Friday, May 28, 2010

Visit Britain!

With favourable pound rates now, I packed my bag and off i flew to Britain. This was a very last minute trip that only took about 2 months to plan from scratch. Not an easy feat but a simple and memorable one.

As always with the squeezy economy class seats (I can't afford first class) I feel very uncomfortable and claustrophic all the time. Hence my loss in appetite on flights. With the constant nibbles of food and fruits here and there on Emirates (I must say they have good in flight service and reasonably good food), my hunger pangs striked every 2 hours on the plane. The first food I reached for when I touched down in London was cup noodles! Yes. Instant piping hot to satisfy my hunger.

We did some shopping in the afternoon and before I knew it, it was dark and night was soon approaching. Being new and unfamiliar in London, we prowled streets after streets in the cold rainy weather at 7pm in the evening for dinner. We settled for Garfunkels at Oxford Street - a British restaurant founded in London’s West End in 1979. They serve everything like Thai Green Curry to the Giant Enchilada, Fish & Chips and Cottage Pies. I finally had a nice filling decent meal of the day!

The next morning started with a hearty breakfast at Georgian House Hotel at St Georges Drive, London, a mere 8 min walk from London Victoria Station. Included in the accomodation package, we were welcomed with toasts, coffee/tea and cereals. Not too bad but can get quite boring after repeatedly consuming this. The weather was cold and dry, and too much toasts didn't help. If you want additional sumptious meal like eggs, bacon and mushroom, you have to top it up with 8 pounds.

Lunch at MacDonalds was alright, only a tad too expensive for me. Imagine a meal that costs 6 pounds (about SGD $12.6 where our average here is SGD $5 for a meal) A bit difficult to swallow... their range slightly differs from ours as they had quarter pounder and sandwiches. And now in Singapore we have quarter pounder! But MacDonald's fries is still the best!

A bit of walking, sightseeing and photo taking for the day like London Eye, Big Ben and so on. After Madame Tussauds, we had dinner at Chinatown, Leicester Square. It was okay. My plate of hor fun cost me about 8 pounds. I rounded up my evening with a polo bun from the bakery somewhere down the street. Sweet! :)

While in Covent Garden the following day, we searched around for a nice decent restaurant to have our lunch the next day. We landed ourselves at Pinti (if I dont rem the name wrongly), an Italian Restaurant there. I was almost frozen from the cold weather outside and I was so relieved when they served us to the basement of the place, which was much warmer and gentle to our body. I was delighted and contented with my Chicken pizza (Pollo). We asked the waitress if the pizza size available was big enough for 2 of us to share. She said yeah but if we are really hungry, one isnt sufficient cos it's thin crust pizza. And that's what I want. Only thin crust pizza. She might have thought we are big eaters and a thin crust pizza ain't enuff for us 2! See how tempting this pizza was! And the service was excellent and quick. Something I liked about this restaurant.

This 3rd day was our last day in London before we head to York and then Scotland. I badly wanted to try their Fish & Chips in England Hence we settled for The Shakespears near the London Victoria station. It was not bad, but they gave LOTSA green peas which I detest! I forced myself to eat them. But still had lots more left. Look at the heap of peas!! And I heard it's quite common in European countries that they serve peas so generously like that.

The next day, we headed to Cambridge University. To my surprise the campus is not only a campus! It has got its own shopping street like any other street in London! You can find brands like Crabtree & Evelyn, next, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Souvenir shops, Monsoon apparel stores, JD sports store, quaint little tea rooms, grocers, bakeries and more coffee joints! I got myself a hot pastry from one of the shop there and they come in different sizes - S M or giant :) Being so ignorant I ordered a M but it was too big for me. The traditional pasty was made up of potatoes, minced beef and onions. It's something like our 'curry puffs'.

Along the way up north, we had a quick lunch at the cafes. I had a 4.99 pound pasta with a 2.49 pound juice. I was too hungry so it tasted great! And several other quick stops we had to settle for cold sandwiches and a cup of coffee. Initially I was ok but after it got too often I was abit tired of sandwiches again. Being a typical Asian, I still yearn for my bowl of hot noodles, or a plate of chicken rice!

After venturing York, we settled for the night at Darlington. Dinner was provided by INSIGHT tours. Chicken or fish as the dinner option and I had a fruit salad. Not very fantastic but I can't complain..

On the way back from Scotland we had a nice leisure lunch near Lake District. The tea rooms and cafes were quaint, most of which are along the rivers. The place, or London at this time, boasts of many rich coloured flowers that makes your dining there (even a sandwich) very pleasant. I had a tuna with sweet corn sandwich and a bowl of tomato and basil soup. The weather was fantastic to dine alfresco, by the river with lots of beautiful flowers by the banks.

Along the way I managed to get a little muffin recipe book for only 1.99 pounds. What a steal!

Moving along on our 4th and last day of INSIGHT tour, it was again sandwich for lunch. How scary can that get? Nice enough I had a nice Chinese meal at night at Gold Mine (near Queensway tube station in London) Though abit pricey, I truly enjoyed my wanton soup and my Yangzhou fried rice!!! Delicious. Another good choice is Four Seasons, similar to Gold Mine. Words have it that chefs from Gold Mine are FROM Four Seasons.. you be the judge. And one of our Directors in my company who is Brit strongly recommended Four Seasons before I left. I googled for it and found it surprisingly near my apartment in London that I couldn't miss it. So after trying the 2 for the last 2 nights in London, I found Gold Mine to be better.

On my final day at London, it was a chopchop lunch and a last minute shopping at various places, which included Marks & Spencer. Their M&S store is way much bigger than ours here in Singapore. They have a dept store and a huge supermarket with stationery, apparel, fresh food, frozen food, bakery and many many more that you wouldn't know where to begin. Shopping in the supermarket alone drove me crazy. I crazily purchased some spices there and brought them home :)

I was even tempted to buy their frozen and fresh food back! As lunch was chopchop, I had a tuna panini with tomato soup. The chicken burger was abit dry, and the fries too cold. The tuna panini had very little tuna, and mostly were the bread yeast. Not an enjoyable meal. Total damage? 11.65 pounds. (about SGD $24)

Overall, I enjoyed my trip. I walked alot, and I managed to exercise and burn off my calories with many flights of stairs at the various tube stations and sightseeing! I think I lost weight during the trip....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....