Hey guys! How are you doing? I realised something: I’ve been in the UK for a month now and didn’t tell you anything about what I’ve been up to all this time or what places I visited so far. Or, more importantly, why I haven’t been able to devote as much time to reading and blogging as I used to. I don’t want to bore you with an awful lot of details but I still wanted to post a little update and bring you up to speed on what’s been going on lately.
So, on 1 September I jetted off to London to do a one-week internship and after staying with a friend for that week, I moved to Surrey (South London). It was a pretty sudden decision but I thought I’d stay a bit longer and try to find a longer internship or a job in the meantime. Which I’ve been doing ever since. I pretty much spent most of my time trying to sort out my National Insurance number (which you need to have in order to work in the UK) and my bank account and all that very boring but essential stuff. And looking for a job, obviously. So by the time I decided to abandon my computer for the day and have dinner I was completely knackered and just… not in the mood for sitting down in front of my laptop (for the hundredth time that day) and blog. Or read. Which is something I feel very guilty about and will try to find a solution for, I promise.
As the days went on and I was still waiting to hear back from the companies I applied to, job hunting started to get a bit stressful and exhausting. Many of my friends were (or still are) in a similar situation and none of them really left the house, met up with friends or explored the city, which is something I wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to sit at home every single day, being miserable and feeling sorry for myself so I came up with a plan. I’d keep looking for a job from Monday to Friday and take the weekend off. Weekends are for travelling and touristy things, catching up on favourite TV shows and – from now on – reading and blogging.
Anyway, moving back to the reason of my post, I wanted to show you some of the places I visited in the past few weeks. The first thing on my virtual ‘to visit’ list was the Monument which, even though I’ve been to London a gazillion times before, I still haven’t had the chance to visit. Until now.
All in all I’m really glad I decided to check it out, it offers a gorgeous view of the city without having to pay £15-20 for a ticket (as opposed to the London Eye or St Paul’s Cathedral) and having to queue for hours. The climb itself wasn’t as bad as I expected apart from having jelly legs for a few hours after coming down. There are 311 steps total which, if I remember correctly, is less than what you have at St Paul’s Cathedral so it’s a manageable climb. And all this for £3? Definitely worth it.
Being a huge Agatha Christie fan, another thing I really wanted to see was the Agatha Christie memorial in Leicester Square. This statue was unveiled in last November but even though I happened to be in London at the time, we literally couldn’t find where it was. (Yes, Celine, I know I’m rubbish at directions. 😀 ) So, after meeting up with a friend for lunch a few weeks ago we decided to give it another go and – thanks to Google maps – we found it!
After that we somehow ended up going on an impromptu mini-trip to Greenwich (a place I’ve already been to seven years ago but haven’t visited since) and I realised it’s even more beautiful than I remembered. Even the weather was lovely (although a bit windy) so we had a great time.
The following weekend I went to Neasden Temple (also known as the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir) which is Europe’s first traditional Hindu temple, situated in north London. And I have to say, it’s just stunning. It’s been one of the most surreal experiences of my life – in a good way – and if you haven’t seen it yet, I can definitely recommend it. There is no entry fee so it’s perfect if you’re looking for cheap things to do in town and even though it’s not a day-long visit, it’s an experience you won’t forget.
I mean, isn’t it amazing?! Sadly, you can’t take any cameras or mobile phones inside the building (which always annoys the hell out of me, especially if I’m visiting something so gorgeous as this place) so all I can show you of the temple itself is the last picture, which is a postcard I bought after my visit, but all I can say is it’s a beautiful place and is perfect for a day-out.
Since my post is getting freakishly long (sorry!) I will say goodbye for now but I’ll be back with the remaining photos soon, I promise. In the meantime, tell me in the comments below what your favourite places are in London or what ‘hidden gems’ you would recommend!