EATANDTREATS London Travel Diary: PART ONE!

13.11.00

The urge and diligence to write this post is pacing, few more days and I might lose the diligence and excitement to blog about my London trip so here you go!!!

Decided to divide the whole trip to a few posts because I want to keep the excitement going plus I can't share you one thousand plus photos on one post.

LONDON! I don’t even know how to begin with London but I have been raving about London for quite some time since I was there and even until now. If not going home is the option, I’ll probably take that, but again, few more days and I’ll be broke as joke! Everything is CRAZY expensive in London, like...insane. Despite that, London is SUPER BEAUTIFUL, everything is so gorgeous, the architectures were so classic, vintage and victorian! It even gets hard for me to find the proper word to emphasize the gorgeousness, so I guess each and every pence that I spent there was worth it! I don't even know if in the future I would be able to visit London again, but crossed fingers for that.

Before I begin writing you the whole story, some people and one major role needed to be thanked! First and upmost important: GOD for giving me this valuable chance, simply THE ONE I couldn’t thank enough and almost impossible, secondly, The Chowzter team for organizing everything, especially Jeffrey Merrihue (aka BIG BOSS), Natalia, Nicole, Justin and to all the fellow chief Chowzters, it had been such pleasure meeting you and spending four days sharing conversations about food! I kinda miss you all already!

QATAR FLY LOVE
Ticket fare back and forth to London with Qatar ($1633 or IDR 18.950.000) - 1$ = IDR 11.6k

I flew to the UK with Qatar Airways, very packed and friggin 21 hours flight (including the transit), it was actually a good flight only that I couldn’t sleep!

From all the airlines that I've experienced my whole life, I proudly honor Qatar as the airline with THE BEST IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT, I mean, I couldn't sleep, but I watched great movies the whole time, I mean the update of the movies man, hysterical in the best way! They had most of this year's Oscar blockbusters like American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips and many more. I was very entertained!

Got four meals along the flight and three of them were frittatas, eat like boring -.-". Overall the meals were pretty decent and that croissant you're seeing now might be ugly and not convincing but it was good!
Touchdown Doha International Airport! The flight alone took 8 hours from Jakarta to here *sigh*. The airport reminded me a lot about Soekarno Hatta Terminal 3, pretty much look a like but nothing really special.
Thank goodness for Duty Free, left my perfume back in JKT and I bought another one here.
After two hours transit, now it's time to head to London! *excited*


The first day in London was very tiring: lack of sleep + jetlag + missing luggage! Yes, my luggage was freaking missing!!! I couldn’t be more terrified back then because every single thing was in the luggage, I thought this trip would be a disaster especially if I couldn’t take any picture and documenting anything for the blog! Thankfully, the team from Qatar was attentive enough in handling it and my luggage was safely delivered the day after :).

But all those negative energies kinda faded away after I saw this, just few minutes away from the Heathrow International Airport. 

It was just so freaking gorgeous I asked the driver to stop by! Most neighborhood in the UK actually looked like this. My pictures didn't do the justice as the feeling you have here *pointing to the heart* is different when you experience it yourself, along with the cool weather and the mild breeze on your skin.

You're going to see more of these on the upcoming posts, I know you are excited!

I believe not only me, but everyone who travels must have googled the A-Z of their destinations, I learned that London rains 220 days (could be less or more) out of the year and the warmest London could be is probably 25-30 degree celcius which was still cool enough comparing to JKT. I looked at the AccuWeather and London was on its colder state with 12-18 degree during my stay... so freaking cold! If you've ever been to Genting Highland before, it's that kind of cold and sometimes during the morning and the night, it got doubled! The missing luggage was totally the royal pain in my skin damnit.

Even after four airplane meals and countless apple juices later, I was still super hungry, so I asked the driver to join me for lunch and I asked him to take me wherever he thought decent enough to eat...he recommended me to Nando's, at first I was like... seriously... but he convinced me that Nando's in London equals to 'kick-ass' so I decided to go with the ride!

