A Travellerspoint blog

Day 4 - 5

London

10 °C
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Wake up for my 8:30 flight at 5am oh how I wish I was still sleeping

Had packed the night before so it wasn't too bad. We get to the airport in no time... we check in then head for security... and I of course forget to remove my nail from my hand luggage so it gets consficated again. Sigh luckily I packed a spare one...

The one thing I had not eaten since getting it i hk is any junk food chain... thank God McDonald in HK sells fillet fish burger for breakfast :-) it made me very happy... Danny the sick one had sausage and macaroni in soup with cheese seriously I looked at it and went wtf! Forgot to take a photo sorry....

Air New Zealand flight to London was pretty good... seats a tad more comfortable than Qantas and the food much better and simpler.... for breakfast there was a choice of omelette with chicken sausages or stir fried noddles with dumplings.... it was airplane quality food but it was bearable. Slept through half the flight and spent the other half watched in time which was OK and then watch twilight it was a much better experience than watching the first twilight but still felt wrong.... 2 hours before landing they served lunch, we had a choice if chicken and mash or stir fried pork/mushrooms with rice. The chicken choice was really good...

Next thing we know were waiting in line for UK border security for an hour since they only had 2 lines for other passport holders there was 4 lines working but at any one time 2 were held up being suspicious looking people. We finally are outside the departure gates and need to find out a way to the hotel. My tip is do this way before hand. Don't ask the hotel desk there as his two suggestions were pretty bad either catch a £90 taxi or use express train and pay £34 return to paddington then cab it. Turns out it was cheapest and easies for us to catch the normal underground train to Gloucester Road station. We had prepurchased a travel card valid for 7 days with the London Travel pass and this was really helpful. Now the London travel pass is really good if you want to do your own thing... warning is that you need to do a lot within 6 days for it to be valuable... for us probably spent the minimal value to make it worthwhile.. for more questions just ask me when I'm back....

Back to the trip. In London we are staying at the Eden Plaza Hotel in Kensington its less than 5 minute walk from Gloucester Road station and its along a road with lots of other hotels.the hotel room is OK. But the room is very very small you have a double bed and less than that of walking space. Highlights: nice tea bags, clean and generally what you would expect for a 3 star hotel. Lowlights: small room and no fridge (this has meant can't buy food and keep it for very long.... though cheese on the window sill with windiw opened slightly has done the trick for short periods of time).

As soon as we got into the room we crashed and slept..Danny woke up later and tried waking me too but jetlag and time difference had hit me and I wasnt going to wake. So Danny went out by himself and did a bit of exploring... during this time he did find a burger joint similar to Grilled in Sydney and bought two burgers one for himself and one for me... he did his best to wake me up but I had sucuumbed to jet lag and like sleeping beauty wasnt going to wake up....

The next morning because I'd had so much sleep I was up pretty early. Not eating for over 12 hours had me starving we walked along Old Brompton Road and came across a few cafes the first one didn't serve anything hot so we moved on to the next eventually ending up at La Brioche. They do awesome ciabattas, paninis and foccacias! I had a chicken escalop with cheese and sweet chilli sauce that was toasted and it really hit the spot this was accompanied by a huge cuppacino. Danny had a freshky cooked bacon and egg muffin with a very bitter mocha which he spent the rest of the day raving about.

we then headed to the national gallery. The paintings are so amazing. Some had the most vivad blue paint used and the paintinfs did not look after 200 years old. I really enjoyed the newer paintings as they were more portrait type paintings. The much older paintings were more religion inspired.

For lunch we wandered around the gallery between some pubs we found a random sandwich shop, food was OK but the service pretty bad, the waitress gave Danny two forks instead of a fork and knife. I had a salt beef (silver side like) which had dills and mustard mixed in on a baguette. The meat was pretty salty but its not something you'd likely find in Sydney. Danny had a bacon and Brie panini, which went pretty well with my salty sandwich.

