After a wonderful four nights back in my hometown we returned to London on August 14th to spend a couple of nights with friends Richard, Mizuki and their eight month old baby Tatsu at their swanky new apartment in East London.
The London 2012 Olympics were a huge success and I missed the majority of it due to living in a country where they ONLY show their own sportsmen and women in action. Luckily, I picked up the Olympics dvd box-set (which I’m still yet to watch) while I was at home and was also able to see the Olympic Stadium (below) up close as the village where the games took place was a short stroll away from their place. Yet another canal walk took us there and onto Stratford which has Europe’s largest urban shopping mall.
On our first afternoon, my girlfriend and I headed into the city to see The Tower of London (below) and Tower Bridge before taking a much needed rest on the grass at Trinity Square Gardens which is just a stone’s throw away from all the crowds and the exterior of Willis Faber (below) was seen in ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider‘ (2001).
Buckingham Palace (below) was our first port of call the following day but sadly we couldn’t see the changing of the guard at 11.30am as in August this crowd-pleaser only takes place every two days and typically our day wasn’t one of them! We planned to return the next day but it never quite materialised…….not that I was that bothered!
It was nice to just wander the streets of London and from Buckingham Palace we found our way to Knightsbridge and Harrods department store (above) as I had remembered that my girlfriend wanted to go there. She did…..but only to see it’s exterior!! Despite my countless visits to the nations capital I had never ever been in this area and I didn’t exactly stay too long as I had to go and meet a couple of old schoolmates in St James’ Park (above) whilst my girlfriend did do some shopping albeit in the shops close to Harrods.
Whilst I’m not really a fan of most tourist places in London one area which I like a lot is Camden Town. What with its international culture and bustling markets full of ethnic food, this is a pretty cool place and the location where I met up again with both my girlfriend and Richard. Along with baby Tatsu we went into ‘The Worlds End’ pub (nothing to do with the recently released Simon Pegg film of the same name!) to meet Will who we used to work with in Japan a few years ago.
Another ex-colleague was met the next day in the form of Asif (who has appeared on this site numerous times over the years) who we met for lunch by the river before heading on to the British Museum. However, my girlfriend wasn’t feeling at all well so we didn’t venture beyond the lobby and instead just chilled out in the outside grounds of the place.
For our final night in England we returned to my sisters house which is currently being renovated which explains why she is doing the washing-up in the bath in the picture below! With my parents down in London the next day we all went out for a boat cruise along the Thames from Kingston to Hampton Court Palace followed by a pub lunch and that pretty much brought the curtain down on my first trip to my homeland in the Summer time for a good ten years and it sure was nice for me (and my girlfriend on her first visit) to see the country at this time of year.