My sisters joined me for this trip hoping to catch up with their old classmates and friends and to recapture the memories of the London during their training days. While we were planning the trip, she had been trying to contact Diana and her husband Mr. Lee but was not successful. So we just tried our luck while on the way to London and we were able to contact her on the phone while on the train!
Right: Diana, Mr. Lee and Mrs C.
Behind: my sisters May and Yoke.
We took the morning train from Cardiff and arrived at the Paddington Station, London just around lunchtime.
We have booked the St George hotel near the Paddington Station and we managed to locate the hotel but check in time was only after 2 pm, so we left our luggage with the reception.
We made our way to Chinatown where we were to meet with Diana for lunch. She took us to the Chinese Restaurant Loong Foong for dimsum. They are well acquainted with the staff as they always come for their Sunday dimsum here. Food was large portions and tasty as well especially the Fried Meehoon with salted fish and Roasted Duck! The chef here is from Hongkong. It was a very happy meal, old friends catching up on the news and everyone chatting nonstop.
Of course they insisted that we stay with them and offered to take us around.
So after lunch Diana became our official tour guide.. first stop to the Hippodrome Casino (estb 1900) ....by the way this is not the main entrance. The interior decor is very lavish and grand but I think our casino is much bigger.
silhouette of Agatha Christie (author) along the way to Covent Garden
Yam Seng - to old classmates coming together again. Free tasting of Rose- refreshing and we did not just stop at one as we can already feel the summer heat. We also got some free samples of butter ... yes a whole size tub ... that's one year's supply for Diana and her hubby!
inside the Covent Garden- oh it definitely look very different from the Covent Garden as seen in My Fair Lady.... so sophisticated and upmarket shops.
among the shops.. Ladurees Macarons !
handmade soaps and creams
The Royal Opera House but it was closed
The British and their teas...
Just look at the maddening crowds everywhere......
We continue on walking and come around to Neal's Yard. If you are expecting a huge place, you will be disappointed....
But the colourful shop facades are attractive and interesting
However, we straightaway made a beeline for the Neals Yard Remedies - shop selling organic natural health and beauty product. We slathered on loads of their sample sunblock and cooled our faces with the herbal face mist.
We have reached the place called Seven Dials, where 7 roads meet at this point. ...
I can only take this photo with the three roads.
Coming out of this place, we came to the Harrods ...the biggest department store in Europe.
It started its business as a draper by Charles Henry Harrods and moved to its premises in 1849. It was gutted by fire and was rebuilt to its grander scale in 1883. It was bought by the Fayed brothers in 1985 and later in 2010 Qatar Holdings become the new owners (wiki).
No doubt to visit the Food Hall is compulsory, but there is also another interesting must-see exhibit in Harrods....
It is the memorial for Princes Diana and Dodi Fayed
The engagement ring that he bought was on displayed too and there is signature book that you can pen your words and thoughts.
The Food Halls were packed with people...
and I only took this photo of these cakes .......... I can see that many of the foods items are not that fresh and too many people walking around and gaping at them ... I just felt it is not hygienic to me... It is more impressive to look at some of the exclusive merchandise like...
.....this Grand baby piano....
and this beautiful crystal table and chandelier.
All very expensive items.... even the tiny plastic tote bag with the Harrods logo costs GPB4.00, (if I am not mistaken).
one of the window display....
Along this street we can find traditional shops...
Truefitt & Hill established 1805 and the shaving kits.
We are approaching the palace...
Must take photo... the guard with the ladies of course.....
There is another Princes Diana memorial in the Hyde park which we did not go inside
Even though there is no Changing of the Guards now, still a crowd around.
The Buckingham Palace
The Victoria Memorial in front of the palace.
This memorial was dedicated to the Queen Victoria in 1911 by 2 of her gransons. There is 2,300 tons of white marble used here. The statues surrounding the monument are the Angel of Justice, Angel of Truth and Charity while the top is probably the Peace ad Victory.
people cooling off at the fountain...
you are walking in the Queen's territory....
The Wellington Arch near the Hyde Park Corner. This arch has a sculpture of the Angel of Peace descending on the chariot of war. As usual, there were someone speaking at the corner with a huge crowd of spectators around.
These images were taken from the underground station
This is the Queen Elizabeth Gate aka as The Queen Mother's Gate and it was built to commemorate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Its shows the Royal Supporters the Red Lion and the White Unicorn on either side of a tree and you can see the various designs of the birds and animals, representing the various Commonwealth countries.
So we made our way to the hotel. To our horror, we found that there was no lift in this hotel and imagine that we have to carry our luggage up 4 steep staircases to the room. I don't know whether it is because we were tired and hot and hungry that the room was really a BIG disappointment. The toilet was small and the room very cramped because we booked a quad room for 4 of us! (It look big in the photo at Booking.com!). So there and then we decided to take up Diana's offer to stay at her house the next day.
So once decided, we went out for our dinner. The recommendation from one of my friend was to try the Chinese restaurant near Bayswater. So we walked and walked... around 20 minutes but it seemed forever!
Lucky there was only a short queue here!
Stuffed bittergourd with prawn paste in black bean sauce ... yummy
and of course, their signature Roasted Duck
and Roasted Pork.
My sisters recalled that they used to stay around Bayswater too when they arrived in London 40 years ago when they saw the supermarket around the corner. To them, this area has changed from a quiet elegant suburb to now a bustling shopping town area. We walked around and to our amazement they could locate the house too, though of course, their mentor who saw them through from their first day in London till the day they finished their nursing school was no longer around... such bitter sweet memories for them!