5.29.2012

250. London | Harrods



Hi everyone..I know I am extremely behind on my blog :( Currently I am in Lucerne, Switzerland. If you have been following my Facebook or Twitter updates, so far after London I visited Copenhagen, Prague, and Munich before coming here today. I've been having an amazing time at each city - love all my hotels so far and food in Europe is amazing. Each city has been a completely different experience and I've enjoyed it all. I haven't really had time for blogging lately so apologies if I'm late in replies or comments. If you want to see photos before I post them on here, you can check my Facebook albums

Travelling alone is a lot of fun. I have met a lotttt of people so far (but only traded contact details with a few), especially in Prague. I was there for three nights after Copenhagen & stayed at the Jewel Hotel - I loved this hotel so much. Will do a review on it soon. I somehow met like around 30 people total. Each night was like an adventure, for example one night when the locals brought me to take the subway away from the city center to drink at local bars where nobody spoke English. Eventually I became lost and stranded (for the millionth time on this trip, but it's much scarier when it happens in Prague..) after I decided to escape when they began trying to get me back to their apartment. After wandering around for a bit, I got into a sketchy taxi. I always knew to call a legit taxi company in Prague if I needed one, but that time I had no choice since that was the only taxi around and my phone was blocked from calls. I prepared for a huge fare (or worse), but luckily it wasn't as high as I expected and I safely made it back to the hotel by the end of the night. That was one night in Prague.

After Prague I was supposed to go to Munich. Somehow I missed the bus/train two times and ended up arriving there hours after I originally wanted to. It was such a stressful morning that I'm not even going to try to explain. I was really excited for Munich though. Two years ago I met a friend from Germany when he came to Toronto..and this time we planned to meet up again when I came to Europe. So we spent three days around Munich where I ate a lot of traditional German food in biergartens, saw lots of people in lederhosens, etc. It was actually really nice having some company after travelling alone through all these cities. Even when I met local people it's not really the same. Now by myself in Lucerne it does feel a bit lonely again but I'll get used to it.

I know I've still got some time on this vacation but the days are dwindling down :(

So once again this post is late because I'm so behind on my blog. I'm still on London posts! So here are some photos of Harrods, in particular their food hall; a must-visit for any trip to London.











I picked up a Harrods Rewards card - thanks to my credit card I immediately received the Black Tier one. They had a "welcome gift" of £100 off a £500+ purchase, so I decided to use it on a piece of LV luggage. It surprised me that I was able to use the discount on Louis Vuitton..so far I don't know any other locations where you can get such a discount. The Black Tier card also gives you 10% off all purchases for any two days of the year, plus a bunch of other awesome perks.


Huge shopping bag that I struggled to carry back to my hotel. I got a Damier Azur Keepall - totally needed the additional luggage space for all the souvenirs I've been buying!

5.22.2012

249. London | Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel


During my second day in London, I dropped by the Sanderson Hotel to try their Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea. Before I left on my trip, I did some extensive research on where to go for afternoon tea in London (obviously I couldn't visit this city without having it at least once!). The Mad Hatter's was one that really stood out. I was looking at photos on their site and the "Eat Me" cake and "Drink Me" bottle were what drew me in at first. The other reason was that it's located in the restaurant of the Sanderson Hotel - a beautiful Philippe Starck-designed luxury boutique hotel. Inspired by the theme of Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter's tea is a twist on the traditional British afternoon tea. If you are ever in London, I highly recommend a visit there! I will definitely go back next time I'm in the city. I stayed inside their restaurant, but you can also have it out on their courtyard.


Here is the menu. It comes with everything on the left + one champagne or cocktail + one tea.


I decided to go with the champagne - Laurent-Perrier Brut NV. It was pretty good; has a bit of a fruity taste. The tea I got was their fruit tea (as you can tell, I love everything fruity) which is a blend of pomegranate, hibiscus, orange blossom, rosehip and apple. I looooved the scent of it and it tasted really sweet.


These rainbow-coloured finger sandwiches were my favourite. Normally I'm pretty picky with food and don't like mustard or mayo (that they used in these) but I loved all of these. My favourite was the smoked salmon and cream cheese on green spinach bread. The others are: ham and English mustard on yellow saffron bread, cucumber and black pepper on beetroot bread, and egg mayonnaise and cress on brown bread.


Besides the sandwiches, I really loved the lollipop on the left; hazelnut praline ice cream. It "explodes with a single bite". On the right is a blueberry lollipop. You're supposed to put it on your tongue and flip it as one side is hot and one is cold.


On the 2nd tier: the "Eat Me" cake is strawberry and cream mousse inside a chocolate shell. I actually found this to be a bit too sweet. Then there is the "Drink Me" bottle of passion fruit jelly, coconut panna-cotta and exotic foam. The Chocolate Opera Rabbit's Clock is a chocolate and coffee layered sponge cake; tastes just like tiramisu. I also really liked this. Then there are the traditional scones at the bottom which I was told are supposed to "bring you back to reality" at the end.




So all in all, a very good experience. I enjoyed the food but more importantly, the service was excellent. The server explained everything in detail and the staff at the hotel were all very friendly.


