United Kingdom

Lounge Review: Heathrow British Airways Galleries Lounge, 23 Dec 2015

London LHR Heathrow British Airways Galleries Lounge

The British Airways trio of lounges, Concorde Room, Galleries First, and Galleries Lounge are located in the same area in T5. As I was on a Club Europa flight, the only one I could go to was the British Airways Galleries Lounge. I believe that there are a couple of other BA Galleries Lounges in the airport – I’d say, avoid this one, and head to the others! Or book yourself a spa treatment.

After looking at pictures, I think I got very psyched about it, but boy, this place is a complete madhouse. While this is probably one of the largest lounges I’ve been, it is also the most crowded to date. They have a hot food station, and a cold food station roughly in the middle, and by the sides, there are the beverages, e.g. wines, sodas, and the caffeine stations are interspersed around the lounge.

London LHR Heathrow British Airways Galleries Lounge

I am not sure if this is much of a step-up on the main terminal itself. There are people sleeping on the couches (I have nothing against that, it’s just an observation), dirty dishes everywhere, and busses putting dirty dishes on my table, even as I was sitting right there.

London LHR Heathrow British Airways Galleries Lounge

The hot station was quite a disappointment – I had rice with some coq au vin and chili con carne. It was really like bad cafeteria food. Next time, I think I’m just going to grab some kettle chips. The beverage offering is pretty decent, though.

Wifi is fast, but just don’t come here expecting any peace. The lounge was more like a glorified cafeteria, whereby there are some barriers to entry.

London LHR Heathrow British Airways Galleries Lounge

Categories: Airport Lounge, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

UK – London, 11 July 2004

My last full day in London was a bit harrassed, as I had to do some last minute shopping within a very limited budget, worrying also whether Harrod’s would be open on a Sunday, since my guidebook indicated otherwise.

But thankfully, Harrod’s was open, and I managed to more or less finish the last minute shopping.

I also walked more than I expected, from my hostel to Harrod’s, to Westminster, before making my way to the British Museum.

The British Museum is really quite a spectacle, in that it’s huge, with a very impressive collection on display (and I heard, an even larger collection not on display)!

But due to pressing time constraints, I just visited the China, South and Southeast Asia gallery before making my way to the surprisingly good museum bookshop. Here, once again, I was tempted, and ended up buying two books, bleargh! I hope my baggage won’t exceed the weight limit of 20kg.

Queue Waiting for Harrod’s to Open its Doors

British Museum

Categories: Book Shops, Museums, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

UK – London, 10 July 2004

Much was intended, but little was accomplished summarises my day, though there is some satisfaction to be derived from that for all that I gained.

Firstly, I got to watch The Phantom of the Opera, something that I always wanted to do, though I was somewhat disappointed. The props and stage effects were nothing short of jaw-dropping and imaginative, and the score, great as usual. However, the delivery by the players, (save for the Phantom) was somewhat lack lustre. Perhaps it’s because they were saving their energy for the evening performance? I certainly hope so, or it would be pathetic.

Secondly, I managed to buy two non-fiction books at bargain prices to add to my “China” collection, and along with it, the crowning of Foyle’s as another of my favourite bookshops. I mean, Asterix in Latin??? Unbelievable! Next, I bought my brother his Italian jersey, at SGD 100 cheaper than what I saw in Italy!

Walked around and sat around a lot

Westminster Abbey

Categories: Book Shops, Events, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

UK – London to Oxford to London, 09 July 2004

DAYTRIP! I took the Oxford Tube to Oxford this morning, and well, while I only visited one college (Christ Church), and walked by a few others, e.g. Balliol (Jude the Obscure!!!), I’m inspired!

I’m inspired by the intensity of bookshops peppering the streets, and at the same time, the historic and magnificient “dreaming spires”. There must be a certain “feel”, studying in such a quiet and studious city, knowing at the same time, how many great people were here before you, perhaps sitting at the desk that you are at right now!

