From underground to uptown
-60m to 200m

April 18th 2016

My second day in London involved eating the best sushi I’ve ever had, admiring London even more from a skyscraper and covering the final places I had on my list. You can read about my first day in London here.

A morning in Archway

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I was actually pretty anxious that morning, because I was expecting an important phone call but I was really lucky to have such an amazing, filling breakfast that got me going for the rest of the day… well before the big planned lunch which was where my whole day was planned around.

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Where are we?

I love planning things way ahead in advance and following the plan, strictly. My friends have described me as being a “real life Monica” before, so if you’ve watched Friends, you know what I’m talking about 😉

But I have to say, this trip has taught me that it’s sometimes nice to end up somewhere I didn’t plan or expect because with the uncertainty brought more wonder and excitement.

En route to Covent Gardens, we ended up in Chinatown. Although it was much smaller than expected, it felt awesome having a completely different environment in the middle of London – something I wish other cities had.

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“Watch this grown man stand on me with a bed of nails placed on my abdomen!”

That pretty much summed up Covent Gardens for me – incredibly entertaining and engaging street performers. I was screaming and gasping with the crowd in sync. Long story short: I watched quite a big-built guy stand on a smaller guy with a bed of nails placed on his abdomen for 10 seconds. Ah, Britain.

There were also some awesome characters around too – Elsa, is that you? Will people ever let you go?

It did start to rain when we were there so I didn’t get to explore the garden as I’d like to (and we had a lunch booking in an hour), but I will return to watch more horrific but weirdly engaging performers and whatnot!

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London’s Financial District

Travelling underground to our lunch destination, I was already hungry and ready to eat all I can for lunch! This was a specially booked lunch up at the skyscraper – Heron Tower. I hadn’t heard of this place at all but after following London bloggers (like my longtime friend Micah), I began to discover all these places and realised that London isn’t just made up of Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace.

Using the underground and avoiding the tour buses that I always went on with my family really opened my eyes to all the amazing places that are out there in London.

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Lunch on 39th floor of the Heron Tower

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The lift was insane. I have a slight fear of heights but I couldn’t stop looking down the glass walls as I swiftly moved up towards the sky; it’s the highest I’ve ever been in a building before.

Arriving a little earlier than expected, I went straight to the outside seating area to admire the stunning view of London.

The restaurant was expensive to the usual sushi places back at home, but I was paying for the view and the food – I felt that it was certainly worth it.

I wish I had taken a photo inside the restaurant with the food and view but it wasn’t allowed. Besides, I did feel a little timid taking any sort of photo in there as I was surrounded by important-looking people.

Overall rating of the whole place: 9/10 – By far the best sushi I have EVER tasted, I couldn’t stop embarrassingly raving about it during and after!

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Can I have a mango cocktail, just to stay here longer?

Because of how delicious the food was, we finished our food quite early. I didn’t want to leave London ever the restaurant or the building just yet so ordered a non-alcoholic mango cocktail (£17 though is ridiculous, the view made up for it though) from the bar and managed to snatch a seat right next to the window.

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And damn, that view. As you can probably tell, I am obsessed with views. Especially city views.

It took so much from me to say, “Oh we should probably get going.” If you’re feeling fancy, I recommend SushiSamba and just the Heron Tower (there are two other restaurants, I believe) for lunch or dinner. The view is astonishing!

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1.5 hours left

The final stops were Buckingham Palace and a gift shop to share the love of London to others back home!

Going through Green Park, we reached the other side of Buckingham Palace – a side I’ve not ever approached or seen before.

It was nice walking there from the park because I got the chance to walk through parts of London I’ve never stepped on. Sort of like a video game, you know,  when it tracks the places you’ve been.

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Could my hair just not move, please? xD

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à bientôt, London!

The ride home was a blue one – I already started missing the city that never sleeps (Ed Sheeran, anyone?)  This trip away from my hometown and family gave me a taste of what it’s like venturing out to big cities; following my trip to London I went to other major cities in England namely, Birmingham and Oxford – which I will blog about in a future post!

This officially means that *beep beep* Achievement Unlocked: I crossed off a goal on my New Years’ list! Exploring outside my city enabled me to learn a lot about myself and the world outside my city walls; I really enjoyed it.

Strangely, the thing I miss most about London is the underground; even though I did hate it first. Being -60m under riding a fast train then walking up to the surface to see what awaits was enthralling!

I will definitely be back soon and next time, I’ll be walking new London grounds I’ve not yet covered (and I get to go on the tube again, Yay!)

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26 comments

  1. It looks like you had so much fun! These photos are really great! They make me so nostalgic, haha. I used to live in the financial district!

  2. I am going to London in June, so a lot of what you have mentioned here will come in handy. 🙂 I have to say I have never had sushi so high up before, but I have been in Sydney tower which is about 50 levels up, I think? My office building is also on level 38 so probably similar to what you experienced, only I do every day! We don’t get a cool balcony though, just big windows. 😛

    I really like to have a plan and not waste time when I am travelling. I like to be pretty flexible, but not too flexible especially when I’m travelling. I don’t want to miss anything!

