Thursday, June 25, 2009

Travel and Review: London Part 8

From Paris, I travel back to London, this time I stayed near the west-end of the city. If you read my blog from earlier on, you will see that London city itself is divided into many sectors. I had the opportunity to stay in a small yet charmed hotel that goes by the name Rhodes Hotel.


Its just 5 minutes from Lancaster Gate station which is just a few stations away from Oxford St ~ a shopping paradise.

But the room is small ~ I actually felt like Harry Potter. But you cannot beat the price~ at 70 pounds, its value for money especially considering its location.

Simple amenities, and lovely hosts. What else could you ask for?

My first stop the next day after staying overnight in the hotel is Oxford St. Here you can find rows of shops ranging from average to exorbitant prices. 2 hours on Oxford St is not enough especially if you are a shopaholic.

And if there isn’t enough, just hop onto the train and a few minutes later you will reach the famous Harrods Shopping Centre.

Everything here is equally expensive and whatever you can find here, you can find along Oxford St. The only thing , in my opinion that is not available at Oxford St, are the products branded Harrods which range from teddy bears, to tote bags to cookies. And they do have plenty of Harrods cookies.

I did not take the Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing bus (the picture above) but if you don’t want to take the subway train, this is definitely a good alternative.

At Harrods there is one shop that you need to make a stop and is a must-visit. It is none other than….

The ice cream is just creamy and super duper nice. I am not sure whether its as good as an Italian ice-cream (have not been to Italy) but for me, at the point of time, its the best ice-cream I have ever tasted.

However, if you prefer a cheaper shopping experience, then from Lancaster Gate station just exit one station after at the Marble Arc station. Here the shops are much more reasonable in prices.

After a fun filled shopping spree day, returning to Rhodes hotel for the night was a good time to rest and heal the body from the aches of the muscles.
Next day, however I decided to pack myself up and move to the East side of London city so as to experience a more educational side of the city.

So off I went to stay at Hilton Euston. And I have to tell you, this hotel is impressive. Service is top notch and the room is super spacious. After staying in the Harry Potter’s dorm, this room just felt like a house!

After settling down, I began my walk towards Russel Square which is just 15 minutes away. Since Hilton Euston is around academics centres finding cheap internet cafes is easy as pie.
Once you reach Russel Square, another 5 minutes will allow you to reach the British Museum.

I am always very surprised how something complimentary like the entrance to this museum allows the management to be able to maintain it in such pristine condition. The exhibits were awesome as well.
Free can be good and one example is the British Museum.

If you happen to be in the east of London City, make a visit to the British Museum. Its huge and filled with awesome exhibits.

There are times in which everything must come to an end so does this trip of mine. It was fantastic while it lasts.

Next destination: New Zealand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Travel and Review : Paris Part 7

From London, Paris is just 2hours away via the EuRail. For around 50euros for a return trip, you will be immersed in a world unlike London yet still holds its charms for its fashion elegance and historical/cultural masterpiece.
Alight at Gare Du Nord station and from there its a matter of taking the rapid transit aka subway trains. You can pretty much get anywhere using the train even to Paris Disneyland!

Paris is undeniably a great place to visit. Of course it is highly recommended to visit this city with that special someone. But even if you are a lone traveller like myself, the charm still exists. If you allow the city to engulf you , I am pretty sure you will be soak into its atmosphere that is filled with arts and french lifestyle.

A good hotel(more B&B than hotel) to stay in would be the Hotel Valadon. It is just minutes away from the iconic monument aka Eiffel Tower. Located just along Rue Valadon (thats Valadon St in English) it is a nice alternative compared to staying in a hotel. Nice host and clean spacious room.

I love this walkway to the basement bathroom!

Simple yet cosy environment. This is how the Parisian live so its a nice way to experience it at Valadon.

Of course you cannot not visit Paris without visiting the Tour Eiffel aka Eiffel Tower. If the picture looks good, the real thing will truly amaze you. Before I reach, it never cross my mind how something so metallic can be romantic but if you reach the top either via strenuous walk up the steps or taking the elevator, the view is sure to be truly romantic and majestic.

View of the Champs Du Mars from the Eiffel Tower.

Another view from the Eiffel Tower.

Night view of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris is a walking city ~ you can pretty much get to anywhere on foot. However, if you are like me who prefer to just enjoy the view and don’t want to tire your foot, then by taking the Hop On Hop Off bus available near the Eiffel Tower, you will pretty much get to see the whole city in a day.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Shop shop shop (cheap stores – mostly product made in China)

Louis Vuitton along Champs Elysees. (expensive stores – made in france)

A mixture of affordable to expensive clothes. The higher the floor , the more expensive the clothes are.

The famous Arc De Triomphe – be careful though lots of pickpockets here. I even saw one happening right in front of me. (I was on the bus while this occur by the pavement side)

The must see museum in Paris aka The Lourve. It closes on Tuesday.


Of course the enigmatic Mona Lisa……….I don’t know why but even though its rather a long walk away from the entrance of the museum, its worth every muscles in your body to walk there. Expects lots of crowd.

Unfortunately, yours truly only have 3 days in Paris. (2 days to be exact as I reach Paris rather late in the evening on day 1. But if you only have a weekend in Paris, then the above is a must see.

Yours truly will definitely visit this great city again.