United Kingdom 2014: My Experience

About 2 weeks ago, I got back from my trip from England. It was amazing. I traveled with one of my best friends and we loved every minute. Our trip was about 9 days, including travel time. We left LAX during the night and arrived in Manchester the following night. We flew through Virgin Atlantic, which I highly recommend. They have pretty good accommodations and great services.

During our first leg of the trip, my friend and I stayed with my relatives in a cute town called Glossop. I also go to meet up with my cousin Jillian who had finished her study abroad program in London. She also has a blog, go check it out here 🙂 My Aunt’s house and town remind me of a good mix between Privet Drive and the town in Hot Fuzz. hahah, which is totally a compliment. During our time up north, I also stayed in Manchester for a night at my cousin’s flat. She took us around and showed us the night life of Manchester. We went to three pubs/clubs. One was a pub with live music…. hard rock music. It was pretty cool. The music reminded me of my teen/emo years… yes, I went through that stage. There was graffiti on the walls and some of the people there were pretty hardcore. The second place was called “The Slug and Lettuce”, which was a bit more up my alley. It was nice, calm place where you could sit and enjoy a few drinks… and well lit! Which is always a plus. And the third place was a club type of place. Mind you, me and my friend rarely go out to bars and clubs so at first I was a bit hesitant. Once I heard the music that was being played, I fell in love. They played all of the best of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. It was great! We danced the night away until the wee hours of the morning. I hadn’t had that much fun in so long. Also, during my time in Manchester, we check all the local sights including Manchester Cathedral, Printworks, and the main square in the city. I really liked Manchester because it felt like you were in a city with the beautiful architecture, but it wasn’t as busy as most cities. During our time up north, my cousin Jillian, my best friend, and I also checked out Liverpool for a day. It was more of an industrial city, but beautiful nonetheless. Also, it’s the birth place of The Beatles! We took the train from Manchester to Liverpool, it was super easy, and spent an easy day there. And before we knew it, our time up north was over.

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We took the train from Manchester to London, which was about a 2 hour train ride between the two cities. We stayed in the King’s Cross Station area, which was really convenient because of the tube, but of course there was a a tube strike which a little annoying. But it was done and over with by our second day. Our hotel was the Arriva Hotel, which was ok, it could have been better, the bathrooms were a bit dirty, but I was able to handle it. The staff were pretty nice and helpful as well. During our first 1/2 day, we went to check out we went to check out Trafalgar Square and the Charring Cross area as well. Later on at night, we went to a pub called “Shakespeare’s Head” which was in the same area as Charring Cross. I had to get use to ordering food at pubs, ordering at the bar, food and drink at the same time.  Our second day, we checked out the replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, Tower Bridge, and Tower of London. Shakespeare’s Globe Theater was OK, it didn’t really tickle our fancy, but both Tower Bridge and Tower of London were both so amazing. For some reason, my friend Stacey and I, both get a real kick out of things that are about torture or gore. haha. We got to go up to the top of Tower Bridge and see a nice panoramic view of the River Thames. And at the Tower of London, we got to see the Crown Jewels, which were AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL. We ended our day at Wagamama’s, which is their take on Japanese food, which was interesting… haha. It was good, just different.

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The next day, we headed to Buckingham Place. It was the only day that it rained on us, which was a miracle, because London known for it’s bad weather. I was kind of happy that it did rain though because it added to the London experience. After trying to look for Prince Harry and after realizing the chances of us seeing him were zero to none, we headed down St. James’s Park towards Westminster Abbey, London Eye, and Big Ben. It was amazing to see all of these sights all together, in one area. I wasn’t able to take pictures inside Westminster Abbey sadly, but something so awesome happened, we saw the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, inside the Abbey AND we exchanged bows with him! Also, my friend Stacey was behind him while he was putting a reef at the unknown soldiers tomb and she was in the background of some of the pictures! So cool.

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Back right, with the white scarf is my friend Stacey! haha.

After the Abbey, went to walk around the area, gawking at the London Eye and Big Ben. The architecture of the Parliament building is just beautiful to me, I couldn’t get enough of it.  After walking around for a while, we took a boat tour along The River Thames and ended up in Greenwich, which a quite part of London and super cute. Later on at night, we decided to check out Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

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The next day, we took the tube towards Kensington Palace. We wanted to check out where Princess Diana and Queen Victoria resided while they were still alive. The palace was so beautiful and so elegant. While we were out there we decided to have afternoon tea with the sights of the palace outside the window. After the palace, we decided to head over to Notting Hill and check out the area. I was trying to look for Hugh Grant, but no luck again. 🙂 The neighborhood was so cute and corky, which I wasn’t expecting. Also, it was nice because they had a market going on as well and it really felt like we were apart of the neighborhood.  Later on in the night, we decided to hunt down Platform 9 3/4 and I found it! I was too happy! haha.

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On our last day, we decided to check out Camden and what that town had to offer. It was a very hippy/corky part of London and it kind of reminds me of Haight Street in San Francisco. The area was full of shops and vendors everywhere. They also had canals through that part of London and looked like Amsterdam. During our last day, we decided to go back to the London Eye area and check out the London Dungeon, which explored London’s past with the Plague and how they tortured people. We decided to take an easy down out and appreciate the city. At night, we went back to the same area, to say a proper goodbye to the city.

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Traveling throughout England was a great experience with my best friend. It was the first time we had traveled like this together. I was really please as to what we saw and what we experienced. We will definitely be planning another trip together in the near future, but to where? We don’t know yet, but it’ll be amazing.

Thanks for reading. And to London, hats off to you, cheers 🙂

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