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The Garden of England

Kent, England; 51.2878° N, 0.0565° E

all seasons in one day
View My dream trip around half the world on ZK_15's travel map.

Box Hill, Surrey

The four of us got back to England at around 6 am (what sucks about no frills airlines are that the flights are really early, sometimes even at 3-4 am, but you get what you paid for!). We weren't really jet lagged, since there's no time difference. Our family friends' came to pick us up and the girls in their Jeep, then we headed to their apartment in London. We left the luggages we don't need there, because this is the flat to which we will be coming back a day before we leave to head back home. (No :() Then, we headed to the restaurant a few hours later. We had an early lunch then we went to Surrey, which wasn't too far. There, we visited Box Hill, which is where the cyclists from the London 2012 Olympics were competing. (On the road of course)

After enjoying the view, sitting down talking, relaxing a lot at Box Hill, we hit the road and left the busy London area/Surrey for Sandwich, Kent. We were actually heading to their house for the few days that we'll be spending here. I am also really looking forward to it, because we haven't really been on the countryside that much yet.

One of the tastiest cakes we ever bought

Traffic and the highways or roads in general in England are terrible, so it took us about 2 hours before we arrived at the farm near their house. There, we bought one of the tastiest cake I have ever tasted and the best thing was that it was homemade from the people of that farm! It was a walnut cake. We then headed to their house for some afternoon tea.

We then relaxed a bit, and got the chance to talk to our parents from back home before they head to work. The girls, my sister and I played some board games after they showed us around the house. It was heartbreaking to hear that their son had died about 16 years back in his room. He had cancer and it was around the time when my dad came to visit them.

The streets of Sandwich

In Kent, we were staying in Sandwich. It is the actually the town from which the own company, they sometimes get called in. They own two nursing homes in Kent. They asked us if we wanted to come along and they would show us around one of the houses. So we went. It was pretty nice out too, so we were glad and we were also excited to see how it would turn out, since it is something a bit different. I wonder how it would be like to have your own company and being able to be your own boss!


Boats at Ramsgate

Ramsgate at another angle

Since the nursing home was close to Ramsgate, a seaside town in Kent, near Sandwich, they took that opportunity to bring us there. At Ramsgate, there was a beach, but since it was quite chilly, it was empty. People were rather eating at the restaurants around. We shopped, ate, sat at the beach (even if we weren't prepared for the beach, I mean who'd expect that in the middle of nowhere), went to the arcade, etc...

Sandwich life

Then we headed back to the farm life. We spent some time horseback riding and gardening.

Our other days in Sandwich, we spent it sightseeing at other little towns nearby, such as Dover, where we got to see the White Cliffs of Dover, the Dover Castle, etc. From Dover, there were ferry rides to go to Calais, France. Basically with or without your car, you're allowed to board and spend a day or so in France. Unfortunate for us though, we had left our passport back at the apartment in London, so we were not able to go.

Around Dover

What I also noticed in England is that there are many roundabouts everywhere and I hate them. To me, they look really confusing, but I don't know.

Roundabout in Dover

Oh well, now we are back in London and that only means one thing; another goodbye here to our friends and also this is another beginning or should I say we're going back to the old routine. But then again, after spending sixty days out of home, I don't think it can be the same again, especially after we learned and experienced so much in such a short time. As much as I will miss being able to travel, I must say - I cannot wait to get home!

Posted by ZK_15 14:56 Archived in England Comments (0)

The Big Smoke

London, England; 51.5171° N, 0.1062° W

all seasons in one day
View My dream trip around half the world on ZK_15's travel map.

The City of London

We weren't planning on coming in Western Europe at all, since we were supposed to be visiting only three regions; North America, South America and Africa. However, from Mauritius, the tickets to go straight to Morocco were either expensive (as in not within our budget-from 1,641) or it wasn't offered. But anyway, we have decided to come to England from Mauritius, since we have family here and we could just take a no frills airline to Morocco, our final destination in Africa.

A rainy day out

As soon as we landed in London at 5:30 am, it was raining out. The atmosphere was quite depressing. But then again, we learned from our aunt and uncle that in one day, there can be four seasons. We rested a bit when we got to their place at 6 until about 8:30 am. They live in Ilford, about half an hour from the city. We had breakfast, then left to go for some sightseeing. We took the London Golden Tours, where we hopped on the red tour bus and sat at the rooftop. We plugged in the earphones we got and every time we arrived at a landmark, we heard a brief history of it. We decided to first sit and listen to everything before getting off at a certain attraction. It took us about 2 hours for everything. Then, our first stop was the Big Ben. We only took pictures around and then moved on. We took a 30 minute ride on the London Eye, then went to the Tower of London, a boat trip on the River Thames, Westminster Abbey and the Tower Bridge.

Trafalgar Square

Since we had the tickets for the tour, we didn't have to pay for the big red buses or the underground tube to go around. We were allowed to get on at any time. But, it was only valid for 24 hours and we were only going to be in London from the 13th to the 15th, so on the second day, we got the opportunity to watch the Changing of the Guards at 11 am at the Buckingham Palace. We then spent about half an hour in Trafalgar Square, and then visited the surrounding art galleries and museums, since they are free of charge. We got to go to Tate Modern, the British Museum, and the British Library.

Saw this in John Lewis at Westfield mall, it is made of jellybeans!

On our last day, we only spent half the day at Westfield Mall in Stratford. There are two Westfields in London, the other one is Sheppard's Bush. Although it is much more new and nicer, both Westfields were really nice. We came to England as a family vacation last year during the summer and that was when we got the chance to visit both of them. But, as for this time, I think we only have time for one! Oh well.

So british

Also while wandering around in Westfield, we stopped at shop and saw this, it was quite funny but it is very true to any tea lovers!

Department store Marks & Spencer's café/restaurant

One of my favorite shops in London is Marks & Spencer. It is a department store equivalent to JC Penney or Macy's in the USA and The Bay for Canada. They also have a style of coffee shop/restaurant, where they sell different kinds of food, such as lunch, tea, dinner, desserts, etc... And they did have a wonderful afternoon tea!

Afternoon tea in Marks & Spencer

In Canada, most people wouldn't go out for tea at a department store or a very fancy tea shop, let's say. But in the United Kingdom, or maybe I should say in England, they take tea very seriously, so there isn't really a fast-food tea shop like how we have Tim Hortons. Either way, I love the fact that there is a lot of tea shops everywhere and there is also high class tea, so most of the time, someone would be drinking tea in a nice teacup.

Costa Coffee, it is basically the Tim Hortons of England

But Costa Coffee could somewhat compare a tiny (just a little bit, I'd say) to Timmy's.

British coins

Also before leaving for Morocco, we were about to exchange our coins for some dirhams, and then I realized how cool the coins in Britain are! The pound sterlings are put together and they form the British coat of arms- it's epic!

Posted by ZK_15 13:39 Archived in England Comments (0)

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