful things, and read interesting ones as well. As we are a very multicultural group, it was interesting to see how some cultures actually have things in common but explained or used differently. We stayed there for an hour and a half, I think, but we did not visit everything AT ALL. The British Museum is reaaally big, so if you want to visit it all (I am not even sure it is possible!) you need at least an entire day. However, two hours are enough to enjoy it.

British Museum1

Covent Garden

We were supposed to go there on the first day but we were too tired. Covent Garden is a lively place, and it is a must-see, right? There was a pregnant woman singing Opera, she was amazing! We did not stay very long, though, because it was lunch time, and honestly it was nice to see it but we wouldn’t spend hours there as there were not many things to do but looking around.

CoventGarden1

Finding food and cashpoints

I had to write about it. It was a nightmare, honestly! First of all, the UK is very different from France. Here we can withdraw cash everywhere. Cash machines are everywhere! But in London… it is not the case at all. Well, there are cash machines, but not quite as much. So we walked, we walked, we walked… Finally we found one and then we wanted to eat but where we were there was nowhere in our prices. London is expensive, like, really. We couldn’t help, 10£ was too much for us… So we walked again, plenty. It was horrible because there really was nothing! We ended up around Westminster (as it is a tourist attraction we thought that maybe there were some restaurants or stuffs like that, we were very wrong though!) but finally decided to move again and went to a Burger King (can’t remember exactly where though).

For the first time in my life I tasted Raspberry cola. It was awful. Tasted like a medicine, terrible! My friends loved it though. I don’t understand why! But Cherry Schweps is fine. Burger King is good, and you can drink as many sodas as you want (well, when it is cold and rainy outside, I can tell you, you won’t drink that much at all).

So all of this to say: when you see a cash machine, use it! Don’t think you will find one easily later!

Westminster

We finally came back to Westminster as we had decided to visit the Abbey at any cost (hey! Kate and William married there after all!). We passed by the Parliament and Big Ben (another must-see!) and took plenty of photos. Let say it, Westminster abbey IS expensive. We had student cards so it was 15£ (around 17€) instead of 18. It is still a lot, and we wanted to make the most out of it. Honestly, despite the price I strongly recommend you to visit the Abbey. You can have an audioguide in plenty of languages and the staff is really kind. We wanted to know how it was organized during the Royal Wedding and one of the woman who worked there explained everything to us. She was very patient, and even gave us more informations than we asked for! She seemed very happy to talk to us so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

We were so slow to visit that we unfortunately missed the gardens. They are not opened all the time, and close earlier, so we could not visit them. However, we did enjoy the cloister, it was beautiful, and I bought postcards to make up with the fact that I could not take any photos inside. I suspect it is exactly what they wish tourists would do, but I could not help myself.

Big Ben

Finding each other

One of my friends had already visited Westminster Abbey last year and so we decided that we would meet up at the exit at 4:30PM. We were exactly on time but her… well, she was late. Unfortunately when you travel like that you don’t have an easy way to contact each other so we wondered if we had understood the same thing or if we were mistaken. It happens that three of us had cellphones that we could use in emergency case (well, emergency because one message is 0,10€ and we don’t want to pay too much at the end of the month just because we cannot find each other), so she managed to warn us that she was at least half an hour late. Waiting half an hour in the dark, cold and rain was not that funny but well. That is to say, when you travel abroad it is very important to be on time. It can become a nightmare rather quickly if one doesn’t, as there is no way to know if one is coming or not. We were lucky to have our phones, but it is not always good to rely on it.

M&M’s World

This. shop. is. HUGE! No but, honestly, so many m&m’s! It is almost a museum! We had a lot of fun there, like finding our “mood color” of the day through a scanner. I was Yellow (wished to be pink but oh well, I love yellow too!) and it said something like “even if it’s cloudy outside, you’ll brighten someone’s day today!” SO CUTE! I was delighted, indeed!

So, M&M’s was fun but incredibly expensive. One of my friends spent more than 40£ there! She would never have done so if she had known the price before, but you can fill your own bag of M&M’s and the price is for 100g so there is no way you can know in advance the exact amount you will have to pay. I was rather angry about it because they could at least let people weight their bags on scales before paying. Of course she could have been more careful, but it was not entirely her fault. She regrets it a lot now. I know there is a similar shop in the US, I don’t know if the system is exactly the same but I cannot say it enough: BE CAREFUL.

As ever, pictures are mines, don’t use them without asking!

That’s it for our second day in London!

Thank you all for reading,

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DISNEYLAND PARIS

Disneyland, it is probably Paradise for children, right? Well, it is a bit mine too, as I love it so much! The price however… it isn’t that great at all… so! Some tips if you are coming to France and willing to go to Disneyland:

– there are very often offers and sales for tickets at a better price, so do check out Disneyland’s website often. (I never pay more than 30€ – 40USD, 26GBP so that is waaaay better than the 60+ that I would pay if I bought my tickets full price)

decide the date of your visit early. Even if you don’t plan your whole trip in advance, it is worth chosing the date for Disneyland as usually if you want to have a discounted ticket you have to buy it 5 days before the actual day and give the date during the booking process.

