Sunday, July 29, 2012

London Bridge, Borough Market, St Paul's and a Tube station.

Hello friends! I am back to blogging about my London trip after a short Eurotrip-related-posts hiatus! It's been exactly one month sin...

Hello friends!

I am back to blogging about my London trip after a short Eurotrip-related-posts hiatus! It's been exactly one month since Bernard and I touched down in Singapore and um, I've only blogged about 2 of my 14 days in Europe. Good job Jac!

My sister brought us to Borough Market on Day 3. We walked there because we are fit and healthy and also because my sister wanted to show us London Bridge. This is the route that we took.

Google says that we walked for 1.2 miles or 1.93121 km!

We passed the Gherkin again - I described it in a previous blogspot here! And now many of you would be more familiar with this building because it's so frequently shown in the Olympic telecasts :)
We also passed the Royal Exchange.
And this nice stripey building here!
I thought it was a fire station at first. But the name of this building is actually One Poultry! Pls I was really so amused by it's name!

We finally reached our first stop! The LONDON BRIDGE.
This is my sister and I.
And this is Bernard and I.
If you are the observant kind, you may have noticed that I was wearing Bernard's aviators in the second shot and my sister's Chanels in the first. Why? Because Jacqueline I-Am-A-Genius Wong forgot to bring out her shades. And shades are very important when you take photos in the glaring sun because they hide your eyes which squint involuntarily in bright light.

So, because I am vain and also did not want to kill myself with hours of photoshopping my squinting eyes, I made Bernard and my sister lend me their shades for photos.

Also because I was on London Bridge, I made an effort to sing this song.



"HOW COME EVERYTIME YOU COME AROUND MY LONDON LONDON BRIDGE WANNA GO DOWN LIKE LONDON LONDON LONDON WANNA GO DOWN LIKE LONDON LONDON LONDON WE GOING DOWN LIKE."

I don't actually know what the lyrics mean. But oh well, it has a good beat and it is nice to sing. If you go to the London Bridge and want to sing a song related to it but need to know what all the lyrics that come out of your mouth mean, then I recommend that you sing this song instead.



I just hope you are not the superstitious type. Because you know, this song is about London Bridge falling down.

Back to Fergie's song! You might notice that she's dancing in front of a bridge in the song. It's interesting to note that the bridge captured in her video isn't the London Bridge, but Tower Bridge.

Which is this bridge here! You can see it from London Bridge.
According to MTV, the filming of Tower Bridge in Fergie's video was intentional. But you know, it's more fun if you say that Fergie made a mistake.

Another view from the bridge! You can see St Paul's Cathedral in this shot!
We crossed the bridge to get to the other side (hahaha), and reached the boundary of the City of London.
And this is the Dragon that St George slayed. St George is the Patron Saint of England and apparently this is the Dragon that he slayed. Some say that he tamed the dragon, but that's not the point. The point is good job to him and if you see a dragon emblem/statue/carving in England, it's probably of St George's dragon.

We also passed Southwark Cathedral.
I learnt from the sister that Southwark is not pronounced as "SOUTH-WARK" but as "Sutherk" (according to Wikipedia: sʌðərk/ sudh-ərk). The "W" is silent. I was going to do a long paragraph on how very unintuitive and irritating this is. But I decided to google the reason for the "W" being silent instead (luckily for me).

So, there are many silent letters in modern English that weren't silent in Old English or "Anglo-Saxon". So people used to pronounce the "C" and "H" in "cniht", the predecessor of "knight". Just like the "W's" in "write", "wrap" and "wrist", the "W" in "Southwark" is silent. And this "Silent W" phenomenon is quite common in locations which are Anglo-Saxon in origin. Read more about it from The Guardian.

Finally reached Borough Market.
According to its website,
"Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce.

It is a haven for anybody who cares about the quality and provenance of the food they eat - chefs, restaurateurs, passionate amateur cooks and people who just happen to love eating and drinking."
It's quite a nice place, quite clean and lots to see. Similar in many ways to the markets in Singapore, but really different in terms of presentation of goods.

Like the markets in Singapore, they sold fruits and vegetables and fish. But everything was arranged in such an attractive way!

Look at this stall selling seafood.
The seafood is lying on a bed of realistic looking parsley! Looks so much better than the wet markets in Singapore where they just sit on slabs of ice!

