• alokin@post.com
  • Sofia, Bulgaria
London – A Diverse, Unique & Big City – My experience

London – A Diverse, Unique & Big City – My experience

Yes, London. A dream place of mine to go to someday. And soon, the time came. Starting from tomorrow, until the II November, I will publish photos I’ve taken in the city and I will add short but expressive texts to every single one, hence the fact that England is where English was created. Thanks for tuning in!

October 28th: Arrival

After checking in Sofia Airport, I went to the international zone with my family. Oh boy was I happy. I hadn’t experienced that much joy since I went to Kavala earlier this year! It was amazing to know that I was going to go to another country across Europe. Back to the topic, we sat at a nice cafe. The prices were unusually high, but that is what is to be expected in such area. I really shouldn’t be complaining about this.

After being notified by my app about which gate we need to go to, we went to wait in line. We were flying with Ryanair, so we bought a Priority boarding ticket to get into the line quicker. But when it happened, it turned out that there were more people on Priority than there were with no priority! That was funny to me and my father. We got onto the bus that transferred us to the plane and my family found some of their old friends. We then boarded the plane.

Yes, it says “Lauda”, but it was not any different than a Ryanair flight.

Upon takeoff, we were given the chance to order things from three services, from which I could order from 2, as the last one is alcohol and tobacco. Things were as expected – expensive. For me and my mother, I spent a total of €25 for two sandwiches, two waters and 2 chocolate bars. Generally, it was very boring. Three hours of nothing. At least I played some offline games on my phone and binged on snacks. The flight was very well steered. We arrived on time.

After deplaning, we headed towards the “Prepare your passport” sign in Stansted airport. While we expected the passport check booth, we actually saw a shuttle line in the form of a subway. We went in the coming train. It was fast and a lot of people came in and out. Once we arrived, we were told to go to an electronic passport check booth. It was fast and straightforward. You touch your passport to the scanner and look at the screen and it lets you through. And with that, we were officially tourists in the United Kingdom. My father wanted to get something to eat, but his card got declined. Mine was also declined. We just used cash.

After getting out of the airport, we went to the Uber pickup spot and ordered an Uber. Our experience was flawless. The driver was amazing and related to us. It was an hour ride, but it went fast.

After heading to Piccadilly Circus, I am shocked. It’s amazing there. Here are some photos of the wonderful park and the famous road after it:

Simply put, this is one of the magical things I have seen so far. Amazing food, buildings, music and shops! I totally recommend visiting this walk, as it is just spectacular.

On the next day, me and my family went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The figures were very well made and were mostly very famous Hollywood stars. Despite that, there was one area that was my most favourite. The Royal Family were also made from wax and had the longest queues for pictures! There were Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Majesty King Charles III, His Majesty Duke of Edinburgh Philip, Her Majesty Queen Consort Camilla, Her Majesty Queen of Wales Diana and much more! It is a very interesting place for people who have a lot of film culture and celebrity culture.

Wax figures of The King and Queen Consort and other Royal Family members at Madame Tussaud’s London

Later that day, we went to Sea Life Aquarium of London. It was a very interesting and unique aquarium that had experiences that I had only seen on YouTube. Going through all of the experiences was something new and amazing to me. If you asked me what my favourite part of the aquarium was, I’d say the penguins! It was my first time seeing penguins in real life, living in their natural (artificially made) habitat. All of them looked amazing and were really funny.

Three standing penguins at Sea Life Aquarium of London

Our last adventure of that day was my favourite. We paid a ticket to go on a spin in the London Eye. For your information, the tallest point of the wheel is 138 meters. Perfect altitude for viewing the City of Westminster, Waterloo and surrounding areas. On the other side of Thames was the emblematic Elizabeth Tower (or Big Ben). The line to get on was around 25-30 minutes long, which was actually a lot less than I expected. People of the staff team were direct and fast to not interrupt the normal flow of the queue.

Getting in is something really easy, and the cabin is not very fast. It stops from time to time to accommodate more people in each cabin. As of the design of the cabin, it was in the shape of a pill with curved windows that you could view the amazing sights through. In the middle of the pill-shaped cabin there are benches for people that want to sit down. There is active air conditioning, which allows for a better viewing experience.

Once we all got to the 138 meter mark, we all were taking pictures of the endless city. It was wonderful to actually see where you are from the top of the city. It seemed like a moment of realisation of how different London was when put against Sofia (Bulgaria’s capital). I am not the type of person to travel a lot, so it was something new, different for me to be in London.

