London weekend trip

London is a great city to visit. Having been there quite a few times now, the experience is always different. To celebrate my dad becoming special professor at the Leiden University, we decided it was time for a city trip.

My father, brother and I decided on staying in the beautiful St. Ermin’s hotel, right in the heart of Westminster. A nice old fashioned hotel, on crawling distance from Buckingham Palace. My hotel room had a view of New Scotland Yard.

We spent a lot of time walking through the city, seeing the sights, and actually for the first time ever, took a bus tour of the city. The bus tour was a surprisingly good decision, as it finally tied all the landmarks together in such a way that you actually get an idea of how the city is put together. A view usually lacking when visiting everything by tube.

Some highlights

  • Arriving at the Hotel with a Lamborghini parked in front. It makes you feel like you made the right choice.
  • Breakfast at Pret-a-manger. The Netherlands lack a nice lunch or breakfast chain like that. The food is mostly handmade, natural and very fresh. It’s a bit pricey, but so totally worth it.
  • Creepy North Ireland Ulster hooligans marching through the streets on Sunday. A very fascinating thing in fact; that protests seem to need to have a marching band.
  • Bookshops! I love to read, but mostly in English. Unsurprisingly London offers a lot in very large bookshops. I bought some nice reading in Oxford street.
  • Taking night pictures. One evening, late, I decided to take my camera and a tripod, and take some photographs of Big Ben and such. The square was lovely quiet, and it’s nice to just have to walk a few minutes to get there.
  • So many new buildings!

At my brothers suggestion we spent one day going to the Harry Potter experience. I wasn’t a fan of the Harry Potter movies, but I am a fan of great setbuilding. And I wasn’t disappointed. The experience consists mainly of a museum of all the set pieces and props used in the movies. It’s great to see them up close, and to a surprisingly high degree, hold up to scrutiny. It’s all incredibly detailed.

Getting home turned out to be a bit of an issue; there was a general public transport strike on the day we left. Keeping a watchful eye on events as they unfolded over a few days, we finally decided to just book a taxi in advance, and take enough time to get out of the city, which was predicted to be completely gridlocked. Driving through the city of London in a taxi is an experience in itself. Dodging tourists and weaving the car through tiny streets, the good man managed to get us to the airport, somehow.