My First Trip to London: Day 2

Waking up at 9am to check out of our hostel felt like hell. The hostel bed was heaven compared to the crappy mattress I have in my Warwick dorm room so I was not happy to part with it. We stayed at SafeStay Elephant & Castle, taking up two whole 8 person dorm rooms and we were pleasantly surprised with how nice the place was! Despite the rooms being extremely purple, the hostel was very clean and the beds were so comfortable. I would definitely go back and stay there next time.

The outside of our hostel: SafeStay Elephant & Castle

The inside of our hostel room

We began the day by heading to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard which was a little underwhelming but also kind of cool at the same time. I feel like watching it just wasn't worth the wait in the cold though.

Next stop was London Bridge and Borough Market with views of Tower Bridge along the way. London Bridge was also a little underwhelming and unfortunately, Borough Market was closed so all we could do was walk through the empty marketplace.

 The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

 The view of Tower Bridge from London Bridge

To satisfy our itch to visit a market, we trekked over to Brick Lane Market which Wikipedia had informed us was open on Sundays. The journey was  a struggle but we got to see quite a lot on the way there. We did get a little bit lost in the underground tube though as the line we were going to take was cancelled for the day. 

I was very impressed with the speed and efficiency of the tube system in general though. It makes Melbourne's trains seem like a joke! The fact that there is a whole network of trains underneath London just amazes me. We never waited any longer than 3 minutes for a train which is something I definitely could get used to.

 The Shard

The London underground tube

We ended up at the Sunday Upmarket section of Brick Lane Market. Brick Lane Market was by far my favourite part of this London trip. The area it was in was so rich in culture that I felt like I was seeing the true heart of London and everything it has to offer instead of just the generic tourist spots on the surface. The market was full of vintage and handmade vendors selling the most gorgeous jewellery, clothes, shoes and bags.

What made the market so special for me though was the food. There were tons of stalls in a street food-like environment, selling a diverse range of ethnic cuisines. Name any country and chances are they had a food stall there representing them.

It kills me that I couldn't try every dish in that market. There were so many different ethnic foods that I have never seen before let alone tried. I could go back there every day just to sample cuisines from all over the world. 

Between four of us, we ended up buying pork, beef and vegetable steamed buns, assorted dim sum and Caribbean mango chicken. The Caribbean mango chicken was to die for! It's one of those meals I'll look back on and remember as one of the best I've ever had.

 Virgin Pina Colada in a pineapple

 Assorted dim sum and fried dumplings

Caribbean mango chicken with rice

We wrapped up the evening with a pint at a sports bar in Covent Garden where we watched the Man City v Arsenal match. After that, we hit Trafalgar Square which was spectacular at night! London as a whole is beautiful at night but this was just incredible.

We spent our last couple of hours in London at a sports bar close to the coach station so Maya could watch her beloved Seahawks play. The burger I got there may have been one of the worst I've had in my life and I may have ended up falling asleep towards the end but it was interesting to watch an American football match! Can't say that I understand the game any better though...

 The National Gallery at night

Views of The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square

Our bus home was delayed by 45 minutes which is not what you want when you're expected to arrive at 12am. Instead of leaving at 10pm, we ended up leaving at around 11pm. We ended up reaching Coventry at around 1-1.30am and the walk back to my room was torturous. It snowed during the walk home though which was quite pretty albeit annoying.

Overall though, I had an amazing trip to London and definitely plan to go back multiple times! The city has definitely charmed me.


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