One crazy thought end of June about celebrating my friend’s birthday during her 3-week stay in London and a couple days later the trip was booked! After 3.5 years since my exchange semester I would finally be back in London again – and I honestly didn’t know I missed it so much until I got back, driving through the empty streets of London in the early morning hours on my arrival.
Due to the expensive prices for a flight out of London I settled for taking the Euroline bus: a 14 hour ride from Frankfurt with stopovers in Germany and Belgium, taking the ferry to Great Britain and arriving at the Victoria Coach Bus Station. Luckily I can sleep everywhere and don’t mind sitting for a long time so it was bearable. I read a whole book on the way there and played games on my iPad and read magazines on the way back – time does fly. There were also downsides like people being sick and throwing up most of the time and ID and custom controls several times – but it was worth the cheap price booking so short notice (150€ with the below 26 years discount).
I stayed in a hostel nearby the Victoria Station, at the Surprise Backpackers at Vauxhall Bridge Road. It’s a great place as it also consists of a bar/pub and a nice room backdoors for (included) breakfast in the morning and during the day to hang out, play dart or pool or the like. The hostel itself is upstairs with a shared bathroom having several shower cabins and toilets for everyone. The room I stayed in, the pink room, was very spacious for a hostel room and consisted of two three-bed beds. I shared it with two other girls but slept there by myself almost every night as they ended up staying out with friends. I can only recommend this hostel for a stay in London, it’s pretty central (just a 10 minute walk from the Victoria tube station) and the staff is very friendly and helpful.
One would think that London is pretty packed because of the Olympic Games going on – however this was not the case. I have never seen London this empty. It’s been so nice walking along Oxford street for a little shopping spree on Sunday or riding the tube during supposedly busy hours.
I also had the chance to watch the women’s marathon as it went through the city and my friend stayed nearby Trafalgar Square where they ran by. For all the other games it was impossible to get any tickets any more. I’m not sad about it however because the spirit of the British and the olympic atmosphere was everywhere around town and it’s already been incredible just being in the city during the Games. Also, I’m feeling really happy for Great Britain winning so many unexpected medals when they’re hosting. It reminded me a little of the soccer world cup in Germany in 2010, the emotions in the country were just incredible. 🙂
We celebrated my friend’s birthday in a bar in Soho, the Freedom Bar. It’s been a fun evening, it’s amazing how easy you get to know new people here in London and the bar was pretty full for a Monday! I cannot imagine this in Frankfurt…
One finding I have got to share: we went for lunch in a Korean Restaurant nearby the Tottenham Court Road Tube Station, the Assa Restaurant. OMG, it’s been the best Korean Food I’ve ever had and it’s supposedly the best Korean place in London and I totally believe it. We got there pretty early but by the time we left people were almost queueing to get seated and it was mainly Koreans – if someone knows good Korean food it gotta be the Koreans! 🙂
We had a hot pot with marinated beef and some noodles and vegetables in it as well as a rice cake. One could have rolled me down the street so full and satisfied was I after this amazing lunch. My friend and I already agreed we gotta pay the Korean BBQ Sillas in Frankfurt a visit with some more people once she gets back next week. I just can’t wait to have more good Korean food!