  3. Jamiesays

    First, I am so sorry, I haven’t been around here lately! Truth is, my Internet Provider was recently bought out by another company, and since then, my Internet keeps going in and out of service. I’m hoping by the end of the week, Tristan and me will have a reliable Internet service. In and out of service will not fly with us as we’re college students and need the Internet.

    Second, I did not get a chance to read as to why you traveled to London. Could you let me know if it was a trip in general or if it was a business trip? I’m so envious of you! London is one of the places I’d like to travel too one of these days!

    Honestly, I went on my first subway ride in down town Los Angeles. I also thought those were only in big cities like New York. I didn’t realize we had them in Los Angeles. It was so weird. I had a person on the subway stare at me and made it very uncomfortable the entire ride. By the way the person was dressed, I could tell he was homeless. Needless to say, I didn’t hold the staring thing against him. I just thought it was a bit weird.

    I love Sushi! It’s one of my favorite foods besides pizza. If I ever get a chance to travel to London, I will have to make sure to visit the Sushi Samba diner. It looks beautiful, I can only imagine what the inside looks like!

    I’m glad you guys had a wonderful trip to London! Glad you’re back safe and sound!

  4. It looks like you had so much fun! My favorite photo was the cocktail one, because I tend to do that as well, just order things so I can stay longer and with that view, I feel like I would never want to leave!

    I’ll follow you on instagram so I can see the small snippets of London. 😀

  5. I’m glad you were able to cross off more on your bucket list and learn more about yourself. The view is astounding! I love all of the pictures and you’re so gosh darn pretty that it makes me smile a lot. Still, it’s nice to do things outside our comfort zone and actually explore the world around us. I’m glad you undertook this, and if you ever come to Texas, at least in my area of Texas, then I’ll definitely treat you to some gosh damn awesome sushi from a sushi master (said master is the father of a good friend of mine <3)

  6. Nancysays

    Chinatown looks really cool over there! Meanwhile, the Chinatown we have in LA is really dirty ;(. London looks amazing and I am loving its buildings! It’s a plus that you got a chance to be on a high floor of a building and eat sushi! I hope you treated yourself to some high-end sushi~ Your time spent at London looks worthwhile!

    Speaking of glass everywhere (or at least from the pics), would you ever walk across a bridge that’s made of glass? 😉

  7. Kemisays

    Wow, looks like you had an absolutely amazing time! I’m definitely going to look into Heron Tower restaurants, planning to take my boyfriend out for his bday somewhere with a good view but have been stuck about where to look.

    I once interned in Covent Garden when I was quite a lot younger and every lunchtime I’d sit and watch the street performers with a sandwich or a McDonalds, I was so obsessed with them! Need to appreciate them more as these days I’m always in a hurry going past them haha.

  8. Tarasays

    OOOOOH! I had no idea London had a Chinatown, ahahahah! I’ve been living under a rock XD But it looks neat despite it being small.

    And Buckingham Palace!!!! It’s my dream one day to go there and see the Buckingham Palace Guards 😀 Dunno why, but they’re something I’ve been always fascinated with since I was a kid, LOL

    That Green Park looks so calming and lovely. I need a nice quiet park like that near me!

    Ahhhh, I really need to visit London. One day! Thanks for sharing your adventure, Pauline!

  9. Ambisays

    Mango cocktail…love it 🙂 Such a pretty pictures, you look lovely dear. Looks like you had so much fun 🙂 x
    http://www.ambiinwonderland.com

  10. Catsays

    Lovely photos in both this post and your previous one about London! I went a couple years ago and also went to Covent Gardens. I think I remember street performers there at the time too, haha. So many stores and restaurants there as well!

    I didn’t know about Heron Tower though. That sounds amazing to eat and drink with such a beautiful view. I think I was at the same park! We walked through one to get to Buckingham Palace.

    I’m glad you had a great trip! I miss the London underground too, though mainly because we have poor public transportation where I live. I hope you’ll be able to go back soon!

  11. Great photos Pauline! 🙂 London looks great and I wish I could have seen all those sights as well! Oh, and the view is fantastic. It must be so thrilling to dine in such a high place, with those stunning views of the city.

    Eeeep Buckingham Palace looks amazing! Looks like you had lots of fun exploring the city 🙂

  12. Lucysays

    It’s been SO long since I’ve been to London and your photos are really making me miss the place. I normally do the tourist thing but I do love wandering around the parks, and museusms, and seeing where I end up. The sushi place looks delicious but I’m kinda blalking at the prices!
    Glad you had a good time 🙂

  13. Beccasays

    I’ve loved all the photos you shared on Instagram and am a little jealous because I loved London when I visited. It looks like you were able to do so much! HAHA- I am cracking up that your friends call you Monica. I feel like that is how I am sometimes. 😉 I like to have a plan and to stick to it!

    Oh my goodness, that view is incredible! I would not want to leave either, though geez that drink was expensive enough. If I ever go to London again that is definitely someplace I would want to have lunch!