This fishmonger even preserved a pufferfish and hung it above his stall! SO CUTE AND COOL AND SO NOT TYPICAL OF A SINGAPOREAN MARKET.
These mushrooms were taken at a stall selling vegetable. Aren't the mushrooms arranged so artistically and they look so pretty and comfortable in the middle of a makeshift basket of greens!
It's also typical of store fronts of Borough Market to have well decorated blackboards. Very unlike the well-lit signboards that we see locally.
In Singapore, wet markets are usually linked to hawker centres and a dry market. Borough Market has kind of the same thing. They have stalls selling food.

They have baguette, or what we call roti.
And also curry to eat with the roti.
Also dessert to eat after your meal.
Scared of pastries that look unfamiliar? No sweat. Have an egg tart!
They also had many stalls selling Pimms! Their local equivalent of Tiger Beer.
We also found ang moh lup cheongs. Or cured sausages, as they call them there.
Bernard and I shared a raclette as recommended by my sister. It was really good! Raclette is a kind of Swiss dish where melted cow-milk cheese is scrapped onto gherkins and potatoes. I had tried it once in Alliance Francaise when I went there for an event. But this Raclette was so much better!

(And it should be, as we paid £5 for it!

So here's where the cheese is melted.
And here's the woman scrapping the raclette cheese onto the gherkins and potatoes.
And voila! Lunch was served!
Of course, if you're more of the adventurous type and don't think that cheese and potatoes is your sort of thing, perhaps this is more up your alley.
Anyway, Borough Market is a really fascinating place which you MUST visit if you go to London. There's lots to see and tonnes to buy (Bernard got some Black Hawaiian Lava salt - how cool is that?!). The full market is open on Thursdays 11am - 5pm, Fridays 12pm - 6pm and Saturdays 8am - 5pm. So if you go on Mondays to Wednesdays there won't be much to see because the food stalls won't be open, and if you go on Sundays there would be nothing to see at all because the place would be closed. You can find out more about the market at their website. You may want to download the map before going because the place is rather large. And if you do go to the market you may want to go really early. We reached at 9 am on a Saturday and we got to take many good pictures of the place before throngs of tourists started swarming the place at around lunch time :).

After exploring the market, my sister left to run some errands so Bernard and I went over to St Paul's Cathedral to take some photos.
HOHO. This is my favourite photo. Bernard took it without warning me and I think I look unintentionally artsy. (Stop laughing, different people have different standards of artsy).
After that, we met my sister to go for this production called "Accomplice". It's really cool! It's "part game, part theater, and part tour". Participants of the show are accomplices to a major crime and are given instructions to meet at a secret location. Accomplices are then briefed on the crime and then solve different clues and riddles to get from one location to the next. It's really cool! And the organisers are really fantastic. They come all suited up in costumes. Like we were trying to spot someone to give us a clue and he was actually the guy sweeping the road next to us. LIKE, DUDE.

IT WAS SO FUN! Here's a shot of fellow accomplices solving a puzzle that was given.
And here's my sister and I after the Accomplice.
It's really fun! And they have it in California and NYC as well. Please visit their website here to learn more. To incentivise you to click the link, I must tell you that on the page is MULTIPLE VIDEOS OF NEIL PATRICK HARRIS. Like this one. Watch it! He describes it much better than I do.



And yes, like Accomplice New York, we did get alcohol in Accomplice London as well!

We headed for dinner after that! This WONDERFUL PLACE called Burger & Lobster.
They have 3 things on the menu - A burger, A lobster roll and A lobster. AND ALL ARE GOOD.
I had a lobster roll. I saw a picture of this roll on my sister's Facebook a few months back and I KNEW I had to eat it.
Me and my awesome roll. And yes, it tasted even better than it looks.
Bernard got a lobster.
His lobster was really good! And it cost only £20!

The food was really good and the lobster was really fresh. Very juicy and tender and omg, I loved it so much. A must try if you visit London (coming from a person who is rarely impressed by food)! Website here. They have two outlets, one in Mayfair and one in Soho. We went to the one in Mayfair. It was brilliant. Just that we sat near the door and there was a draft whenever the door opened. But I am very sensitive to cold so maybe it was just me who felt it.

After dinner, Bernard and I went for a bit of shopping before heading back via the tube. We changed lines at the Baker Street station and TO MY ELATION, IT WAS DECORATED WITH A SHERLOCK THEME.

Me grinning happily with the Tube sign.
The walls with little Sherlocks puffing on their pipes.
Me on a Baker Street bench.
I've always loved the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read them a long time ago and I really spent a lot of time reading and re-reading them. What I regret is not watching Sherlock (which is now my all-time favourite drama series as you may have read) before going to London. I think I would have appreciated the sights and
the Baker Street Tube station much more if I did.

AND TADAH! End of Day 3. I am so proud of blogging about one entire day in one shot.

❤ Jac.

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