We then made our way to west minister so we could visit the jewel house (which ended up being closed). We saw the west minister abbey first so we went there. The abbey looks much bigger on the outside but it was still a long walk around. As part of our London travel pass we got free entry plus free audio guide, which I would highly recommend it was very interesting to learn so much about the abbey's history.

We went back to the hotel for a short time and snacked ob the burger I had missed out on (the temp here is pretty cool and so the Burger was still OK to eat
, in Sydney this probably would not have been the case). We changed into some nicer clothes and walked to the Royal Albert Hall to watch the orchestra. Earlier I had signed up to be a friend on the rpo (royal philamonic orchestra) this gave us two free tickets to a concert which made it cheaper than paying for two tickets. Thanks to Jo from the rpo we had two really awesome seats in a private box with an awesome view if the orchestra and the choir. If they are playing whikst you are visiting definately recommend going to a concert. Since I have a membership I can purchase ticks for 50% off for the next year if you need tickets let me know. I was so not used to walking around the whole day towards the end of the concert I was drifting in and out if consciousness.

During Danny's earlier exploration he found a restaurant he wanted to try as they had a pie menu but didn't offer take away. The place is called Bumpkins.... it kinda reminded me of Orto Trading in Surrey Hills. They had run out of a few things by that time as it was pretty late. We ended up only ordering mains for the same reason. We had the Sheppard's pie and roasted venison. Both were good, though the venison was much better. The pie was made well but it had nothing special about it. It was served with potatoes, carrots and cooked cabbage on the side. The venison which was served on brocollini, carrots and dressed with a juniper gravy was executed well. The gravy really tied the whole dish together. The meal over all cost about £80 which wasn't expensive for a decent meal.

Posted by cass_yip 13:13 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london bumpkin Comments (0)

Day 1 - 3

Hong Kong

rain 12 °C
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Im already missing home but foodwise its awesome here.... got breakfast for less than $20 for two of us.... no way can i get something like that in sydney....

Last few days has been interesting been to cities that i hadn't visited the last time i was here 4 years ago...

Landed here at 4:30 hkt after thankfully a not so long and uneventful airplane trip.... danny as promised was there to pick me up still reeking of alcohol and dressed in a suit from his cousins wedding (that was a few hours ealier)… first stop hotel to drop off my suitcase... surpringly its pretty nice at the royal plaza hk...

After a short nap we headed a couple of blocks away to visit his grandpa and headed off to a busy yum cha place... ahhh hk yum cha how efficient you are... no steaming trolleys to get run over by....place wasnt too bad but not special enough for me to remember its name...

What did we do next after a short break back at his grandpa's?? We went yum cha again this time it wassss really good... its a sister store to the one of few cheap michelin star restaurants in the world... its called Tim Ho Wan (in mongkok)... the menu lacks variety but they sure do deliver on quality... luckily we went early as we were leaving the line had exploded...

After this we went for a walk in mongkok visting the markets and ladies street (aka tung choi street)... nothing too exciting.... except for stinky tofu how ive missed thee...and also the other million types of snacks available from street vendors who most probably would not pass Aus OH&S standards...

Dinner with most of Danny's relatives came next a pretty different home cooked meal.

His cousins suggested we should go out for drinks, we went back to the hotel to change and had a couple of drinks down at the hotel lobby bar. We then caught a taxi to tsim sha tsui (aka tst), first hitting up Wildfire an italian pizza shop and bar.... we ordered 2 huge and i mean like they were 1 litre each mojitos...and also some nachos that came with 3 different coloured corn chips and strangely olives... by this stage ill admit i was slightly tipsy...

next we hit up ANL (no i dont know what that stands for... *edit* supposedly that stands for all night long) they had some live music playing and the band was covering some katy perry. We each got a drink and had a jelly shot of some sort... by this time alcohol was coursing through my veins and i actually attempted to groove to the beat a little... after this things were a little bit of a blur and the next thing i know is i wake up in the hotel room... and a half eaten kebab...

