live slow, love nature, be adventurous

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

London Day 3: British Museum, China Town & The Temple

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On the morning of my third day in London, we went to the British Museum, located in Bloomsbury, West London. Standing on the same level as the Met in New York and the Louvre in Paris, it houses a vast array of collectibles from all over the world and from all sorts of time periods imaginable. Some particularly famous items are the Rosetta Stone that helped decipher the Egyptian Hieroglyphs and pieces of the Parthenon in Athens, but I also loved the Asian collection and the collection of the Americas. The museum is free of charge (you’ve got to love the Public Museums in London) and while the museum is not as ridiculously big as the Louvre, you could still easily visit multiple times without getting bored. 

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Funny story: We actually got evacuated while visiting the British Museum! We were just about to leave, when suddenly a siren went off. For a second, we were really confused, but one of the employees immediately escorted the whole room outside where people kept on streaming outside of the building. I’m still not sure what has happened that day, but it’s been interesting to be in a situation like this once.

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I had a burger at Shake Shack in Covent Garden for lunch…

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… and then went for a stroll in China Town. I’m half-Chinese and China is one of the countries I have visited the most often (I think France is a close tie) in my life so far, so I enjoy visiting China Towns. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited some of the major China Towns in the world and what I love about them is that they all have their distinct character. The may all bring a part of China to another country, but it’s certainly not the same part. 

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No China Town I’ve ever visited quite compares to the chaos that is China, but they still offer a nice opportunity to step outside of our regular world and experience something different. 

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After my visit to the London China Town in Soho, I hopped on the subway to head deeper into West London and fashion-obsessed as I am, I ended up at Selfridges on Oxford Street. Selfridges feels like a more commercialized version of Harrods: Where Harrods has the tendency to feel like a luxury museum, Selfridges actually seems to be a place where people go to buy stuff. They seem to have just about any cosmetic brand on this world and also feature many great fashion brands, some of with are very High End, while others cater more to the High Street.

One thing it has in common with Harrods, though, is that it’s crazy! There was so much going on in that store that the world seemed to be spinning in my head by the time I left the store again. Unfortunately, I fell in love with two beautiful bags that I’m going to have to keep my hands off next time I’m visiting London, but if you love shopping you don’t want to miss this place. Did I mention that they have a pretty great selection in the food hall as well? Man, foodie me wants to live in London… 

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But to return to some less shallow topics: Continuing this day’s trend to be all over the place, I headed back to where I came from to meet up with Samuel again and go for a walk in the Temple. On the way we passed the Royal Courts of Justice, which is my absolute favorite building in London. Please tell me that I’m not the only one who things this courthouse is gorgeous – it reminds me of a mix of a cathedral and Hogwarts! (And please tell me that I haven’t told you the exact same thing already…) 

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The Temple is a term given to the area around Temple Church. These days it houses two of the four English Inns of Courts (basically the association’s of lawyers that are allowed to plead in front of a court) and is basically the heart of Legal England. Maybe that’s the reason I’m so attracted to this area, but in a city where you always seem to be enveloped by the bustle of busy street life, the Temple is remarkably calm and secluded. I can’t think of many different environments that would be as lovely to work in.

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Temple Church was built by the Knights Templar that moved their headquarters here in the 12th century and features some unique architecture. Large parts of the church were actually bombed in World War II, but have since been restored. I love the color of the stones it is built from, because their so light and inviting and tucked away in a hidden courtyard you would never believe that there is a busy street literally just a stone’s throw away. 

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These are some of my favorite days in London: When you just let yourself drift and go into every single direction at the same time. The city just has so much to offer – I love it and I can’t wait to return soon! 

What's your idea of a perfect day in a city? 

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linking up with Bonnie

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