England: London, Part 1

There are several ways to get to London from The Netherlands. You can drive, bus, train, ferry or fly. Narrowing down the to the more viable options, by the time you get to the airport, go through check-in and then make your way into London on the other side (unless you’re flying into Heathrow, which none of the cheap flights do) you may as well take the train. Which is what I did. I booked the ticket a few days before and it cost 80 Euros.

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The fast train  to London. You switch trains to this one in Brussels, where they do a border check as well before cruising through France and under the channel right to St Pancras, which is next to King’s Cross.

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Good to catch up with this lad!

I got myself an Oyster card and paid for a week’s worth of Zone 1 and 2 unlimited travel with the public transport, which is the way to go if you’re here for more than a couple of days. We spent the next day cruising around Camden Town and the markets, which is busy as hell and has a lot to offer, including this huge store which has every piece of it you could want to dress yourself up for a rave with. No photos allowed inside unfortunately. Imagine a cross between a rave in ’95 and a laser laboratory.

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I took a walk past KoKo, the venue I’d be heading back to in a couple of nights for Frantic, a gig which I’ve been looking forward to attending for years. Hard House was born in the UK and is still going strong, which makes it my sort of place..

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(Photo above and below by Robert Stainworth).

It was a bloody good night!

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I’ve been looking forward to coming here for a long time. Not only to catch up with friends and head along to a gig or two, but because I’ve always heard so much about London and wanted to see for myself. Movies, books, news, music, and not to mention a big part of NZ’s history has to do with England and this city and I’ve heard countless stories about all sorts of places from people who have grown up or visited here.

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I spent a bit of time walking around East London and the Brick Lane area. Loads of cool street art, pop up stalls, record shops, coffee joints.. enough to keep you busy, well, me busy for a while.

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Everyone I spoke to around here was super friendly, too. Actually, most people I met or spoke to in London were very friendly. I don’t think it’s just because they’re speaking my language, either.

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Had a curry on Brick Lane on Shan’s recommendation. You aren’t short of options for curry restaurants here.

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Obligatory photo of a red phone box!

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Now, this is no random optician! Nope, this is The Leaky Cauldron, bitches! I spent a fair bit of time visiting parts of London where certain scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Above is the shop door used for The Leaky Cauldron in the first movie, and below is the markets where that door is situated, which was also used as inspiration and filming for Diagon Alley.

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Above is the Australian Embassy, which would be pretty boring except for the fact it was used as the filming location for Gringott’s Bank. I couldn’t get inside.

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I recommend trying this coffee shop out if you’re here. It’s called Lundenwic. I was put on to it by my friend Luke, who I met in Mongolia.

I’m going to cut this post off here as it will get too long. I spent quite a few days here so will recount everything else in Part 2. I will end this post on a high note, however, and show you a picture of a glorious pie that I found in Covent Garden, at a place called Battersea Pies. It cost an arm and a leg, but was worth every penny. It was so good to wrap my mouth around juicy meat again.

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Thanks for reading! Part 2 won’t be far away.

Tips:

  • Get  an Oyster card for Zone 1 and 2 if you’re staying for a week and plan on taking at least 2-3 public transport trips a day. It saves money and time.
  • Drinking is technically illegal but nobody really cares too much as long as you’re not causing a scene.
  • This city IS super expensive. I was fortunate enough to stay with friends which kept the cost down but accommodation anywhere near the centre can be a minimum of 50 pounds for a bed in a dorm room.
  • The City Mapper app is infinitely handy for helping you to use the tube, overground, train and bus lines to get around.
  • Don’t call football soccer.

 

 

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