Struggling to get up the next morning we made our way to a random congee shop *drool* it was good... this was accompanied by chines donuts, chinese donut covered in rice noodle and also ox tongue bread (no its not made of ox tongue... its just like a sweet bread in the shape of an ox tongue that is also 9 fried....as common to us eating we had ordered way tooooo much food... thank god for plastic bags and being able to take food home....

Danny then took me to tsim sha tsui again this time so we could hit up the shopping chain Sogo... i had originally thought this was the department store i bought a bag and wallet from but alas i was incorrect... then the more we walked on i didnt feel too good... Danny has dubbed it DOH (delayed onset hangover)....we sat down for a bit but i made the decision to push on and ignore my symptons... and we took the train to hung hom... danny had a surprise for me their another shopping chain finally the right one but the whole complex was in the shape of a tourist ship it was different!

We had lunch at some really weird honky coffee shop chain... food mass produced and no character of its own... called fairwood (like the name isnt strange enough)

Dinner danny decided we should do more honky style eating and since the weather was cold it was a perfect temp for hot pot... he found from openrice (hk version of eatibility). This was sadly the disappointment of my whole trio we went to some place on soy street which was upstairs... the menu lacked pictures and the waiter kept pushing dishes on us... cause of this we over ordered ending up with 5 dishes not including the soup base... canada oysters wtf were big and not very nice to eat.. the soup stock was a huge super rich beef stock with innards in it.... ok for you aussies out there yes i can hear you making gagging noises.. its not as bad as you think... dumplings full of wood ear mushrooms making them strangely crunchy, mixed balls (cuttlefish, beef, prawn) this was ok, some en choy (chinese cabbage which usually has a beetroot colour through the veins, large plate of sliced wargu and live prawns freshly skewered on kebab sticks. Over all not happy and it cost wayyyyy too much ($100 aud) for hk food this is exhorberant.... we walked back and i got me a coconut sago drink and this made me feel all better...danny laughed at me cause it cost 1/100th of the price of dinner..

Day 3. My last day in hk :-( danny wasnt feeling too good so we ended up having a late breakfast... we caught a train to Central and looked up and saw a cafe and decided it would nice to have something non asian.... wow were we surprised the place is called LGB which is in the LHT building. It was pretty good and wasnt really expensive... Danny hasnt stopped talking about the dark choc mocha he had i found it a bit bitter for my taste.... danny had a big breakfast and i eggs benedict and an ice cuppacino all for hk $155 or under $20 aud...

We wandered (more like hiked) through central... through the jewellery stores, lan kwai fong (bar district) and soho full of random art and antique stores.... by this point i was dying.... so used to my 8 hour sit at a desk day.... we found our way to a 3 story high chain food cafe called tsui wah and had fish and rice noodles and hainan chicken it wassss good... we then took the ferry to tst and went back the hotel to nap....

Yes too much food = lots of food coma naps

That nigtpht dannys honky cousin suggested we head to yau ma tei where near exit c from mtr on arthur st there is an awesome terracotta pot restaurant... so small inidividual pots cooked full of rice and paired with your choice if meat... we had a beef one with raw egg cracked just before eating and stirred in.. and pork ribs and preserved cabbage ... served with self service soy.... omg best thing ever and accompanied by oysters in duck omelette and chilli jam and you get an awesome night....

Believe it or not we spent less on the 3rd day of eating including drinks than we did on hotpot!

Thats about it for hk... london adventures to come soon....

Posted by cass_yip 09:26 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged hong kong yum chá Comments (2)

2 days to go....

rain 17 °C

Hi All,

This is a welcome to my upcoming Travel Blog for Europe hopefully I will get a chance to update this every few days...

2 days to go and Im getting all travel nervous... its been a while since I have left Australia and it will be my first time travelling without my family.

Im all packed and have all my lists ready, winding down at work and waiting for time to past.

Cass

Posted by cass_yip 16:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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