I spent most of my time book-shopping AGAIN. Borders, Waterstones, The Work, Blackwell etc., I visited them all, of which Blackwell claimed not only most of my time, but also a spot as one of my favourite bookshops! Why? Because I managed to buy the Oxford Companion to Archaeology for 12 pounds, a massive reduction from 50 pounds.

Dinner satisfied my craving for wanton soup, as I decided to splurge on one bowl at the renowned “Four Seasons”. Indeed, it deserves its fame, for they served EXCELLENT roast duck that was deboned! Also, as a Cantonese speaker, I got good service, i.e. cutting the long queue, getting my food fast, and friendly smiles and nods from the usually grim-faced waiters and waitresses.

Where Lewis Caroll wrote Alice in Wonderland

Oxford

Categories: Book Shops, Food, United Kingdom | Tags: , | Leave a comment

UK – London, 08 July 2004

No wonder the opening conversation of Brits centre around the weather. Today, I found myself huddling inside the National Gallery for a longer period of tiem than expected, because of the rainy weather!

The day began well enough with me visiting the Camden Passage book market, and purchasing 2 books for only 3 pounds. After some fumbling about trying to secure a bus ticket, I finally landed myself in Leicester Square, trying to purchase a cheap ticket, but of course, a cheap ticket was to be had, only froma trot to Queen’s Theatre, home to Les Miserables.

With a ticket in my pocket, and four hours to spare, I decided in free entertainment in the form of the National Gallery. I must say that after so many art galleries, my interest is piqued, though I suffered from the usual museum overload after about 5 rooms.

However, the weather was a thwart to any plans, and after ‘art-fatigue’, the only thing I could do was to keep warn and dry int he museum, versus the wet and cold weather outside.

But of course, before burning my seat, I finally got out, to hunt for the recommended Thornton’s ice-cream, which well, perhaps because it came in a stick, tasted somewhat processed. A bigger mistake this was, as it gave me the shivers in the cold and wet weather, that I was very thankful to occupy my seat in Queen’s theatre early.

Les Miserables certainly deserves all its laurels, including the standing ovation for tonight’s performance. It centres on the theme of human nature, both good and bad, and what made this heavy theme easy to digest, was the light-hearted, comedic moments, which did nothing to reduce the power of the message. I’m really glad Jean Valjean got the loudest applause, along with Eponine! Now it’s time for me to read the complete and unabridged version when I get home! (thanks Emily 🙂 )

I think I like London. After the performance, it was the first time I got to see a city at night, and London was bustling amidst yellow street lights!

London at Night

Categories: Book Shops, Events, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

UK – London, 07 July 2004

You know it’s dread ahead, when the London skies are stormy, and this is most true, when you’re watching Measure for Measure, in the open-air Shakespeare Globe, in the yard.

However, the performance was superb, being very interactive and engaging, not to mention high energy. While the weather would have been pathetic fallacy perfect for a tragedy, the energy of the play, and the laughter derived from the comedy was enough to warm the soul of my very cold, numb and web body.

Today, I also lost the very first thing in Europe– my bus tickets. But to testify to the honesty of Europeans, it probably dropped out of my pockets due to my carelessness.

After a dreary day, I have hot food, relatively long term accomodation (5 nights), and last but not least, home to look forward to.

Inside Shakespeare Globe

Watching Measure for Measure from the Yard

Categories: Events, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

UK – London, 25 June 2004

Another day, another adventure.

I spent the first half of my day, attending to nitty gritty details like laundry, storage of luggage, before sitting/sleeping at the Kensington Gardens, while watching the world go by.

At four, I left the gardens to make my way towards King’s Cross to meet Emily. However, after half an hour of waiting, I could still see no sign of her. That’s when I got a phone call from her, telling me she’s at Victoria Station! However, there was simply no way I could get through to her!

