London Travel Diary: Day One

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
~ Samuel Johnson
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This quote is something that could not be more true. At least for me. Ever since my mum took me on my first trip to London when I was 14 years old, I’ve been obsessed with this city.
I’ve returned a couple of times and so, when my parents gave tickets to see Van Morrison live at the Royal Albert Hall for my birthday I could not have been more excited to return to London. It has only been one and a half years since I’ve been but there’s always so much to do and see in this city. You can never, ever get bored.Still, there was the question of what a girl should do who’s going to London for the sixth (!) time.
For this trip K. joined me. It’s the third time the two of us went to London together. What can I say? We both share the same obsession ;-)
The great thing about having been there for so many times already is that we’ve pretty much seen all the major sights. This left us the luxury of returning to the sights we loved while also having enough time to discover and explore things and places we haven’t been to yet.
In the next couple of posts I’ll tell you what activities K. and I came up with while in London :)
Let’s start right away with Day One
After getting up way too early and boarding the morning flight to London, we arrived relatively early. God bless the one-hour time difference.
The plane flew right above London and we got the most gorgeous areal view of the city with a lot of the most striking sights from up in the air.
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Since we saw this as budget travel we booked a cheap hostel in Paddington. It was centrally located and it was also (-drum rolls-) attached to a pub.
The staff was friendly, the rooms clean, and breakfast was included. This saved us some money as well. Plus, when you check in they also hand you some vouchers, so you get some meals cheaper, or a free tea or coffee etc.
Click here to visit their website.
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We spent most of our first day shopping. I don’t know about you, but here in Austria we don’t have half of all the stores London has to offer so we always make the most out of it and splurge on things we wouldn’t be able to buy in Vienna.
This time we skipped Camden Market and the Portobello Road Market in favour of Oxford street.

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[The Wrapchick near Carnaby Street is apparently still fairly new. We stopped by for a quick bite to eat and were surprised at how well Mexican and Indian food go together. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area!]

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[How cute is this shop? They had different kinds of hand lotion on the door and outside of the shop window so you could use them without even having to enter! (Though you might want to anyway :))]

In the evening we met up with a friend of K. who took us the Madison Restaurant and Bar overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral. From inside you have a great view of the cathedral, but when you walk around the deck you can see pretty much all of London. It’s a gorgeous place to have a drink, or eat dinner. If you do want to have dinner there I’d recommend calling ahead and booking a table as they seem to be pretty full most nights.Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset
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For dinner we went to The Wharf, a restaurant on the south bank of the Thames, quite close to the Tate Modern. From there you have a great view and can see St. Paul’s in the distance.
We ordered fish and chips, shared a bottle of wine, and then made our way to a wine bar in the most obscure location. Gordon’s Wine Bar is located in a vaulted cellar is pretty small, quite narrow, dimly lit, and very crowded. Oh, and I loved it.
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Can you see a pattern here? I can. Let me tell you, it was wine. Which we kind of regretted the next morning, but it was still a great evening. Thank you, Ben, for taking us out and showing us all these really cool locations. We’d have never found them otherwise!
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Spring Sunday Family Lunch

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[Above: Snacks, sparkling wine and our new living room in the garden. | Below: Minimalistic table decoration.]

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My family here in Austria is quite small, which basically means that we’re extremely close to my grandparents. We live in the same town and often meet for dinner or lunch. Since we still don’t have a kitchen at the moment, we opted to have a BBQ for the first time this season. Just some simple things, quickly thrown together, and a bit of sunshine made for a lovely spring day :)

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[Above: Rice-Tuna Salad. | Below: Zucchini and green asparagus in the BBQ wok. My parents swear that this BBQ wok is the best invention ever.]

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[Above: Lunch. | Below: “When I grow up I want to be a sunflower.”]

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[Above: Baby grapes. | Below: Baby strawberries.]

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Jungweinstrassln

– The yearly wine fest.

The part of Austria where I live is pretty known for its “Heurigen“. I used to explain a Heuriger as a kind of Austrian-style pub, only with wine. Wikipedia says it’s more like a wine tavern though. I think that explanation works well too.
In any case, Heurigen are lovely. It’s a great place to meet friends, have a relaxing night out, eat some yummy, austrian food and drink local wine.
Perchtoldsdorf, a town near to where I live has an event called “Jungweinstrassln” every spring. There, the owners of the local wineries (which are also the owners of the Heurigen) are introducing you this years wine.

In the past years it was held like this: you pay a small fee, then you get a bracelet with which you are free to go to every Heurigen that’s participating and try as many types of their wine as you want. It was always a lot of fun. We’d stroll around the cute little town, drop into a tavern, drink something, eat something – go on to the next Heurigen and so on.

This year however, they changed the procedure and now you could only try one wine per tavern, even though they’d offer you up to five different types of wine.
I was with a group of friends last night and in the end we decided against buying that fee. Instead we just went to one, sat down, bought a bottle of wine (then another and another) some food and had a nice evening.
We went on to a second tavern as well, but the character of the event wasn’t quite the same. However, the way it was organised this year was a bit too stressful for us. I really hope they change the system again next year.

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