After Nottingham, I got on a bus to London to visit a friend I made a couple of weeks ago in Amsterdam. When I arrived, I still had some time to kill before she would meet me at the station, so I decided to walk around a bit by myself. Since I hadn’t actually had lunch, nor breakfast, yet, I decided to go to Cafe Nero and grab a coffee and a muffin. I sat inside, just chilling for a bit, because I clearly hadn’t done that yet on my 3,5 hour bus ride from Nottingham to London. I then went back to Victoria station to meet up with my friend and host for the night: Mel.
Strolling through London
She showed me around the city, I already know the city, but since it’s so massive you learn something new every time. It was wonderful and I enjoyed the great weather whilst walking past some of the city’s main sights. We basically covered all the tourist attractions and that whilst carrying my massive backpack, yes I am proud of that. She then took me to an underground wine bar named Gordon’s Wine Bar. It was absolutely fantastic, see proof on my instagram. We basically sat in some underground caves, sipping on some ice cold rose (it was really warm outside) and just catching up. For the ones of you who know me well; I drank rose! Are you proud of me? I didn’t even dislike it either (although I wouldn’t say I liked it very much).
We then continued our journey towards Waterloo station, where we caught a train to her palace. Her house was beautiful and the neighbourhood was so quiet. It didn’t feel like London at all. It still amazes me how you can live in such a big city, while still being able to escape from its busyness. It’s a bit like where I live in Amsterdam, not too far from the city center, but definitely not in the crowded and busy part. Anyways, it was so nice staying in a clean place again after all the places I’ve seen this summer (no offense, I am still super grateful for what I got!). She even cooked me dinner (twice!). I felt recharged when I left their place and I was ready for the rest of my adventure. However, let me tell you about before I left 🙂
Kingston Upon Thames
On the second day, I went to Kingston, what a gorgeous place! This lovely neighbourhood in Greater London, was only a short bus ride away from where I was staying and thus a very convenient place to visit. After getting off the bus, I wandered around for a bit. Of course I had no clue of where to go, as I had never been here before. I also wasn’t too sure of what I could do here, so I decided to first simply orient myself a little bit. After walking around for a bit, I found a cute looking church.
Art & Culture
This church turned out to be “Your Kingston Museum”, so I spent some time in there. I discovered that this museum, although small, has a pretty extended collection on display.
I also soon realised how child friendly this museum is. They have a little quest for the kids, throughout the museum, having them answer questions about the different objects. The staff seemed super friendly as well and although navigating through the narrow halls with a stroller may not be easiest, it sure is family friendly. They even have a lift for people to visit the top floor with a wheelchair/stroller, where they have different exhibitions throughout the year. When I visited, the upstairs art gallery, as shown above, was hosting a temporary exhibition called “Through their eyes” Depicting Korea and UK Then and Now, which was pretty interesting to see. Furthermore, there is a little photography section of Eadweard Muybridge in a hall downstairs with super old cameras, which is pretty cool.
Old London Road
After the museum, I continued my stroll through the city and found a whole row of fallen over telephone boxes. I had read about this on TripAdvisor, and this happens to be an art installation of some kind, designed by David Mach. The whole spectacle is, as I found out, a beloved selfie place for tourists and is known as “Out of Order”. A bit ironic if you think of it. Phones that are out of order that for some reason encourages people to take photos with/of it… with their phones. But that’s none of my business.
Other highlights of Kingston
I spotted another cute looking church, so I decided to go in and have a look. It was pretty busy though and since there was a cafe where people were having drinks, I felt like I was being watched walking around. I therefore didn’t feel like spending a whole lot of time in there. Either way, I did manage to grab a folder with a map of Kingston Upon Thames, which made the rest of my day much easier. I feel like I have seen pretty much all things that Kingston is known for. Even the coronation stone. Yup, that’s a thing.
All of that wandering around had made me hungry, so I popped over to the city center to get some lunch. While on my way to McDonald’s (I am on a budget okay, don’t judge me) I spotted a HEMA. Bloody hell, I can still recall my excitement when I saw that familiar logo on the shop. I went inside and checked the assortment, it was pretty much the same as at home. I soon spotted the stroopwafels, so I decided to head back out to get some cash and then to go back in to buy some Dutch delights. For the ones, and probably the majority of you, who have never heard of a HEMA: it’s a Dutch warehouse that sells everything from school articles, to candy and from bike pumps to make-up. I love, love, love this shop, so seeing it overseas made me so happy and excited. Needless to say, I stocked up on Stroopwafels (round waffles with caramel in the middle). It didn’t get too crazy though, I just bought some Dutch treats for my hosts and headed back out.
Then it was time for the McDonald’s. People calm down, I can feel you judging me over here! I got a chicken burger or something cheap I don’t know and a diet coke (gotta stay healthy). It was pretty chill. I sat inside, eating by myself whilst staring out of the window, watching the world go by. Overall, I don’t mind eating by myself when I am seated like that, but if I were to go to a full on restaurant by myself and share a table with no one else but me, I would still feel a bit uncomfortable. Either way, I finished my burger in no time, checked my phone (free WiFi) and went back out again. As desert, I ate one of my beloved Stroopwafels and started walking again.
My next and final stop of the day, were the Canbury Gardens. I had read about these gardens on my good friend TripAdvisor and decided to go and have a look. Honestly, I found it a bit disappointing. When you say ‘garden’, I expect there to be plants and flowers. Not necessarily to the extend of a botanical garden, but it has to be more than just trees. This place was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but to me it was just a park. I spent quite some time here on a bench, eating more Stroopwafels and reading my book. There were many benches placed overlooking the water, so it was lovely. It started to get a bit more chilly after a bit, so I decided to get on a bus back to my host’s house.
A train ride to London
The next morning was crazy. It started raining and it just wouldn’t stop. I know England is known for having crappy weather, but overall it has been super nice each time I was over (even when I lived there). So I stared out of the window and crossed my fingers, hoping that it would at least be somewhat dry when I had to leave. It was time to slowly start gathering my belongings and packing my bag, while peeking out of the window every now and then to check. Sadly, it didn’t stop raining, so I packed up, got an umbrella and headed for the train station. I actually quite enjoyed the rain, although my shoes were soaked before I event left the street. I think it is funny to see the world in a different light and to see how rain changes things sometimes. There was a bridge that I had to go under and the water on the street there was so high, it was like the cars were sailing through the street.
Just like in the Netherlands, public transportation screws up when the weather gets bad. My train was delayed by 20 minutes, meaning I would miss my transfer at Clapham Junction. On the bright-side though, the ticket machine was broken and gave me back more change than it should have. Overall, my day could definitely be worse. I caught the train that came after the one I was meant to be on, without any trouble and arrived at my destination about an hour later. Curious about where I went? Keep an eye on my blog and Instagram and you will find out on Wednesday!