London, again

I haven’t updated in awhile because I’ve been busy since I got back to Malaysia. Between seeing family, starting work and recently falling sick, time has absolutely flown and I can’t believe it’s almost three weeks since I left Stockholm. I still have a few more Europe-situated posts to write and this is one of them.

There aren’t any direct flights from Stockholm to Kuala Lumpur so my last leg in Europe featured one final stint in the ginormous city of London. However due to a couple of connection issues, what was supposed to be a three hour pit stop turned into a five day affair. Incredibly blessed as I am, I had family friends who were in town and willing to not only put a roof over my head and take me to nice meals, but arrange lifts for me to/from airport and even spent an indulgent day shopping with me.

I got to catch up with Mark from Sydney over the next couple of days as he coincidentally happened to be in this part of the world as well. We had a delicious Duck & Waffle lunch with Rachel and Mezz.

P1010817-5I had first heard of Duck & Waffle last year when Chiaw Yin put together a list of awesome eats around London. It’s pretty famous for its namesake signature dish and for castle-in-the-cloud like views. I can verify that neither of these did disappoint.P1010814-2P1010816-4Stole bits of Mark’s Duck & Waffle in exchange for what I ordered. No one at the table could believe that I didn’t choose the duck but when something is named as awesomely as foie gras creme brulee topped with lobster, I really had no choice.

P1010815-3 It was really fun catching up with people from my ex-workplace. It was also kind of surreal to be 43 storeys above London a year later and over 15 thousand miles away from Sydney, having a nice lunch with the ladies who interviewed me for my first PR job.

HillaryandIMark and I meandered around for the rest of the day having good conversation while he also became a constant reminder as to why I don’t shop with guys. That night I saw Hillary again and the three of us made an unnecessarily pain-staking trip to Canary Wharf for generic Slug and Lettuce. But the view was pretty okay.

P1010826-1Second day with Mark, we went to Warner Bros. Studios, a place I have been erroneously referring to as Harry Potter World ever since high school when I was stalking it on Tumblr.P1010833-2P1010844-5 P1010836-3Elaine and I used to do a lot of these house sorting quizzes back when we had nothing to do in the boarding house. But I’d call the Pottermore one the ‘official legitimate’ quiz, which is the one that sorted me into Slytherin.P1010838-4P1010850-6 P1010852-7A lot of the sets fit just inside one or two of these studio warehouses. It’s strange to think that a bunch of good camera angles are all that hide viewers from seeing that the Ministry of Magic is next to the Chamber of Secrets is next to the Leaky Cauldron and so forth. Dumbledore’s office as pictured is still quite impressive though.P1010853-8‘Magic is might’P1010856-9 P1010857-10When walking in between two sets there is an outdoor area. I was pretty disappointed that they didn’t have more gimmicky Harry Potter food. But if you ever stumble across Butterbeer (non-alcoholic) either here or at the Harry Potter place in America I say it’s a must try. That foam is like a cloud of butterscotchy heaven.P1010859-11 P1010860-1 P1010862-1I really liked Diagon Alley. As you can see it really is tiny so again camera angles, but even though so little of it is really shown in the movies the attention to detail here is absolutely insane.  P1010864-13 P1010865-14 P1010875-1Model of Hogwarts before the end of the tour. I had a lot of fun here but I think it would be better appreciated by someone who was a bigger fan of the films and the whole Harry Potter franchise.

Early dinner at Burger & Lobster because I am Asian and can never pass up a good seafood meal. P1010892-2Mark relented and got the lobster roll, which although everyone says is the best thing on this three item menu, I have never been ballsy enough to order simply because I can’t not have a whole lobster!

P1010888-1I got it baked last time so this time round I got it steamed. It’s a lot more succulent though there’s more flavour to having it baked.

London was great as always, getting to spend time with people and I’ve always been lucky with the weather. During my first trip here three months ago, I was probably slightly resentful that I didn’t get into exchange in London because of all these friends I already had who were either based in London or in a city close by. But this second time round, as happy as I was, I was still filled with so much love for my exchange and everything in it, and I was instead so thankful that I didn’t go to London. This feeling became particularly clear on the day I had managed to create a huge kerfluffle for myself by catching the wrong tube, ending up on a trackwork line and in the end having to fork out 18 pounds for a cab home anyway. Stockholm T-bana, London’s tube has got nothing on you baby. Nothing on you, baby.

samanthawxlow

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