– you can go to Disneyland either by car or by RER. As the RER is quite expensive (something around 12€ -10GBP, 16USD- for a return ticket) going by car is not always a bad idea, as the parking lot is around 15€ for the day. However, you might be parked quite far from the entrance. The best thing to do would be to google “Disneyland Paris parking” and you should finds some advices, as I always take the RER to go I cannot help you much.

– if you can, avoid French holidays. It is so crowded that sometimes you spend the WHOLE day in the lines and get to do only 4 or 5 attractions which is a total waste. So, if your are coming during summer, chose a week day, avoid August the 15th, avoid July the 14th and really be there for the opening. For the rest of the year, wednesdays, saturdays and sundays are the worst, be careful.

some attractions are more popular than others. You should definitely start by those as it only get worse during the day. I think of three of them in particular: Peter Pan, Space Moutain and La Mine. It’s terrible. You can have more than one hour of wait so if you don’t go right away to do the attraction, at least pass by to take a fast-pass (you can only have one at once, so be careful).

– as expected of Disneyland, everything is expensive in there. Particularly the food. Buy your own picnic before going and you will save a lot of money!

– the shops are really tempting. If you don’t want to ruin yourself buying too much stuffs, set a limit that you won’t exceed.

– I know that some girls reaaaally like to wear heels wherever they go but seriously, your feet will hurt so much by noon that you’ll regret it. Good shoes are a must-have to go there as you will have to walk all the time to get from one point to another. If you are staying the whole day, be kind to yourself, no heels.

– Paris is cold. I mean, not always that cold, but still. Of course sometimes it can be overly hot in summer (in that case, no need to read further) but honestly it does not happen so often, be careful, take a jacket with you if possible. The best is still to have a backpack as it is easy to carry.

Disneyland1

Disney2

Thanks for reading! I hope it was helpful :)

As always, the pictures are mine so don’t copy or use without my consent,

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London – DAY 1

9:13AM, Gare du Nord, Paris

Train is leaving. I am honestly excited, my first time in London, I cannot wait! Two of my friends were obviously too tired to stay awake (one of them had been so afraid to miss the train that she had not slept AT ALL the night before, crazy! It is definitely important to have a good night of sleep before going on a trip or you will be exhausted!), but me and my other friend chatted all the way long about how amazing it was going to be.

We took the Eurostar and I think it is a very good way to go to the UK, even more if you anticipated your trip. We bought our tickets almost three months in advance and only paid 84EUR (approximately 115USD or 73GBP) which was a really good price for a roundtrip ticket. There are some controls at the station so be sure to arrive early enough! It is not as heavy as in airport but still takes some time.

10:39AM, St Pancras International, London

Something like two hours and a half is the time it takes to go from Paris to London thanks to the Eurostar. Amazing, isn’t it? It does not seem that close on a map but it definitely is! There is one hour of time difference, so it was not even 11 when we arrived. Me and my friend had already planned the whole day and it was going to be very busy so we had not any time to lose. Unfortunately, my other friend who went to London last year was absolutely sure that we had to go upstairs to leave the station! It was not at all the case, obviously, as we indeed managed to find a way out (after quite a long time though) but on a back street completely unknown. In fact the best way would have been to actually follow the signs but she was so sure… never again! Anyway, we finally found the undergrounds and bought a travelcard for the week.

  • 7-days travelcard: I would definitely advice anyone going to London for more than 5 days to take it. We took a travelcard zone 1 and 2 and had unlimited access to all the public transports (buses, underground…) at any time of the day for only 30,4£ (plus a 5£ deposit refundable when you give back the card). Honestly it was really a good purchase because when it is raining or very cold, knowing you are not forced to walk and that you can always take a bus or the Tube is important. We surely made it profitable.

So! Now we have our cards so we can finally get to our Hostel! We had booked it a few months in advance as well (11/11 for a trip starting on 01/28) so it was not too expensive but be careful when you choose your accomodation as some of them can be… well, there are some bad surprises sometimes. It took us an extremely long time to find one that got everyone’s approval, as you can imagine, but did not have any problem so be sure to take your time before booking! We arrived really early as normally check-in was at 2PM but we were there around 11AM. The staff was very nice and we did all the paper-work right away so the only thing we had to do was to wait 2PM to get our room. We wanted to start visiting already and they had luggage storage so we let our suitcases (veeeery heavy, as you can imagine) and left.

Lunch Time, Regent’s Park

We had bought our picnic in Paris before leaving so the only thing we needed was a place where to have lunch. We thought Regent’s Park was a good idea, as it was nearby. We did not expected the rain to start exactly when we got there though, but hey! it is the UK after all! When we arrived in the park the very first thing we saw was an awful squirrel who literraly chased us. Yes, for real! It was very agressive and huge (I supsect that people feed them and so when they see someone they expect them to give something… anyway, scary!) so we had to run away. I think people thought we were crazy… So, if you are afraid of squirrels, be careful when going there!

As I said, it started to rain so it was not that fun, but I am sure Regent’s Park is a beautiful place so if you are luckier than us you should enjoy it better! As incredible as it might seem, English people do not look like they care about rain. We were the four of us completely cold and wet but they were still acting like nothing, doing a jogging or walking around…

National Gallery

First thing in the afternoon we went to the National Gallery. It is an amazing museum. Trafalgar Square is a awesomely beautiful place and we took plenty of photos there before actually getting in the Museum itself. As I wrote in my first post I am not really a fan of museum but one cannot avoid them eternally so I was happy to visit it anyway. Plenty of beautiful paintings in there, and it is free so it is worth paying it a visit!

DSCN3615Trafalgar Square & National Gallery

Buckingham Palace

Ok, it was raining. But we had 6-days to do as many things as possible so complaining was no option. So we walked from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham. It was not too long, for what I remember, and St James’ Park was beautiful. Buckingham as expected was stunning. I was very impressed by the place (maybe more because of WHO lived there rather than the arquitecture in itself as it is indeed beautiful but nothing close to Versailles), I wished I could visit it! Unfortunately it was closed (until April, I think)…

DSC_0037Buckingham Palace

Green Park, Piccadilly Avenue, Piccadilly Circus

After Buckingham we continued our little walk and crossed Green Park to go to Piccadilly Avenue. We passed by the Ritz and entered in Fortnum and Mason. That was a bad idea. This store is HUGE and there are so many, so many things inside! As if we needed that much temptation right away. I was honestly poor (only 130£ for the week, not counting accomodation or transports that I paid with my credit card. I did not wish to take more cash because it costs…) so I did not buy anything there. However, even if I said it was a bad idea, I would advice you to visit Fortnum and Mason, it is beautiful inside (I particularly loved the chinas on the first floor) and there were plenty of good ideas for gifts (some not too expensive, some reaaaally costing a lot). Then we went to Piccadilly Circus (a must-see for first time tourists, I guess), and it was… well, Piccadilly Circus. Not a big fan of huge adds. Too bad, because the buildings are beautiful…! Then our two friends (who had already slept in the train…) were too tired to go on, so we took the Tube and went back to the Hostel.

Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage

That is the name of the Hostel we stayed in. It had very positive reviews around the web so we thought it was rather safe to book this one. It was a nice place to stay in. Sometimes a bit weird (I mean, we had to pass by the toilets to take the last stairs to our room! It was a bit surprising at the beginning but we got used to it) but definitely beautiful. We were very happy with our choice.

We had chosen a 21-beds female only dorm so quite a lot of people where staying in the same room as us but unexpectedly it was rather silent and calm. We had beds with curtains so still a bit of privacy (not much though, as the curtains were unfortunately too short… but I added up my scarfs (I had taken 4 of them!) to cover it up. There were lockers under the beds (too small for my huge suitcase but big enough to let stuffs like a laptop or a camera) and only the people of our room could enter (thanks to electronic cards). I never took a cold shower so it was nice (that was probably the thing that worried me the most because I have very long hair and washing it with terribly cold water would have been a torture) but be careful not to use them on rush hours (at 8, it is fine, at 8:30 it is already crowded). I took mines around 6PM when we got back from a long day of visit and was always the only one at that hour, so it was perfect! Every morning we had a free breakfast with juices, various types or coffees or teas, croissants, toasts, jams, etc. It was a basic continental breakfast, just as we expected, but my friends enjoyed it very much (I don’t eat in the morning so I cannot tell if it was good myself, but apparently it was).

Also, there was a restaurant opened from 6PM to 10:30PM and we used it quite a lot. It was agreeable to come back to the hostel and know that we did not have to go out again to buy food or eat, as we were tired (and often frozen too). The food was good but a bit expensive I think, as we suspect it to be frozen food sometimes, so if you are braver than us, know that there was also a microwave (not really a kitchen but…). We wanted to use it until we understood that it was almost as expensive to buy microwavable food (I wonder where are supermarkets in this city? Nothing like Paris! Marks&Spencers is too expensive compared to French shops, honestly I was shocked by the prices there. The only thing that was ok was soup, around 2£. Anything over 4£ was too much for what it was, in France I would have bought the same for only 3€).

The free wifi and computer access was necessary and worked well in the lounge, however not at all in our room (normal, as we were on the 3rd floor…). We spent all our time in the lounge, but were too shy to speak with the other travellers… We regret it now but well, it is too late, right?

Well, it is quite a long post I just did! Please remember that the photos are mine, so don’t copy or use without asking me first!

                    Thank you very much for reading until the end,

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FIRST

Creating a new blog is always something you have to think about seriously. Like, what is the atmosphere I want? What will I say? Who might read it? Those are questions that need to be answered even before starting.

As for me, it had been a long time since I wanted to share my travel experiences and thousands of photos. When planning a trip I always check out blogs for tips and things to do when I’m away, so I thought it would be nice that I give it back for people who might need those informations too.

Just for you to know, I am French, I am in my early 20s and love taking photos. I am not so much of a museum-addict, so my posts might lack of information about it sometimes, for that I am sorry. However, plenty of places, cute animals and landscapes!

Don’t hesitate to comment, and ask me questions if you wish!

Thank you for reading me,

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