Friday, February 7, 2014

Flash Back UK 2013-2014

Exactly one month ago, there I was, eager to experience what UK would be like. Can't believe everything is all but memories now. Time really flies.

I am intrigued to map out what happened exactly one month ago, day by day, from the 18th of December 2013 till 4th of January 2014 so that I will forever lock my first travel out of Asia for eternal.

Flights away! Pushed off from KLIA, heading towards transit at Dubai International Airport

Random Jaguar on display at Dubai Airport

Gatwick Airport!

Breathing the air in England. Touched down at 7am in the morning local time. Spent first half of the day loitering around in the airport. Caught the 1pm train to Southampton. Reached around 4pm. Walked round Southampton like a madman carrying our luggage together with us. Paid for tickets to visit the Seacity Museum, where we get to know more about Titanic. Met up with cousie after our stroll in the museum. Headed back and had a wonderful dinner prepared by cousie.
Fallen heroes of Titanic

Isle of Wight beckons! The Red Funnel ferry ships us across to the island... Mainly sight seeing. We did not get to visit the whole island though. It's a peaceful and serene place, a place where you would want to get away from a buzzing city life. We went sight seeing and into the Dinosaur Museum at Sandown.

Our movement in Isle of Wight

Never got the chance to go to Needles Park. Well there is always next time! :)

Back to London! But on the way back, stopping by at Winchester Cathedral. Beautiful, mesmerizing. Paid for the guided tour. Totally worth it as you get immersed into the 1000 year history of the building. Fantastic!!
After that it was straight away to Essex, Er Yi's place!!

 Inside Winchester Cathedral

Went out to dimsum beside Thames. Royal China is the name of the restaurant, situated at Canary Wharf. After lunch we went to Basildon, for a movie. The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug! Had rice balls dumplings in savory soup. Not bad as I am very used to having them sweetened with syrup.
The Royal China

 The small park near Royal China

 Thames at first sight

Canary Wharf

Tower hills! From Pitsea, my aunt's house, we took a train straight to Fenchurch. From there, Tower of London is just walking distance away. 

Although it requires tickets to enter, we paid and got rewarded by being transferred back to history itself. Who would have known the Tower of London acted as a castle, royal mint and many more building roles in the past? 

Considered as one of the first place of interest I've visited in London, I also got the chance to catch a glimpse of Tower Bridge. Sky was dull grey, wind was quite strong but still London is beautiful in her own way.

After that we wandered in Riverside, one of the shopping centers in between Fenchurch & Pitsea. Apart from Tower Hills, 23rd of December 2013 was quite plain.

 What would a medieval king's room look like

Tower bridge

Tower of London

Mum in the photo

Argh I am having some memory block here... Probably it wasn't one of those days when you remembered what happened. All I remembered from now was...

Ah yes. 24th was the first day we spent outside of Pitsea. We rented a room at Linden House Hotel. We left Pitsea fairly late in the morning, traveled to Bayswater, where my aunt is staying in a B&B over there. Chucked our luggage and went for lunch at Four Season's Restaurant. Place was effing packed up but yeah the duck was good!

What I knew was after we checked into Linden House at around noon, we went to Hardrock London. We toured the small museum, housing several famous guitars and apparels worn by previous rockstars etc. After that it was dinner at Leicester Square. We ate Chinese again - Black Bean is the name of the restaurant if I remember correctly. 

And be damned. We had roast duck AGAIN.

After dinner was a night walk in London. We went into a M&M shop where they sell all kinds of M&M stuffs. I had my eyes on a mug which I didn't bought in the end though :/. After that, we walked along Regent Street, admiring the Christmas decorations. So here are some pics taken during that night. Simply amazing :)

 Ah yeah. Thanks to Google for applying the GIF effect randomly on my photo.


It's Christmas! But not a white one though.

The very first place we went to after breakfast was Hyde Park. Man this park is humongous. There are many attractions in this park itself. One of them is the Albert Memorial, which is very grand indeed. 
The Albert Memorial

 The Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial. Just noticed that this pic is great looking too!
I like the flare :)
We practically spent the whole day walking around the park. We even had a picnic there. Plenty of wildlife and gosh the abundance of squirrels. Not tiny ones but big fat cute ones! My god :O

No kidding. Plenty of geese 

Panoramic sweep

 Mum and bro. Nice perspective

 Haha. A bird on every stand each.
Random statues at the park
Peter Pan?

Hi cute guy :) He's super friendly too

Boxing day. Shopping day. London was crowded. Like mad.

