Saturday, March 6, 2010

National Gallery @ Trafalgar Square

See this place. Many recommend it. Preferably on a day when you haven't just already taken 4 floor Tate Modern material. The two are not to be digested in one 24 hr period and I am saying from experience.

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Shakespeare's Globe

Right next to Tate Modern, you'll see Shakespeare's Globe. It's a theater house in which you'll find plenty of material about the famous English playwright, including performances of his plays as well as education sessions for those who are that much into Shakespeare. You can also tour shortly, and see what exhibitions they have, if Tate has not filled up your daily dosage of culture and art.

Friday, March 5, 2010

From Tate Modern

I might have been one of London's most unorthodox visitors by means of engaging in the city's touristic attractions. All touristic material I ended up having was the one picture with Big Ben and London Eye in far background - which is at least as blurry as the rainy London whether at night. (Even more, it seems like I've been photo-montaged there, and the sucking photo quality doesn't help a bit)

Then again, one thing is not to be missed: Tate Modern. Taking pictures inside is forbidden, so in all my respect for and appreciation of modern art, I will refrain from revealing my secret stash.

Must be seen for yourself.

On the way to Tate; the Millenium Bridge
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thames and beyond

If you spend 5 days in London and 4th is the first day you get to see Thames, Big Ben, London Eye and the Tower Bridge; you aren't exactly the best tourist in town. So don't get yourself nominated for the worst; and manage to get your butt there. The night view is even better.

Still, from personal opinion, I would suggest that the following are a bit on the redundant side if you are tight on time:
  - touring the Houses of Parliament
  - visiting the Buckingham Palace
  - riding on the London Eye
  - climbing the Tower of London

As long as you insert enough distance, you can put pretty much all of them in one pic, anyway :)

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The Tube

If London is to have one and only one symbol, it's gotta be the tube. It's probably one of the most democratic city transport vehicles you can see. It could also be one of the most democratic spaces worldwide too. High street fashion idols and victims, traveling shoulder to shoulder and minding the gap.

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Shops @ King's Cross

The worst (or best, point-of-view-wise) part of discovering London is having to complete most of your shopping AND cultural activity before the clocks hit 5 pm. For that matter, a second visit was paid to King's Road the following day to browse the shops upstairs. Below is a representative pic. If you want all sorts of (not-crappy, fair material) graphic tee's crammed together in a 80 m2 space, this is the place to be.

Belgo @ Covent Garden

It's tough to pick Belgo as a lunchbreak spot unless recommended by someone else - and someone with a bit peculiar sense of taste, to be more precise. Belgo Centraal, situated right int the center of Covent Garden can be the place to catch back your breath after emptying your pockets at the neighboring Urban Outfitters. Besides your breath, my suggestion would be to try catch the mussels in pot which the Belgian restaurant is famous for. But keep in mind that if you are near starvation, mussels won't exactly be enough, although you do get served a bowl of home-fried-looking potato chips as side dish. And if that's still not enough to curb your appetite, you can always wrap it up with the finger-licking waffles, cheesecakes and ice cream made with that goregous Belgian chocolate. God, I am literally drooling in here! (Plus! Like many other nice restaurants in town, Belgo also has good deals at lunch hours.)

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Pay a visit to Selfridges. No, it's no big deal, and unless you are ready to spend all your vacation budget on a single shoe in the women's department, you'll get tired of browsing around before you know it. Trust me, you are a big performer if you end up sorting the place even half-way through... Quarter way. Make sure you drop by the confectionary and bakery section though. It's a sweet-tooth paradise. Just savor every single moment of the ride, eventhough all you wind up doing is take pictures.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Regent Street

Regent Street is pretty much about this. Magnificence.

The Lazy Oaf

The sweetest of all street shops I've been in London. And trust me, I've been in plenty. Here.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Kingly Court

Take the first or second left from Carnaby and you'll have Kingly Court. Although there are street signs along the road, you'll probably end up missing it unless you are deliberately looking for it. (I was pursuing The Lazy Oaf in here which is how I made sure I got here). The passage bewildered us with its sweet atmosphere. Tens of interesting stores; mainly vintage boutiques and useless but sweet for browsing stuff all over the place.

The Lomography store @ Carnaby

It's all about that lomo lens!

Carnaby Street

Another popular shopping district, Covent Garden's sister (to me) just a little further up. Planning a London trip, and you've probably heard it mentioned a dozen times anyway.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Covent Garden Piazza

The piazza holds many stand alone stores, bazaar stands, nice cafes and italian restaurants. In the afternoons, street artists carry out live performances where there's usually a large crowd engaged.

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Night view from Covent Garden
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Lyle & Scott

Unfortunate thing they only design for men!!! (Edit: They also carry women's items but I couldn't manage to find them somehow) Find them at their Covent Garden flagship or at Urban Outfitters. 

Pret A Manger

Pret A Manger. The tens and hundreds of Prets in London. They sure were one of the best parts about being there. Every single time we indulged in the famous, always fresh, always yummy, always hard-to-pick-which triangle sandwich (meaning, each morning, afternoon and times in between) we prayed for the day big boss Julian Metcalfe decided to stretch his arms abroad and bring his lovely store chain to Turkey was near. This is an open request. We are serious. If you don't wanna do it, let us provide this sacred service for our people. I am not ready to give up you guys' skinny cappuccino just yet, please.

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Lamb & Flag

Regardless of how many urban city guides, travel maps, tourist books, shopping lists you gather before visiting a city like London; most of what you end up doing is a result of your own walkabout on foot. Then again, every once in a while sources like Time Out do help out. Without it, we probably would've never found Lamb & Flag in its miraculously well hidden little spot at Covent Garden. It's a very old, cozy historic English pub where the moment you step in, being there immediately feels like a ritualistic experience (although it's most probably your first time there). Inside you'll become the part of one of the most hybrid crowds you can eve encounter in a pub scene; with 70 year old grandma's clapping hands after a live performance along with 17 year olds at the back drinking tequila and eating potato chips. Yes, there's an orchestra.

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London Shows

I am not saying 'Go see Hairspray' specifically. But it's good if you spare the bucks to see at least one infamous show now that you've come all the way to London. 'We will rock you' would be a safe start; and alternatives like 'Mama Mia' and 'Dirty Dancing' are also available for those of you with stomachs to stand them. Leicester Square is the place to pick up discounted tickets at tkts booths. Expect a queue, though. People actually do care for art.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Entertainment Exchange @ Camden

This place is a piece from heaven if you want to build yourself a rich DVD collection... then again, who doesn't??? As shopaholic geeks in soul, we stormed into this yet-another-DVD-store-looking place without bothering what the sign actually read, so it took us some time to figure out that the store was PACKED with second hand stuff (from PS2 games to external hard drives) selling at amazing prices. That is, it took some scrutinizing to figure out they were actually second hand, as they sure looked no vintage and/or trash. The House M.D. Collection Season 1-5 going for £60 will keep haunting me in my dreams for some time, that's certain.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A little Italy in London

Ok. If you are not exactly a red meat lover and have hard time smelling pork stuff, let alone tasting it, London can be a tough city to fill your tummy up. Thank God London has its own Italian town just like any other city, and cute little (these are little for good) Italian restaurants with some real delicious mediterranean flavors. Visit the Old Compton Street at Soho to indulge in yummy caprese and lasagna whenever you get fed up with fish&chips and sausages with mash. Our favorite is La Porchetta. Beware though. My advice: think twice before you decide to grab your after meal drinks at the pubs right across the street. At least if you claim to stay 'straight' I mean.

They don't look so, but both were yummy. They also called my dish soup, which made me laugh.LONDON - 053