    I loved the underground too when I was there, so I don’t think it’s that weird. Also, I love that if your standing, you stay to one side and if you are walking you go to the other. Someone needs to implement that in the states because I’m always that person running late and get stuck behind someone on the escalator lol.

  14. Thaosays

    I absolutely love exploring new cities. I totally wished I had applied for summer internships outside of California during my college years. It’s the perfect time to enjoy different cities.

    Your photos are fantastic. It’s like I’m living out your trip myself. And I love how clean London looks. San Francisco is disgusting, especially on the BART (the underground transport system). I would advise washing your hands as soon as you’re off the streets…

  15. Kyasays

    So great to hear about more of the adventure and sounds like you had a really great time. Maybe you will be able to return again soon. 😀

  16. Jeansays

    Thanks for touring me to London through your blog post and photos XD. I wanna try that sushisamba because who else dont love food?haha Too bad, photos are not allowed 🙁 Is that Elsa in statue or just some person not moving? Chinatown looks good to me, We have Chinatown here in the Philippines but I haven’t gone to that place, it’s too faraway from my place lol.

    Im on the contrary, I have all the plans and most of the time, I can’t follow it haha but it’s a good thing you are a strict follower of your plan though I have to agree with you that unexpected events turns out to be the most awesome one. Will look forward to your future post!

  17. Amysays

    Covent Garden is so beautiful. I always love going there when I’m in London. I remember once this street performer did nothing but squeak at us, which was really strange. It’s definitely an unusual experience going there!

    £17 for a cocktail? What the hell? I think I paid £6 for vodka and coke in London once and I thought that was bad! That’s so crazy!

    Congrats on completing your goal! I think one of mine was to visit a different country, but I think I was being a bit ambitious there. Especially considering I’m supposed to be saving money as well this year!

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip!

  18. Sounds like a awesome trip! I’ve never been to London myself. Glad you had fun!

  19. Georgesays

    HAHAHA yes you get all kinds around Covent Garden. It’s pretty near where I study, actually. You probably walked past Wong Kei when you were at Chinatown – it’s the cheapest Chinese restaurant I think I’ve ever been to.

    I’m glad you had a great time! I’ve been living in London for almost a year and I still love finding new bits to explore, especially in central London.

    Hope you’re well.

  20. Jennisays

    I have a love-hate relationship with the underground too! It’s weird 🙂 Hope you blog again soon and you’re okay – you haven’t been writing for a while.

  21. Your attitude before the trip reminds me of my boyfriend Alex, he has to have everything on schedule otherwise he’ll freak! But I’m happy you’ve reached the side that kinda goes with the flow, sometimes it’s nice to be spontaneous!

    Maybe I’m behind on this, but you should start vlogging! You always seem to be travelling whenever I look at your Instagram feed 🙁 LOL that’ll be one day, I hope *crossed fingers* I’m glad you had fun though, it looks beautiful in London. I have yet to even leave North America – although I’ve been once to the Philippines, but that’s kind of a given, you know?? I’ll make it to the UK one day, and maybe then I’ll see ya! 😉

  22. Chynnasays

    Haha, I love that you’re a “real life Monica”. I have a friend like that, too. Makes things easier, though!

    London is the best place to get lost in! I love Chinatown – it is one of my favourite places in London. They have awesome boba shops there, too. Did you get to see the street performers in Trafalgar Square. There’s a DJ there, sometimes! Ker-razy!

    I have never been to the Heron Tower, but it is a place I would like to go! My friend has been to Sushi Samba, and she said it was an amazing experience. I guess Heron Tower is the same as the Shard. I won a voucher to eat at Hutong and it was super expensive! They charged £5 for water >.> The view looks amazing, anyway!

    The underground is super efficient, but super annoying. I avoid it at all costs, especially during rush hour. Rush hour is a horror. I’m glad you had an amazing time in my city~ Can’t wait till you come back to visit because we have to meet up!

  23. omg a real life Monica hahaha I haven’t watched many Friends yet despite my friend copying the whole season 1 for me…but I know enough that Monica is the mother hen of the group, or so I feel like.

    there’s also such restaurant in here, situated at the 57th floor of an office building. there’s an open view at the bar area. such a fancy place but we’re not allowed to take pictures with our dslr at the open bar area so it sucks 🙁
    anyway, seems like you had such a nice time! I really envy you for liking in the UK 🙁

  24. Jensays

    Cool pictures!! I wish I can go to London (right now)! Haha. Anyway, the Chinatown in London is very very (very very very) different from the Chinatown in Manila (from where I came from). Haha. The one in Manila is very stuffy and the one in London looks so clean and nice. 🙂

    <3 Jen

  25. Jeannesays

    Sounds like a fabulous time and you have stunning pictures to prove it!

    http://www.jeannechristinemarie.blogspot.com
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  26. Tiff Ksays

    LONDON <3 That I think is my fave next city. Trying to get my UK visa and hopefully it goes well and I receive it next week. I've been dreaming of London since forever!

    Man I have to find that sushi place! 😀