We spent almost the entire day shopping (window shopping). Things weren't really cheap. Some brands were cheap but the good designs were all snapped up. 

We did walked around London. No specific places of interests but the streets itself are still beautiful. 

I really love the small alleys, the brick buildings

Taxis are parked in the middle of the road. It's a specified parking place for them. Drivers then take the tube back home.

 Harrods at night
 Ate Burger and Lobster at night. Meal of the trip I'd say!
 One thing I really admire about UK is every rubbish bin is a recycle bin. And notice the small hole in the top middle part? That's for your cigarette butt. Cool :)

Sad but true. 27th of December actually marks one of the last day I'm spending in London. 

On to the journey!

We wanted to visit the Kew Gardens, but as the Piccadilly Line Westwards was not running due to planned maintenance, we were forced to switch plans. Anyway, this led us to South Kensington, where all the museums are planned side by side.

Nature history was brimming full - everyone was queuing up to enter. Due to the crazy crowd, we had to settle for something less glamorous - The Royal Albert and Victoria Museum. Although just art and sculptures, I reckon you would still love the place if you have that even tiny appreciation for art.

 The crazy queue at Nature History
 The wide array of sculptures
 Renaissance themed
 The walls of the museum

After that we did walked inside the Science Museum. Since they demanded ticket charges we left without discovering it. But yeah one day in the future I would love to explore that place and Nature History. 

After that it was a ride to St James's. Lunch was at Old Star, a pub serving nice food. 
  Lunch. I don't usually take photos of food. Here's an exception.

Why stop at St James's? Because it is almost at the middle of Buckingham Palace and the House of Parliament. Plus you get to walk around St James's. 

 The Eye is watching :p

 The famous building we all know :)

After that, we walked and walked and walked. We passed by quite a lot of beautiful buildings and places

 The Admiralty Arch
 Trafalgar Square
 Westminster Abbey
 Iconic London - All in one picture
 Panoramic sweep 2
 House of Parliament perspective
One word - majestic
The Eye of London
The last stop of the day was St. Paul. Since it was night time, we could only see St Paul's magnificence under the glaring spotlight, which is also beautiful.

We had dinner at Bella Italia Bayswater. Food was nice and prices was okay. 


On this very day, we ventured to Portabello Market. Unlike any morning markets you find in Malaysia, the Portabello market is a place or trinkets and antiques. And not to forget the various clothing you can find. Bought a pair of "Keep Calm and Carry On" T-shirt over there.

Things can range from cheap to slight expensive. There are also food and fruit stalls too, just not as many compared to the trinkets shops. We bought some fruits too. 

Lunch was at Goldmine, Bayswater. Chinese food AGAIN! haha. Roast duck, roast pork. A very heavy lunch indeed. 

After that it was time to really say bye bye to London. We checked out, hired a cab to Victoria. From there, we took the National Express to our next destination - Cardiff! 

Journey took almost 2 hours. And boy Cardifff is indeed colder than London. 

Dinner was at Giovanni's. And my thumbs up for the Italian cuisine! Definitely a place you would want to visit again on your next visit to Cardiff. Too bad I didn't take any photos of the food. :(

*p.s. Thanks to cousie suyimissu for letting us stay 2 night at her rented room. Much appreciated for the hospitality~! XOXO


Cardiff here we come! We got up quite late. Left house around 1am to explore around Cardydd (that's how it's spelt in Welsh). 
 The street view of Colum Road towards the town. Nice sunlight :)
 Another google edited photo. I kinda like this one
 You can see Cardiff University on the left side of the road.
Finally reaching Cardiff town by foot.

Surprisingly, the first place we visited was Clarks. LOL right? Anyway Clarks are still having sales, and I found a pair of shoes finally. So yeah all's good.

One of the place to visit in Cardiff is Cardiff Castle. Again since it required ticket fees, we just strolled in abit and left. And according to cousie, there wasn't really much to see.

 Cardiff Castle

Inside the compound of the castle

After that we went to Garlands for lunch. Again I did not take photos of the food there. Alright I do have that small tinge of regret of not taking food photos. But it can be very annoying ya know, taking photos before eating.. :/

After lunch we took a bus ride to Cardiff Bay. We spend the second half day doing sight seeing and visiting the places of interests over there.

Wales Millennium Center, the theater for plays
 The Pierhead building
 A very iconic building in Cardiff
 Cardiff bay in the afternoon, around 2pm. Sun looks like late evening
 Mermaid Quay. Do visit Fabulous Welsh Cake if you're there! Awesome Welsh Cakes!!
 Another shot of Cardiff town.

