Zarina (canadian_turtle) wrote,

Travel recap: UK holiday day 1 - 3 (London)

Day 1: June 17

The first day of our holiday I was terribly excited to see decadentdream again (we hadn't been in the same hemisphere since October), despite the fact that she arrived in London so early I still had to get out of bed at the same time as an average work day and as such it didn't initially feel like a holiday at all :P

We met at her our hostel in Soho before heading to South Kensington for the Natural History Museum, one of many museums we planned to visit that day. This is by far one of my favourites in the city and it didn't disappoint as we spent several hours wandering around there taking pictures of random things and playing everything that was even remotely interactive (put the two of us in a museum and we turn into little kids. I'm afraid to say there may even have been some hopscotching involved!).

Unfortunately the bad weather and our sore feet meant that we eventually decided to skip the other museums and instead went straight to Oxford Street to do some shopping (with a small detour to the Royal Albert Hall for me so I could pick up a ticket for the BBC Proms in the Park because Josh Groban, Westlife and Rock of Ages, omg!). We walked from Marble Arch station over Oxford Street to our hostel, which was located a few minute walk from Oxford Circus station. Of course we went into the Disney Store on our way as we're both big Disney geeks. I would've loved to buy this adorable Bambi stuffed toy there, but alas I had to be very careful with my money so decided against it. We also went to Claires (where I talked Jules into getting a bunch of stuff and I bought three necklaces in the sale for a grand total of £4 myself) and HMV (where Jules spent about an hour looking at The Cure CDs while I picked up the latest Josh Groban and James Blunt ones for £4 each).

We had about half an hour to chill in our hostel before we had to head out for our Afternoon Tea reservation at Hush in Mayfair. We arrived five minutes too late because the place was in a small side street and hard to find and the women behind the till was being really rude, nearly refusing to let us use our reservation, but eventually we got seated. The waiters upstairs were very nice though, so they made up for the bad service downstairs. I have to say that the tea I had with Elli at Les Deux Salons was at least ten times better. At Hush there were no cakes to share, the scones weren't as nice and I didn't like the macaroons at all. The sandwiches were alright though and the actual tea was amazing (just not filling, alas). It was Jasmine tea with an actual flower in it that opened up in the hot water; stunning and delicious too. The flower flavoured gin on the other hand? Waaaay to strong. I finished mine with difficulties.

Next up was Forbidden Planet (Jules's request) and Paperchase (because I knew she'd love it as it's a notebook heaven). Sadly her feet were too sore at this point to enjoy either of them so not too soon after we took the tube to Leicester Square station for the Duke of Yorks Theatre where Jules was going to see Ghost Stories (I've seen this before and won't go back even if they paid me, too scary!). After I dropped her off and gave her directions on how to get back that night I made my way trough the rain back to the hostel. My initial plan was to read until Jules returned but after about 30 minutes I felt so tired that I just went to bed instead.

The beautiful Natural History Museum

Told you there was hopscotch!

Also: shy rhinos

Disney Store FTW!

Afternoon Tea

Beautiful but very strong gin

The Jasmine tea <3

Day 2: June 18

We arrived at Trafalgar Square fairly early this morning, ready for a day of musical numbers and singing in the rain (literally!). In other words: West End Live, the fabulous festival where a whole weekend long major London shows (mostly musicals) perform one or more numbers on stage. And the best thing is: it's free! While we were queuing to get in we saw that a fair few people were already inside (so no luck for us getting first row for the first few acts for sure) as they'd slept there overnight, crazy!

On the first day we saw: Million Dollar Quartet (great opening to the show), Free Run (gymnastics. Didn't interest me because I wanted to see musicals), Wicked (normally one of my favourite musicals, but Rachel Tucker only did one song and wasn't in costume, lame!), Love Never Dies (He. Was. Hot.), Billy Elliot (they hyped me up with the trailer but ended up only doing the ballet dance part for Solidarity without any singing), Lend Me A Tenor (a surprisingly fabulous old school style musical), Legally Blonde (nowhere near as awesome as last year), Betty Blue Eyes (uhm it looked like two guys are in love with a pig? wtf? The title song is however still stuck in my head, grrr...), Chicago (fabulous dancing, but not my type of music), We Will Rock You (absolutely amazing, despite the fact that the mikes weren't on loudly enough so Scaramouche was barely audible), Jersey Boys (Fab. Fab. Fab. Even though at this point it started pouring down really badly and even started hailing on us!), Mama Mia! (great fun), Thriller Live (exactly the same as last year minus the two hot guys and not my type of music), The Flying Karamazov Brothers (unfunny juggling act), Ghost the Musical (a trailer followed by one song on stage, which didn't sell it to me) and finally a long preview set from the new musical Rock of Ages (absolutely flipping amazing which you can see by the abundance of pictures and videos I have from this. Admittedly this also had something to do with the fact that the main guy was very pleasing on the eyes).

After WEL we had a little time to kill before dinner so we went to the Sci-Fi Collector (as I'd seen Merlin merchandise there before which I thought Jules might find interesting, sadly it was nearly all gone now) and the Disney Store at Covent Garden (which was fun despite the fact that I recognised the woman behind the till as the manager who interviewed me and when she called me back I had to say I had taken another job. Awkward!). Dinner was at one of my favourite places, Fire + Stone Restaurant at Covent Garden where I got my usual Athena pizza (spinach with feta cheese and pinenuts) as well as yummy garlic bread.