After an hour and a half of searching and finding, we finally managed to meet at 18 30, thankfully early enough not to miss our coach leaving for Paris. An interesting observation– stations don’t have dustbins!

Here beginnt the second part of my journey, which was launched with a 10 hour bus ride.

Categories: Travel Mishap, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

Italy – Rome to UK – London, 24 June 2004

What I thought would be a lazy day turned out to be a full day of excitement. Firstly, no thanks to my laziness, I managed to get a train ticket leaving the station at 11 34, when my last check-in time at the flight counter was 12 15! Whilst waiting for the train, I was agonizing over the various ways by which I could get to the airport on time! Thankfully, by God’s grace, I did not have to pay financially for my stupidity, as the airport shuttle was waiting, just as I left the train!

My next adventure involved trying to bump into Elly on the very crowded Oxford Street, as my phone battery went flat! (talk about bad timing!) As I was VERY late for our 4pm date, we missed each other, and in our brief phone conversation, she mentioned Marks & Spencer, so there I stood for an hour, hoping she would return. And though it was six before we finally met, I was so happy to catch up with her! To top off this crazy day, we saw a rainbow as I was sending her off! Amazing!

Categories: Italy, Travel Mishap, United Kingdom | Tags: , | Leave a comment

UK – London to Czech Republic – Prague, 15 June 2004

Today is really “a journey of the journey”. Firstly, my thirst for knowledge was enhanced, after an almost life-changing experience in the Natural History Museum in London. The interactive and intelligent way by which the material was presented definitely got me interested in geology, making me determined to pick it up when I get back to Singapore.

Next, I had my first encounter with a budget airline– BMI baby. It was very much a normal carrier in every way, except towards the end, the pilot said that there was something wrong with the plane, and so it will take a little long to land! At first, it didn’t occur to me that we were in any danger, but it was after we landed, when I noticed that all the fire engines were out and waiting!

Praha. Customs were pretty quick, though the bus that was supposed to come in 10min intervals simply didn’t. Coming from London, transportation is cheap here– a CSK12 ticket got me to the metro station that was closest to my hostel.

However, here was where my harrowing experience began. Given that it was written that it’s just a 5 min walk, of course I decided to walk, even with my 12kg backpack on! Firstly, I found out from their “policie” that I was walking in the exact wrong direction! Next, upon heading towards the direction of my hostel location, I found out from a group of teenagers that it was up the hill! That was when I totally gave up, flagged a cab, and asked to be taken there. Afterall, it was already onwards of 23 00, and I was lugging 12kg of luggage! It also turns out that the hostel was located on the second floor! On first sight, I almost wanted to check myself into a hotel, though the Bohemian feel of the hostels changed my mind eventually. (and yes, the toilet paper is brown!)

20 SGD Dorm room in Prague Hostel

Categories: Czech Republic, Museums, United Kingdom | Leave a comment

United Kingdom – London, 14 June 2004

After dropping my bags with relief at Astor Hyde Park, I started trotting out with a map, with some plans in mind, but the weight of my sling bag with my aching feet was enough of a lethal combination for me to abandon my plans.

Therefore, I decided to start being ‘local’, buying food from the local Sainsbury, and eating at a park on a bench. In sum, not a very productive day, since I only visited the Natural History Museum. But then again, I guess I can be forgiven, given my aching body? (I actually paid a pound just to get back!)

However, I did manage to find the half-price ticket booth, even though I decided to forego watching a msuical tonight. Well oh well, some money saved!

Walking through the ‘Orchard Road’ (Oxford Street) of London isn’t exactly the most fantastic feeling in the world. Shop after shop seems to ‘reappear’ after a while– Topshop, Bodyshop, Marks & Spencers– it starts to get boring. Oh well, I guess that would be something when I’m finally in the mood to shop.

Grinning Dino Greeting me at the Natural History Museum

Categories: Museums, Sights, United Kingdom | Tags: | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.