First meal in London! Nando's Value Meal for a shocking 20 pounds! (IDR 400k)
The pricing was non-sense, I used to have this in Malaysia for way cheaper price but hey, it's London, bitches! The value meal consist of one whole chicken and gotta tell you this, it ain't your medium sized whole chicken, this one was a monster (read: huge), it's almost double the size of the whole chicken courses I found in Jakarta. Anyway this one was really good, the chicken was ultra tender and since we ordered the spicy one, this one was indeed spicy! Make sure you have this with their spicy-vinegar sauce for more kick!

Since everything was inside the luggage including the shampoo and the soap (for some reasons can't use hotels' bath products), just across Nando's there was this mini mart called "Tesco", Tesco is the most famous mini and supermarkets in London, it's like the Indomaret or Alfamart here. Another thing that I love about London is that in certain areas, you'll find people selling fresh flowers and I mean FRESH blossomed! So so so beautiful I must sneakily took pictures.



Look what I found! A double decker!

STAYING AT THE HOXTON
Room rate per night ranges from 255 pounds to 300 pounds (IDR 4,9 - 5.85 mil)

I stayed three nights at The Hoxton Hotel, just 1 hour away from the airport, that's without the traffic, sometimes the traffic in London could be totally insane, even worse than Jakarta! The Hoxton was actually a four-star city hotel located in Shoreditch (east London), the hotel was not the grandest and the room was not spacious but it had that vintage and hipsterish design, but personally, it’s probably one of the most comfortable rooms I’ve ever been. That petite size made everything even BETTER! It was just in a way proper and efficient.
The lobby area of Hoxton Hotel seemed so comfortable. This was also the public lounge area where everyone (doesn't have to be hotel guests) could sit and sip their coffees or cocktails.
Fireplace is surely essential.

MY ROOM TOUR!
Check in was smooth and easy, took less than three minutes. The room was completed with indoor bathroom, LED TV, digital radio, phone with one hour complimentary usage, king size bed, one couch and each customer was granted with complimentary breakfast, gotta save the breakfast surprise for the upcoming post.
The paperbag you're seeing is actually for the upcoming breakfast. Guess guess!
I also kinda like the bathroom, not grand grand but I just love something that's efficient and simple, but I just got one criticism here, I honestly think they should provide combs, tooth brush and tooth paste, I just realized how important this was since I was the victim of a missing luggage, but thankfully I brought Qatar's amenity kit in my bag and that was like nature call magic. Totally saved my life!


No matter how tired I was, I won't spent any fucking minute sleeping around getting lazy because it's my 'duty' to surf London, be excited and have a good time! Been contacting with Catherine from Camemberu, but since her flight arrived two hours later, I guess I better did my own Shoreditch sightseeing and capture some moments.
Spiderman street painting, just in time because Spiderman was going to be in theater that time.
Not far from The Hoxton, there's this cute coffee shop which I poured my heart out, so tiny but seemed so heartwarming.
NICE QUICK WALK BUT COULDN'T STAND THE COLD!

After Catherine arrived and we made new friends like Anton from OurAwesomePlanet, the asians (hahaha) went having our first dinner in London, since it was freezing as hell and I didn't have any jacket with me, we decided to have our dinner nearby the hotel and I was desiring something hot with soup. Our pick went for this Vietnamese restaurant called Banh Mi, just 3 minutes away from our hotel.
The restaurant was just cute, not very spacious but comforting enough. Without any second thought, we ordered two beef pho (10.5 pounds/IDR 205k - each) and we shared the Banh Mi (5.5 pounds/IDR 105k). Technically we're eating around 3AM Indonesia time and for a very casual dinner, we spent IDR 500k *blood vomit*, the Pho was not my favorite, there's something weird with the broth and the meat was a little dry and overcooked but on the other hand, the Banh Mi was really good, fresh and the meat was given pretty generously.

...and just like that the first day in London ended!

Lucky enough I was completely jetlag immune, I didn't have that much problem with my sleeping pattern, it only last for few hours after I arrive in London and I had a very lovely sleep.

I am very excited about writing this, it almost feels like I am recaping everything, the feeling that I am experiencing is pretty much a mix: I am glad that I have been to London, I am sad that I am not in London but most importantly, I am happy to share everything to you right this second. Stay tuned for the upcoming posts! More stories and photos to share! Thanks for reading :).

To read the post about UK visa application -> HERE!

The Hoxton Hotel
81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU
Shoreditch, United Kingdom
+4420 7550 1000

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