I’ve always dreamed of going to England. It’s just a country that was always on my to-see list. And when I went with my residence, Goimendi, it’s become a story that I will never get tired of telling. Were four filipinas in Goimendi at that time, and we were called the Goimendi Filipina Mafia. So naturally, when Goimendi planned a three day cultural art excursion to London, England, we were the first ones to sign up for it and pay in full. Once the list we set, we were told that we were going to ride Ryanair, a low-cost airline, and that we were only allowed to bring 10kg of luggage each. Now, none of us had ever gone to England before, and the first thing that worried us was what were we going to bring and buy, and how we were going to make them fit. That was the biggest challenge. A few weeks later, caught our bus to catch our flight from Biarritz.
What I’ll never forget when got to the Biarritz airport is this: around 20 sorority girls struggling to go through security because of their Hunter rain boots. Lol. What a sight that was.
We got to London at around 10pm, and we got to our hostel in King’s Cross. Here’s a little something that I found cute when we entered:
Tourists don’t know where they’ve been. Travellers don’t know where they’re going.
On day one, we made our way to the Tate Modern. Naturally, we bought multi-transportation tickets, meaning you can use the ticket 10 times for any public transportation. I don’t know if it was just us filipinas, but ’em Spaniards love to walk!! We barely took the tube (metro) or bus, and walked for hours. We would walk so slow that the directress called us the Street Cleaners of London because we were always lagging behind. Haha! But I guess, in a way, we were able to see more of what London has to offer. We walked through the beautiful Hyde Park, where we saw an adorable bench with an utterly romantic carving on it.
“Mickey Curbishley – my amazing husband, our journey began here and wherever our tavels take us, my home will always be in your heart. My love forever, Joanna Curbishley”
Outside the Tate Modern, we met with our guide, Anne, and we began our art tour with the amazing Millennium Bridge, ending up inside to talk about about contemporary art.
After spending six hours absorbing Rothko, Pollock, and the like, we went to a place where we fIlipinas were familiar with- Harrods. And we only had 30 minutes to explore it before closing time.
In the end, the mafia were the first ones out with the most bags from Harrod’s. Everything there is top notch. After, we walked around and spotted the London Eye. By 10pm, we found ourselves looking at the amazing London Bridge.
We got back to the hostel, extremely exhausted, by 12 midnight. After eating dinner, we were told that we were going to mass the next day at 8am. Everyone went except the filipinas.
Side story: In the middle of the night, I needed to go to the bathroom. So, I brought my keycard and went. After, however, my keycard didn’t work on the door and my room mates were too asleep to here my knocks. When I heard the sound of drunk men going up, I started to panic and hid in the bathroom. After gaining some composure, I decided to go to reception and ask for another keycard. But, all there was, was a note that said that reception was not 24 hours. I began making my way back but the door that separated the lobby from the rooms had already been closed- and you needed a keycard to open it. And just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, even more drunk people entered the hostel and crowded themselves in the lobby. So, there I was, in my cat pj’, in the corner of a crowded lobby with my arms crossed. I had no idea what to do. To my luck, after a few minutes, someone used their keycard to open the the door. I slipped in quickly and went straight for our room and knocked, desperate for my room mates to hear it. And to my dismay, one of them did and let me in. What. A. Night.
On day two, with the filipinas left behind, we were told to meet up with the group in front of the National Museum. We took our sweet time and walked around before meeting time. If there’s one thing about London I can say, it’s that it is very alternative. The art of even the unknown in unexpected places is just breathtaking.
We got to the metro station and lo and behold, we found ourselves at Platform 9 3/4. Dream come true. Not to mention the Harry Potter store right next to it, where I bought, of course, a replica of Draco’s wand, a time turner necklace, and my train ticket to Hogwarts.
Distracted, we ended up missing our tube (metro) TWICE. Ha! I have no idea how we managed, but in the end, we made it to the National Museum– an hour late. And of course, with red phone booths everywhere in Trafalgar Square, I had to take the classic photo. How could I resist?
After, we went to China Town. It is said that London has the best chinese food, and it’s true. We went in some random Chinese restaurant (that was offered a great buffet price), and we had our favorite: Pecking Duck. I don’t know if we the food was that good, or if we were just that hungry, but we each finished one plate of rise each- carpenter style. That was satisfying.
On our last day, we basically just went around and admired London. We said greeted the Parliament and Big Ben, we ate authentic British cuisine like shepard’s pie and fish ‘n chips, and at night, we were lucky enough to watch Singin’ In The Rain. I was really excited, because I love broadway shows. The only problem was that our tickets really sucked. We were seated at the top; meaning you can literally look down 90 degrees. Quite scary, to be honest. I thought I was going to fall off.
In the end, despite not seeing places like Abbey Road, Portobello Road, or even the Hogwarts Universal Studio, I was still impressed with London. And even though we were only allowed 10kg for the entire trip, I was actually surprised that mine didn’t go over the weight limit with the amount of things I bought. I had conquered London while travelling with numeraries and Spaniards, and that, was victory in my book.