aye it's my life

A London Weekend | Part 1

big ben london
unedited picture of Big Ben (c)Elissa AM

Hey everyone!

Today’s article is a bit late, sorry about that! I’ve had quite a busy day, and as I’m suffering from some kind of insomnia, I have a lot of sleep to retrieve, which meant I frequently end up napping mid-afternoon. Well, anyway, let’s hop on today’s matter:

As some of you may know, I went to the United Kingdom for the first time ever this summer – and I visited, of course, London. It was a long time dream of mine, and I still have sparkles in the eyes when I think about it: the only thing I want to do now is go back again and never leave that place.

I’ve always loved London. It was usually the place where a lot of the books I read when I was little took place, and I dreamt about Big Ben, Buckingham, or even simpler things as the streets in themselves, the typical houses, the gardens and all the freaking beauty that London has.

When discussing with a friend, in January 2016, or something like that, we had such great pleasure thinking about how awesome it could be if we could meet up in London and, above all, as we’re absolute Harry Potter fans, visit the studios. The thing is, my friend had an internship in Nottingham, which meant she’d already be in the UK, which meant it would be easy for her to go in London, and I had some money in the bank I could use, and… as things ended up mixing together quite well, we were able to plan our weekend in London.

I was ecstatic.

I still am.

It really was one of the best travel of my life, seriously. First of all, it was the first time I was travelling on my own, with friends of mine. Sure, I went to Paris several times, but I was sleeping at friends’ and I knew the place. This time, I was going in an unknown city, full of unknown people, sleeping in a hostel, and god knows that was freaking exciting. I’ve dreamt of doing that kind of exciting and adventurous and full-of-life experience forever and ever, and I’d be doing that every single week if I could.

We thus planned our trip, starting from Friday 19th of August until Sunday 21st. My friend already visited London – which meant I was the one who got to chose the places I wanted to visit, in this short little time. We also had the majority of our Saturday booked for the Harry Potter Studios, which I was so excited about.

The time came when I finally left from Les Sables d’Olonnes, where I was in holidays with my family, took the train until Nantes, where I usually live, as I had booked my train for Paris, and after all that I had my Eurostar for London St-Pancras. I had the absolute pleasure of discovering Paris’ Gare du Nord, which is by far my least favorite train station of the city (and I’ve done several), but that had no impact whatsoever on my mind as I was heading to London. I kept on telling myself that, not really realising that one of my dreams was indeed becoming true.

And then, it was simply one of the best moments of my life.

It might sound futile for those of you who live in London, or know the city, went there multiple times ; but for me, this city was really one I had thought of so much I couldn’t even imagine myself going there anymore, I was hoping I’d see my favorite characters popping up from everywhere, I was enthralled by everything I saw, it was marvellous.

First of all, St-Pancras really is a magnificent train station. I remember getting out of the train and getting all giggly and smiling and happy as I had finally reached London. Sure, my giggles stopped a little when I ended up outside of the train station with no idea whatsoever of where the heck I was in the city, aha.

I ended up at the British Library, with its wonderful collections and I spent long minutes on their manuscripts, their beautiful original letters and books and religious testimonies and, ah, it’s such a great place for the mind (+ they had a marvellous exhibition on Punk at the time, I believe!) I then had my first British Starbucks, and my first encounter with a particular accent, that I won’t categorise as I’m utter shit for that, but I realised how deeply I needed to practice my spoken English – god I miss not being in an english-speaking country so much.

My friend and I rented a bed in an auberge de jeunesse, as we call them in French, where you have shared dormitories and a nice ambiance with loads of youngsters, couples, backpackers and, to my surprise, even a lot of families! We were near Bayswater, and the place was super nice, as were the employees (one of them even answered in French, which had me thinking back on what we said, hoping we remained courteous in our language for us not to appear as sauvage French girls, right?)

Then started my London trip (yes, it’s about time, I’ve been writing to you for ages and still haven’t gotten in the main subject, I know!)

What did I see? Well, a lot lot of things, but still not enough! (Which is the exact reason why I definitely need to go back, you know?)

On that very same Friday, we went to Camden Town, which I absolutely loved. The atmosphere, the mood, the people, the shops, I loved it all. It’s totally peculiar but definitely entertaining and, I don’t know, the overall atmosphere really is interesting. And, what’s more,  I had my first pint of the trip in that place! That’s something, ay?