This is the lobby of the hotel - the Sanderson Hotel by the Morgans Hotel Group (who also manages various other boutique hotels around the States)



Sanderson Hotel:
50 Berners Street
London W1T 3NG
United Kingdom
(Right by Oxford Circus station, off Oxford Street)
Phone: 02073001400

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea:
Hours:
Monday-Friday: 2pm to 5:30pm
Saturday-Sunday: 1pm to 5:30pm
For Reservations:
02073005588
Price:
£35 ($55) per person

5.21.2012

248. London | Snapshots


I am now in Copenhagen - took a 7am flight here from London this morning & haven't really slept last night as I had to be at the airport a few hours early. Anyway before I get even more behind on my blog, I thought I'd do a quick post on London. I'm not even sure how I will be able to choose which pics to post since I took way too many (as always). I'll most likely be making like 5+ blog posts on each city.

A few thoughts:
  • This is my first time travelling alone and I REALLY love it so far. It's great being able to do whatever I want. To be honest at first I didn't know if I would be able to do it, but everything is going smoothly so far and I'm still alive hahah. It's also really easy to meet the locals this way. I didn't expect to stick out so much in London but apparently I do..it seems that most people know I'm foreign so they try to talk to me and ask where I'm from, etc..("are you from Japan? China?" pfftt..)
  • I hate crossing streets in London. It's so confusing with those "look left" and "look right" signals on the ground..sometimes when car stopped I start walking, then they go right away and start honking at me. I'm confused how to tell when the light is about the turn green. I was THIS close to getting run over twice already..sigh. & I also really hate those little bumps that are everywhere on the ground - usually on the curbs and the edge of the Tube platforms. Not high-heel-friendly AT ALL. Actually Copenhagen is a worse "heel-city" but I'll get to that next time..
  • The English accent has now become my favourite once again. omg I could listen to them talk all day. The people are all quite friendly. I try to ask for directions as much as I can just so I can listen to their accent.
  • The Tube is actually a lot of fun to take. Before I left Toronto, taking the Tube was like my biggest worry in London because it looks so confusing. But I tried it and it's SO convenient. I feel I'm a pro with the Tube now - even got the Diamond Jubilee Oyster Card and all..hahaha. Though transportation in London IS ridiculously expensive. I spent about $100 on cabs in 2 days and not even sure how much on the Tube..but I love the cabs so much. The cab drivers are so friendly (for the most part) and it's worth it when I need to get to/from the hotel.
  • I'm starting to get used to eating alone in restaurants, meaning I cringe less and less each time they ask "table for 1?" It's not so bad actually. But until now I haven't been to any formal restaurants yet. By the time I get to Paris I'll hopefully be able to.
  • I think I'm going to move to London someday. It's an awesome city and I understand why a lot of people love it/why they get so many tourists. I don't know what I was thinking before I left when I kept saying how much I'll miss Toronto..I don't ever want to go back!!
  • Lastly, the tourists - I'm pretty sure 90% of the people around on the weekends are tourists. Every time I took the Tube, everyone around me was looking at guidebooks or maps. I hear people speaking foreign languages even more than I hear English.
  • Hotel Costes = the perfect soundtrack to listen to on vacations. I always do whenever I go on my trips - I have it playing nonstop.
  • I like the style of guys here. A lot of them seem to wear bright green pants & dress really preppy! 











Here is where I'm sitting right now as I'm blogging - this is my hotel room in Copenhagen, inspired by the Louis XVI period so I had to book it. The bed is soooo comfortable. Oh yea, & that's the LV Azur keepall I bought yesterday at Harrods :]

I'll post more photos tomorrow so keep checking back!

5.19.2012

247. Deq


I have arrived in London!! Quick post because I am extremely tired and need to sleep soon. First here's what I did during my last night in Toronto..I was so sad to leave because I thought I would miss Toronto a lot, but as expected..after a mere 5min in London I LOVE it here!! I never expected to like London so much but it's one of my favourite cities now and I wouldn't mind living here someday.
So the night before I left my friend & I went to the Ritz-Carlton's Deq patio for champagne and desserts.


It's a really nice patio..want to come here more often this summer.




Exchanged like 6 different currencies for this trip.


Sneak peak of my London pics. Today I mainly went to Notting Hill & Harrods..also walked around the streets a bit. Walking from place to place does take quite a bit of time - London is actually a lot bigger than I imagined.

5.12.2012

246. I like London in the rain


I am leaving on my trip to Europe in less than a week..I was so excited about going when I first booked the ticket & started planning, but now I'm not as much because I'm a liiiiittle bit nervous about travelling alone. Also because I will REALLY miss Toronto and some people here. I'm sure I'll be fine when I get there though..I mean I'm not even going for that long. I know when I'm there I won't want to come back.
I already got reservations at some really nice restaurants, so I'm forcing myself to get over my fear of eating out alone hahah. I also spent the entire week planning my hotels. I know most people don't think it's worth it to spend a lot on hotels but I love staying in nice places..
I'll have my laptop so I'll most likely blog everyday when I'm there. I'm going to try to travel a lot more now that I'm done school/have more time, so from now on this blog is going to focus more on travel. Hopefully.

It's been awhile since my last post, since I've been quite busy..so here's some recent photos to sum up what's been happening:


The obligatory washroom photo in Spice Route


Pomegranate mojitos on the Boiler House patio. I don't usually drink mojitos but the ones they make here were so good, it's my new favourite summer drink!!


Unfortunately the calamari was not so good..




Dinner at Le Papillon - the amuse-bouche. This was one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto, but their menu recently changed. It's still good but not as good as it used to be..


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