(insert photos of London Eye)

After we got out of the pill, we met with very close friends and went to the M&M store, where there were endless amounts of candy. So much colour, so much candy, so much souvenirs. It really felt like an endless store, despite it not being marginally big.

(insert photos of M&M store)

The following day was one I would never forget.

On that day, we had booked a round trip via the Thames river from Westminster Pier to Greenwich Pier and back. It was something amazing! You could see all the pubs, business centres, flats, houses, etc. The guider was an amazing explainer and told the people on the cruise we were on what the places we passed through were. There sure were a lot. Here are some pictures:

(insert pictures of thames walk)

Even though the river walk was amazing, there was another thing that I had planned, that had been a dream of mine ever since I was seven years old. It was something in The Shard – London’s tallest building. I wanted to go to a restaurant high up in the air. Beforehand, my family was searching to dine somewhere different for once. I proposed my dream and it came true. With the help of Oblix At The Shard, I finally fulfilled my dream.

It was the best restaurant I had ever seen, and the views made it the best of the best. I was on the 32nd floor of The Shard, in London, in the UK. The views were spectacular. The city was revealed at night and it was endless. A true miracle to me. The waiters at the restaurant were wonderful and the food was amazing. Sure, it was quite expensive, but it was totally in range of what the restaurant held.

(insert pictures of Oblix)

That was an amazing day. The next day was similarly good.

Day III was an amazing day for my inner tech nerd. In the afternoon, we went to Oxford Circus. Oxford Circus is a very famous shopping centre, specifically known for two shops. Microsoft Experience Store and Apple Regent St. I, as usual, went to both of the shops. I firstly went to the Microsoft store. I saw a lot of things I hadn’t previously seen from Microsoft.

One thing that caught my attention was the Surface Duo. It’s a phone that has a dual-screen foldable chassis. It ran Android with a skin by Microsoft and was really nice to hold. Additionally, on the second floor of the store, the thing that impressed me the most was that there was an original Xbox stereotype on display. There was also a gaming area, where you can go and game all your favourite games on Xbox Series X. There was even a big TV with a couch where you can watch movies and play on a big screen with up to three people.

(insert photos of microsoft)

Next up was the Apple Store. It was also a dream of mine to buy something from an Apple Store. That was my only chance. The store was about as good as I expected it to be. Clean, in code, staff in blue, testing tables, lots of devices, etc. I wanted to get an AirTag for my keys from Bulgaria, but decided to get them from Apple Regent St. with the inclusion of a little premium. The experience was flawless, despite my bill being only $39. I loved it.

After some loose cellular connection between me and my father (Thanks, Vodafone UK!), we went to a very famous place, which became even more famous since the Queen’s passing.

We went to Buckingham Palace.

The palace was very big, golden gates, union flag, everything was just as I expected. The thing I liked the most about that roundabout was the Victoria memorial. It was an amazing sight blended with the amazing weather that we hit.

One thing I found usual, but also unusual was how expensive the food shops had priced their stocks. A hot dog from a nearby stand with Brioche bread and a regular sausage was $6. In Bulgaria, it’s barely $2. Nevertheless, I got one of the hot dogs and it was average. Not worth it for the price, but it was a nice lunch, in front of the palace.

After that long walk across half of Central London, we decided to take a break in our hotel. After the break, we headed towards a suburban town in Southeastern London to visit our close friends and go do Halloween trick-or-treating with people from the neighbourhood. The town had a very nice and cozy feel to it and the night-halloween vibe made it really nice to walk around in. Halloween was vastly different in the United Kingdom as supposed to Bulgaria. It’s because they have it in their tradition, but we have it as a trend. Tradition always is more regular than a trend and lasts for longer.

People actually made their efforts to have attractive houses with outdoor decorations, scary costumes, weird speeches that made you giggle and so on! I loved it – it was the most memorable Halloween I had ever celebrated in my life. I also got on well with all the locals.

The next morning we went back to our hotel and packed out bags. We waited a bit more and left for the airport five hours before our flight. To be perfectly honest, it was enough for me to do my souvenir shopping, sweet shopping and studying. The prices were a bit inflated, but it is to be expected in a widely international zone, in one of the biggest European metropolitan cities.

Eventually, we boarded the plane and landed back in Sofia at midnight.

As a summary of our trip, I must say that London is a very diverse city. There’s something from every corner of the world. Modern, old-fashioned, cozy architecture; possibly all of human races (just to say, I am not saying this in a bad demeanour, in fact, I encourage people feeling good about their race, religion, etc. All comments that have racist components will be removed and even blacklisted from the website if needed) and mostly – charming.

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