As the night was falling, we went eating and I then enjoyed Soho and its bars, where I had the astonishing experience of seeing Caspar Lee and Josh Pieters walking past me – and God knows I’d have been better dressed, had seen them a tad before, and had a bit more guts, I’d have a picture to prove that, but heck I saw them, what were the odds? Spending two nights in London and having the luck of seeing them, I mean, that was kind of the little cherry at the top, you know?

After that, we walked by Piccadilly Circus and I stared, and stared, and stared, as it was lovely, and busy, crowded, but it gave such a particular feeling to the place that I didn’t even mind the fact that there were that many people, see? I loved the whole, felt such at ease and enjoyed freaking much the sight. We walked by Chinatown as well, which is a definite sight to have, and we then decided to go back home as we were waking up early to go the the Harry Potter Studios.

To be honest, it’d take me at least another 1000000 words to speak about the studios, so I’ll do a separate blog post about it, with lots of pictures and feels and my favorite places and my overall thoughts! In this one, I’ll keep on going about London itself!

Then, the next day was Saturday, we went to the studios and then ended up in Soho again! We ate, drank cocktails (which were lovely and tasty, by the way) and then decided to walk some more… to see Big Ben!

We crossed London by feet, leaving Piccadilly Circus and somewhat finding our way until the marvellous Big Ben and, my, my, my. I think I was a little child with stars in her eyes at the time, aha. I’ve seen Big Ben in loads of movies or v-logs or pictures, everywhere, but this time I was seeing it with my eyes and my owns… it really, truly is magical.

At that time, it was a tad late, but I wanted to see Buckingham, so we thought of going by feet, as the tube station was supposedly open by night this weekend, but… we ended up in some weird empty streets and thought it’d be better to call it quit and go back at the hostel, where we sat down and enjoyed some full-of-laughs discussions, which is as great, tbh.

The next day, Sunday, was our last day in London and I don’t think I’ve ever walked this much, truth be told. We started the day with Covent Garden, from which I keep a very very lovely memory – it’s green and flowery and full of artisans and workers involved in their arts and the building in itself is quite beautiful as well. It really is one of my favorite spot I think!

After that, we migrated to Oxford Street, as I most definitely had to do a Primark spree, right? But let me tell you: that street is fucking long. So, so, so long. I thought I’d never see the end of it. And so busy, so crowded, but once again, it’s full of that frenzy I had imagined from the place and could not be disappointed. I also enjoyed some Mark n’Spencers spree, where I took all their cookies, I think – and thanks god I did as they were so damn good. Oxford Street is really fun, with lots of brands that I had in the UAE that are missing in my city, and the screams of my bank card was the only thing that kept me from clearing all the shops from their goods.

After that, as I had to catch my train, we took the tube towards St-Pancras and spent some time in the British Library, where I ruined myself for a Shakespeare in the Oxford Edition, that is oh so lovely. Then came the time for me to register for the Eurostar departures and I found myself back in my city of Nantes couple of hours later, putting an end to my wonderful journey.

Truth be told, I didn’t think I’d love London this much. I had dreamt about it, sure, but many things are engraved in my mind that keep me fantasying about the city and making me want to go back again and again. I loved the people, their style, their fashion. I loved the cosmopolite of London, the fact that people from every-freaking-where of the globe where on this little bit of territory. I loved the tube, which is marvellous enough in itself. I loved the buildings, I loved the houses, with their particular styles. I loved the poshness and then the punkness and then the mixture of the two that make the particular British weirdness that they love to make us study in English classes. I loved the city, its long avenues, its large streets, its buses and taxis. I loved the trees, and the big gardens, and the smiles from people in the street, and even that guy who screamed a hi and waved happily as I was snapchatting. I loved all that.

And I definitely can’t wait to go back. There’re so many other places that I want to see: the Globe, Regent’s Park, trying Soho’s bars, Buckingham, the British Museum, and walking in the streets, walking randomly just to get a taste of London. I’ll hopefully be going back soon, fingers crossed, as I have crazily good holidays planned for February, when I’ll be going over to CARDIFF  to see a great friend (and to taste a bit of Wales, uh!) and then right after a couple of days in London with my best friend! That’d be the perfect time for me to take a lot, lot of pictures, as despite having my camera fully charged on me, I ended up looking at everything with my own eyes more than by capturing it in my digital screens… which is certainly a good thing when you’re on the spot but that you definitely regret when you don’t have pictures to reminisce!

Well then, that was some long blog post! But I did tell you I was going to talk about London some ages ago, and now that I’m finally doing it I couldn’t simply throw some 5 facts I liked about London, could I? Now then, tell me all about your London experience and what would you definitely go and visit in the city?

See you tomorrow, lads!

Lots of lil’kisses from a

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