Friday, 22 August 2014

10 Things I Miss Most About London

A month after leaving London, the withdrawal syndromes and my longing feelings to see London once more had never been this overwhelming. Ironically, I look forward to coming home for summer and wishing the summer holidays would last longer, but today, I wish I had more time to spend in London.

1. Living In The World’s Top Holiday Destination

Hundreds of thousands and millions throng London throughout the year for its iconic landmarks, its rich history, its famed parks and its glorious shopping streets. While everyone had to travel all the way to London just to spend a few days or weeks, I was blessed to be living right smack in the centre of London; just minutes away from the lively Southbank and the famous Ferris wheel, the London Eye.

There is nothing more wonderful than to explore London from my own home. Taking a stroll in the SouthBank at sunset, joining the tourist at Westminister, squeezing (and cursing) through the crowd at Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, exploring the hectares of park and so much more!

Westminister Bridge
Living just minutes away from this famous landmark is such a blessing

2. London Underground

Love it or hate it, it is the lifeline for most Londoners. The crazy peak hour rush, getting squashed like sardines in a tin; the frequent breakdowns and planned engineering works and worst of all, the untimely strike makes life in London extremely miserable. Leaving the dependency on public transport is great but then getting stuck in traffic when driving at home –_- I’d rather take the tube or walk.

The experience of taping in and out, standing on the right and squeezing through to get off the train, nothing could change those times. So, if I ever complain about taking the tube, PUNCH ME!

Can I just enjoy another moment in the underground?
3. Gateway to Europe & UK

London is a gateway to adventure just like the cupboard in Narnia. With one of the busiest airport in the world, London is an amazing gateway to a budget holiday in Europe. Budget travelling could never be any easier. With Ryanair, EasyJet, Monarch etc, there is always a way to find cheap flight tickets to get away for the weekend, bank holidays, Christmas, Easter or summer break. The competition is so great that there is never one airline extorting passengers to pay ridiculous surcharges.

To add to the extensive flight network, the high speed train to Western Europe at an affordable price (if purchased in advance) is yet another amazing reason to miss London. Plus, buses and trains around the UK can always be bought at a steal all thanks to Megabus.
Thanks to all this great travel choices, my adventures in Europe and UK had been an amazing experience.

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The amazing gardens in Chateau de Versailles
Freezing in my favourite place in the world, Zermatt
Basking under the Aegean sun
Mykonos Sunset
Watch the most mesmerising sunset in Greece
Christmas Market
Soaking in the Austrian Christmas spirits
Rome Vatican
Watch the last light of the day set behind the Vatican City
Stand out among the colourful houses of Burano
Snowdon Summit
Conquer the summit of Snowdon after getting lost and off track

Thank you London for opening these doors of adventure!

4. World Cuisine

Dubbed as one of the biggest metropolitan in the world, London is a huge pot of melting culture. With so many different nationalities making London their home, it is only normal that different world cuisines start making their mark in London to satisfy the cravings of their people living miles away from home. A search for good Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Persian, Chinese etc. etc. etc. is as easy as ABC. The only setback is the price! Finding good food is never difficult but doing it in a budget is quite a challenge sometimes.

Given it’s various cultures, the colliding cultures creates an endless fusion dishes, mostly pleasant to the taste buds.

Petrus - Michelin starred dining
Gold Mine feasting
My favourite slice of Japanese influenced cake!
5. Markets, Markets and More Markets

Strolling through markets is possibly one of the best way to spend the weekend. With a long list of markets happening every weekend and throughout the week, the choice is pretty much endless. With every market standing out with a character of its own, there is always something different in every visit to the market.

Borough Market for its scrumptious food, Portobello Market for its display of antiques and knick knacks, Brick Lane Market and Camden Market for the groovy atmosphere, Columbia Flower Market for its flooding flower scent…

Mushroom frenzy in Borough Market
Vintage looking watch in Portobello Market
6. Grocery Shopping

Having countless cooking experiments while living in London, getting ingredients is never a setback. The convenience of online grocery shopping; delivering the freshest ingredients (most of the time) to my doorstep is the best thing ever. There’s no need to break my arm carrying pints of milk, bottles of fruit juices etc through the bitter winter. Best of all, delivery fee is usually cancelled off by discount coupons or free delivery promotion.

The selection of fresh ingredients is a cook’s paradise. Poultry, meat, vegetables, herbs etc. are always available off shelves. Even the smallest Tesco Express and Sainsbury Local have enough choices to make a hearty meal. Besides, the available ready meals and sandwiches are aplenty. How I miss the great selection of those ready to eat food from M&S!

7. New Year’s Eve Celebration

Celebrating the start of a year in London will always kick off with a bang. With thousands crowding the Victoria Embankment and SouthBank to watch the annual fireworks, NYE is always an event not to be missed. There is nothing more memorable than standing almost 7 hours in the cold winter with a few thousand others just to be rewarded with the most spectacular fireworks display in my life when the Big Ben strike 12.

Celebrating NYE would never feel much the same without the crowd, the cold and that firework display.

NYE Fireworks
Spectacular fireworks during NYE 2014
Plus, with so much happening all year round, London is a great place for photography opportunity. The simmering lights of London’s skyline, the parks where animals roam freely and the major international events happening all year round! Plus, going around London by foot with a DSLR and tripod never gave me a feeling that I will be mugged and killed.

Le Tour de France
Le Tour de France 2014
8. Sales & Discounts
Student discount is obviously one the bulk of money saving opportunities. However, the genuine sales and discount happening almost all year round can never get better. There is always something on sale all the time. Not to forget, the crazy Boxing Day sales that see people fighting over reduced items.

Shopping in London was a great experience, whether it is grabbing a sale item or flipping the price tag to get a shock of my life.

9. Good Customer Service (excluding Chinatown please)

There is nothing I dread more than bad service (besides horrible food of course). In the service oriented society, bad is service is a huge no-no. Whether it’s dining out in a shabby place or Michelin starred restaurant, most of the time, service is always ranging from decent to excellent. Even when service is bad, there is always a right to complain and often there is an apology in return. Of course, there will be one or two bad experiences but nothing is as bad as the service at home.

Even the dreaded Chinese restaurants have a pretty decent service if I patron them frequent enough like Gold Mine in Bayswater.

10. King’s College London

While many love the experience of living in a campus, I’d prefer life to revolve around the busy streets of London and having everything close to my proximity. Being in King’s College London had been such a wonderful experience! Based in Waterloo and Strand campus, nothing in London ever seem to far. The best part of journey to school each day is definitely the magnificent view of St Paul’s and Big Ben from the Waterloo Bridge.

Forget the hopeless AccessKings wifi, studying in the Somerset House is quite a great experience with high ceiling classrooms inside such a remarkable work of architecture. Plus, there is always something exciting happening right outside.

Proud to be a part of King's College London :)

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; 
for there is in London all that life can afford"
-Samuel Johnson

There will always be so much to miss about London - clearly I'm not tired of life :D

South Bank
Walking through the Southbank would definitely top my list of to do in London!

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