We had Japanese dinner at Mt. Fuji at a shopping center. And we stopped by the Winter Wonderland on our way home. 
Winter Wonderland


Woke up super duper early today to catch an early buss to Bristol. It's a 1 hour journey from Cardiff to Bristol.

It was raining mad when we reached Bristol.

After waiting for like 1 hour for the rain to subside, we braved the drizzle and wind and started our adventure in Bristol. Our first stop was the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

 A huge plane suspending from the ceiling of the museum
 One of the various sections in the museum
The outside of the museum. Another nice building.

We walked south from there, up Brandon hill, where another iconic building of Bristol awaits us - Cabot Tower.

 My best shot out of 206 photos I've took. Cabot Tower among the greenery. Spot my mum photobombing
 The gardens in Brandon hill
 There's a small lake up there
You can see Bristol from Brandon Hill

From Brandon Hill we walked slightly South East to come upon Bristol Cathedral. We didn't enter the building though. 

 Bristol Cathedral

From there, we took a long walk towards Brunels ss Great Britain. We crossed bridges, walked long distance to get to Spike Island to get a glimpse of the historic ship.

 Like Southampton, Bristol is a town located near the seas. Hence the boats and canals
 Walking along the Floating Harbour.

A glimpse of ss Great Britain

A ticket is needed to board the ship. We took pictures from the outside and walked back to the town. Good exercise though :). Our next destination was one of my favorite places I've visited in England - St. Mary Redcliffe Cathedral. I am so engrossed that I took quite a number of photos of it.

After walking around like almost every part of Bristol, we finally met up with a friend (Mum's student) and we had dinner at Turtle's Bay, which serves Caribbean cuisine. Something special and new for the tastebuds

After dinner we hitched a bus to the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Since my handphone camera has it's limits, I took a blurry photo of the bridge and the night view of the city. Alright time to get a good camera.

 Bristol at night
 The Clifton Suspension Bridge

Night came swiftly. We board a 12am bus back to Cardiff

*p.s. Thanks to Melissa and Vanessa for bringing us to the Clifton Suspension Bridge. And not to forget the dinner too!


After breakfast, it was the journey back to Victoria Station, London. But this time it's just a stop as we are heading back to Pitsea, Basildon. You could say it's a sombre goodbye to one of the best cities in the world. 

Day passed by without any nice pics taken. By the time we reach Pitsea, it was almost dark. I wanted to watch the countdown fireworks live on TV but I dozed off around 10pm until the next day. LOL right?


A wonderful trip almost coming to an end. So time for some shopping! Good thing for us that Er Yi actually helped shop for all kinds of stuffs. Chocolates, sausages (my gawd Matterson's sausages are a BIG WIN!) and many more. 

I think the only thing I remembered for that day was watching Sherlock premiering on BBC. Finally after such a long wait. But the truth behind the fall was kinda.. bland.


Went to Lakeside Shopping Center for our last attempt to shop to the max. Well of course I didn't get anything. But mum got loads of stuffs. 

The only thing that I got was a very good book on food. For 5 pounds, its a screamer.


Woke up early to catch a cab to Gatwick airport. Checked in with a heavy heart. Plane took off at local time 9.30am.

During the Dubai transit, I took one bottle of wine to let the drowsiness kick in (so I thought) to make me sleep. Little did I know that taking even a small bottle of wine on a plane is no good. 

Horrible experience indeed.


Landed in KLIA safely. Breathing Malaysia's air for the first time in the year 2014. Sweat beads formed, specs sliding down the nose. Damn the hot weather.

Fast forward to...


Finally a quite comprehensive journey log of what happened in UK through my own eyes.
I'm happy that I sometimes lag behind to take photos, even though it is just through my phone camera. Cause every picture certainly does bring back the moment that I had lived through. 

And I'm happy that I had the initiative to write down a detailed account of the trip. One reason is that I really loved England, and I don't wanna forget a thing that happened back there. And another thing is by looking back on this post, even from now, I wanna give myself that imagination of re-living the vivid moments before I go back there once again, hopefully in the near future.

Epilogue: I've learnt and seen a lot. There is also a change in perspective. How I look at the importance of time and money. 

And then there are also moments which you want to hold on dearly. People who you want to remember and cherish. Places that you have the urge of visiting again.

Overall, I think I came back as a better person, more focus and determined to make my dreams come true.

And to the future me who might be reading this post: Remember. You're already living your dream. It has begun. Dream bigger. And harder. 

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