On Thursday, 5 July 2011 Abah sent us off to KL Sentral and we took the ERL to KLIA. All went on smoothly and we enjoyed the 13 hour journey to Heathrow; talking, eating and sleeping!! On arrival, someone already there to take us to our hotel, the Apex London Wall which was located close to Ibu's office. The journey was about an hour since we arrived during peak time when everybody is rushing back home from work. Dini had her first taste of the weather in London, cold (15 to 17 degrees) and wet although it was summer and enjoyed the view along the way which was about 25km to the central London.
The hotel is in a financial district area with the Bank of England, Stock Exchange and many banks located nearby. The hotel was quite strategically located, just 5 minutes walk to either Moorgate of Bank tube stations. Another tube station, the Liverpool Street which was slightly further was closed for upgrading. We finally arrived around 6pm and Ibu has requested for the room to be upgraded with a balcony since Dini will be spending at least two days in the room when Ibu is at work. The room was perfect and nice. It even has an iPod docker, luckily Dini brought her iPod along!!!
After freshen up, we walked around the area to get some provisions since we will be staying there for 6 days. We walked towards Liverpool Street to look for Tesco but instead we found M&S Simply Food outlet and bought some food and drinks. On the way back, we got lost and the rain started pouring. Luckily we found our way back to the hotel and stop at an Indian Restaurant, Mehek for dinner. We did not anticipate that the weather would be so cold and wet and did not bring any thick clothings! The hot briyani kept us warm. That night Ibu could not sleep because of jet lag and had trouble staying awake the next day!!!
The next two days, Ibu spent almost the whole day in the office and Dini spent most of the time in the room. She slept, ate, study, watched tv and played with her notebook on her first day and on the second day, she was bold enough to walk on her own guided by a map in hand. She walked to the London Museum but it was opened only at 10am and she was there at 9am. She then walked towards the London Bridge and was shocked to know that it is a normal bridge. The Tower Bridge was next to the London Bridge and was quite a distance to walk. So she finally made a turn back to the hotel. Many people mistook London Bridge with Tower Bridge, probably because of the song.
Every morning we prepared our own breakfast, scramble eggs, sautee mushroom/asparagus with baked beans. Luckily we brought along travelling cooker so we could cook simple stuff just to fill up the stomach. We actually took turn to cook! For lunch, Dini would make herself mamee mee goreng and would improvise to make it more tastier with the cosway prawn shrimp, garlic, veges and bawang goreng! She texed me just to tell that she made the most delicious mee goreng!! At night, before we went out on our tour, we would eat something "alas perut", bread with serunding or sambal ikan bilis or maggi. There's a lot of halal restaurants in London. KFC and subway are also halal, so food is not really a problem.
Since the day is longer and 9pm still bright and sunny, after work we went out to the West End; Selfridges closed at 10pm and Harrods at 9pm. The first night we went shopping along the Oxford Street and grab some cardigans for us....weather was still very cold and windy. The next night we spent our time at Piccadily Circus and Knightsbridge exploring the sales in Harrods. Took the opportunity to try the famous fish and chips and Indonesian Tiger Prawn at the Sea Grill and the bill came up to 60 pounds!!
We travel either by bus or the underground. It was easy with the oyster card and Ibu bought the card with 7 days validity although we only used it for 6 days. Many people used the underground to get from one place to another but changing the tube from one line to another can be tiring especially during peak hours. We normally opted to take the bus back to hotel at night so we could experience London by night. You can seat comfortably on the top deck of the double decker bus and breath fresh air compared with taking the tube whish can be crowded and stuffy.
That covers the accomodation, food, transportation and what we did for the first two days. Dini was not feeling well the first few days in London, probably due to the cold weather. Nevertheless, her spirit remains high and the thought of being in London and enjoying every single moment keeps her going.