Despite getting distracted on the way by a group of guys dressed as superheroes we made it in time to the Dominion Theatre for We Will Rock You. As usual I really enjoyed the actual show, it's one of my favourite musicals ever and despite the quite awful Scaramouche we saw this time (her talking voice was so off putting and instead of sarcastic she just came across bitchy all the time) the songs were still incredibly catchy and the whole show was fabulous to watch. Hugely irritating and distracting was the women in front me though. She was singing and bobbing and dancing along to the show the entire evening! I can understand getting into it but good grief, you're in the theatre, not at a rock concert. At some stage she even stood up for a while obstructing my view and when I tapped on her shoulder and asked politely if she could sit down so I could see she was really rude. What the hell? I was trying to follow the storyline and conversations :/ It partly ruined my evening and made this the least enjoyable WWRY viewing yet.


Love Never Dies

Billy Elliot

Lend Me a Tenor

Legally Blonde

Betty Blue Eyes


We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You - "We Will Rock You"

We Will Rock You - "Another One Bites the Dust"

We Will Rock You - "We Are the Champions"

We Will Rock You - "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Jersey Boys

Thriller Live - "ABC"

Thriller Live - "Blame It On The Boogie"

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages - "Wanted Dead Or Alive"

Rock of Ages - "Don't Stop Believing"

Day 3: June 19

Today we didn't have to leave too early leaving us time to go Hummingbird Bakery first for a breakfast of unhealthy cakes. I absolutely love that place and its famous red velvet cupcakes and convinced Jules she had to visit it during her time here. She opted for a huge slice of chocolate cake and a hot chocolate for breakfast and because it was quite obviously a chocolate overload I got to finish her delicious cake :D I bought a red velvet cupcake (of course) and a pumpkin whoopie pie myself for lunch (which is an amazing light pumpkin cake with a marshmallow fluff/cream filling) and when Jules was finished purchasing her own cupcake we set off to Trafalgar Square.

For day two of West End Live we walked to the other entrance - passing a line of cars from movies/TV-shows (including Noddy's car, wtf? It made the Enid Blyton fan in me giddy but it looked slightly out of place next to the Batmobile and the General Lee) - and started queuing at the near empty entrance. This time around there were also no people already in the square giving us hopes of getting a good spot in front of the stage. And as soon as the gates did open it was only our side at first so I scored us second row spots smack-down in the middle of the stage while Jules set off to the toilets. Later on in the day we even had one front row spot, which we alternated in using so we could lean on the barricades and move our feet around.

Today's shows were: Stomp (fabulous use of garbage cans and other random items for an impressive musical show), All Join In & Other Stories (a kiddies show that couldn't hold my interest for more than a few minutes), The Wizard of Oz (a fantastic and quite long performance with all the cast in costumes and even a surprise Toto appearance near the end), Thriller Live (with a much better child version of MJ this time around), Disney's The Lion King (disappointing, because contrary to Disney's Beauty and the Beast the songs were not actually from the movie nor did the characters look like the cartoon ones), Shrek the Musical (not appealing at all, it only confirmed to me I have no interest in seeing this show), Rock of Ages (possibly even more fabulous than the day before), West End Gospel Choir (meh), Mama Mia! (fun), Potted Potter (in which two guys act out one Harry Potter book in 10 minutes. It was hilarious for 10 minutes, not sure if I could sit through a show of 70 minutes though), The Gleeks (terrible, especially compared to their amazing show last year. They'd replaced Tina with some skank version of Quinn and some of the other actors were different too), West End Kids (excellent performance) and the National Youth Music Theatre (which I LOVED last year and while they did perform Sweeney Todd songs again the main guy didn't get a solo song, which was disappointinbg).

In between the acts we saw we also wandered off for a bit to stretch our legs and do some things we wouldn't have time for otherwise. This included exploring a huge four floor new M&M Store at Leicester Square which must've only opened that day. It was seriously humongous and we repeatedly wished that it was in actual fact a Disney Store so we could drool over all the merchandise and contemplate buying everything. As it stood we had fun looking at the "attractions" in the store (life size replica of Abbey Road with M&M's, walking M&M, M&M's as famous people in paintings) rather than actually looking at what they sold or buy anything.

Dinner was across from the store at TGI Fridays which I loved from the US and Jules from Ireland. I got my favourite thick shake ever (Oreo cookies) as well as mozzarella sticks and ribs even though it took our waiter ages to get the food to us (which had already been waiting at the counter!). After dinner Jules set off for Thriller Live and I went home to pick up my bags and laptop for the upcoming roadtrip (being slightly delayed as initially when I first walked to the station I forgot to pick up my house key from the hostel!). I think we both got back to the hostel around the same time and I pretty much crashed straight away as we had to get up super early the next day for the start of our Wales roadtrip.

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Thriller Live

Disney's The Lion King

Rock of Ages... again

Mama Mia!

Potted Potter

The Gleeks

The Gleeks - "Single Ladies"

Sherlock "M&M" Holmes

Robin "M&M" Hood

Abbey Road

Tags: flist: decadentdream, geeky: disney, rl: friends, rl: museums, rl: pics, rl: shopping, rl: shows, rl: vids, travel: uk: london, travel: uk: wales
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