It was finally the day when the serious stuff is all settled and I am left alone in London because it was not like my schedule can grant me more time or like anyone could match my weird 1-day schedule. Time to walk holes into my socks!
[London | England December 2016]
11 December 2016
The Breakfast Club, Columbia Road Flower Market
and an afternoon walk along River Thames
The past few days were cold but nothing chilly enough to let me need my coats yet but thank you for hearing my complains. Thank you for letting me wake up to a temperature below 5 and a forecast of a clear morning finally! Good morning, London! ❤
And I kicked start the day of walking from Old Street Station to… my dose of coffee and breakfast at The Breakfast Club, the Hoxton branch and since there was a long day ahead, it means that it is The Full Monty or nothing!
The stomach almost burst from trying to finish everything myself as I watched a little drama unfold at the outlet that morning between the staff and a homeless couple. Nothing even happened before the couple started making a fuss, by the way.
Fun Fact: It’s not difficult to capture a plane in your photos in London with Heathrow Airport labeled as the world’s second busiest airport for international passenger and Gatwick, the busiest single-runway airport!
It was almost Christmas and everyone was focused on Christmas trees and wreaths. But there were still a whole bunch of flower vendors and it was like I walked right into heaven or something. It felt rather surreal with all those flowers all around me, smiley fellow shoppers giving me a slight nod for a morning greeting and friendly vendors explaining about their flowers, seeds and prices if I looked on for more than five seconds.
I stopped many times to listen but they understood when I told them that I couldn’t pick up fresh cut flowers, although I would really love to, and even waved me good bye.
What a lovely ambiance at the flower market!
Anyways, look out for the Ezra Street Market on the next street. It is a small flea market with Gwilym Davies coffee cart hidden at a corner. I know I just had a coffee over breakfast but I cannot resist trying the coffee from the guy who won World Barista Championship in 2009 to sum up my morning together with a few brown bags of seeds and two bunches of dried cottons in hand.
I started off with my walkabout at The Monument to the Great Fire of London for the first stop after I dropped off the loots from the flower market. And as the name suggests, the Monument was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City.
It was really easy to get there via the tube from Old Street and since I read the history and stories behind this monument prior to my trip so my mind was fixed on scaling that 311 steps to the top of the monument to get a good vantage point for a beautiful view of the city and the Tower Bridge! Cutest thing ever is that you will receive a small certificate for climbing all those steps at the Monument for consolations.
I didn’t exactly had plans to see the Ruins but I took a detour after all since it is located between the Monument to either the Tower Bridge or London Bridge to take a walk around the public garden which is the remnants of the original church that had gone through a lot since it was built in about 1100. Yep, we are talking about the Great Fire of London in 1666 and also the Blitz in 1941 aside from common weather factors that has caused the church to be beyond repairs and rebuilding.
While the tower now houses the All Hallows House Foundation, the garden was nice and quiet and definitely a good spot for me to sit down and catch my breathe from climbing all those steps and walking from the Monument.
London Bridge wasn’t too far from St. Dunstan in the East but it took me a while to identify it because it was plain just like any other bridges. And I seriously cannot help it even though I knew it should not be mistaken with the Tower Bridge but, I was really looking out for a landmark more eye-catching so that I can use it to find my bearings… 😅
And walking down the sides of River Thames, I arrived at the promenade in front of the majestic Tower Bridge! I have very much wanted to take a closer look at the Tower Bridge but the snaking line was quite a turn-off so I shook off the idea and decided to continue the afternoon stroll along River Thames on that beautiful Sunday afternoon!
There were so many carts selling these Caramelized almonds and peanuts at £2 a cup but it was so difficult to resist the aroma and holding something piping hot in that weather and it kept me company, nomming and nomming, down the whole stretch! Haha!
Millennium Bridge or Wobbly Bridge, the nickname of this famous pedestrian steel suspension bridge because of the multiple appearances in many blockbusters, was earned when the bridge was first opened in June 2000 and pedestrians felt unexpected swaying motion. It was closed on the same day it was opened, and after two days of limited access following the opening day, it was officially closed for two years for restructuring and only reopened in 2002.
While the bridge is designed to frame and draw your attention to the beautiful view of St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance and some of you may remember the Millennium Bridge from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, don’t forget to look down and check out the tiny pieces of graffitis painted on the floor the next time you are there! 🙂
When I arrived at the front of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the masterpiece of Britain’s most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, it was crowded with devoted worshippers, curious tourists and a small band so I thought I’d slip inside.
A large area was being cordoned off during my visit but it didn’t bother me at all because I was in awe with the orchestra or choir and the tunes echoing within the Cathedral and stood rooted at the end of the nave.
Anyways, I have been asked many times about my religious believes because people see me in temples, churches/cathedrals or mosques and almost always falling quiet into a little prayer especially when I travel. For I believe God, regardless of religion, is accepting and will keep me safe if I asked genuinely. I am not a scaredy-cat, I just do extreme things sometimes you see… 😄
I found a schoolmate in London, or more like the schoolmate found me, and I still had a little bit of time before the meet-up so I squeezed in a quick trip to Spitalfields Market and regretted not planning more time to explore the market. I managed to cover most of the stalls super quickly but only managed to grab some candies, quirky stationery and some handmade greeting cards before I had to leave. Such a bummer… 😕
The schoolmate and I were supposed to meet at the BOXPARK Shoreditch but I must have buffered too much travelling time from Spitalfields Market that I had more than enough time to walk around the place on my own and figured that Braithwaite Street, a short stretch next to BOXPARK and Shoreditch High Street Station, is actually lined with lots of graffiti art on both sides.
And to be honest, BOXPARK was a wee bit underwhelming or my research failed me and didn’t inform me well enough prior to the trip but, I was really expecting a bigger place or bigger retail varieties. Maybe I will check out the other locations if I have more time when I visit London again!
Some of the best places to view the Christmas lights will be in Oxford or Regent Street as well as Carnaby Street!
Poppie’s Fish and Chips
Ending my day in London and the meet-up with the schoolmate with Fish and Chips from Poppie’s Fish And Chips because eating Fish and Chips was on my checklist for the city since the dish has got English origins. It wasn’t the best but we made do because it was one of the most convenient one to find!
More posts from London | England December 2016 travelogue series: