Seoul Searching

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Some overdue photos of Kuta Beach

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Kuta had this online reputation for being some kind of party beach with notoriously drunk Australians… things I didn’t tell my parents until we landed in Bali. Luckily we did not encounter a single one of those aforementioned specimens, and with the power of TripAdvisor I had booked a pretty decent hotel (The Bene Hotel) just a stone’s throw away from Kuta Beach, which meant we could zip down to the shore as and when we liked. Kuta had some strong waves and many, many surf shops/schools which were really tempting.

Trekking/Tripping up Mt Batur

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It takes a 2 hour trek to get to the top of Mt Batur, past loose rocks and slippery black lava sand. I fell on my ass a couple of times. It wasn’t exactly easy, but it wasn’t impossible either. What kept me going was sheer determination to get to the top and to prove that I was able to.

And one perk of trekking in the wee hours of the morning is the sky full of stars. Urgh, it was gorgeous.

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Ibid, after the sun came up. The climb was tough, but the view from the top was worth it.

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Aforementioned loose rocks and slippery black lava sand.

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The climb down was exponentially easier, but that was because we took a longer, gentler route.

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Trekked through a forest as well, which made a nice change of scenery.

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Made it back down!

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Hella amazing experience, I’m so glad I did this. Bonus was that my ego was boosted by our trekking guide who asked if I trekked before — “nope, this is my first time” — because I was strong and doing quite well. My treadmill tortures have paid off!!

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Mt Batur and Lake Batur from another vantage point (this was a pretty steep climb too, but done in the comfort of our rental car, so it wasn’t so bad).

Borough Market

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Our penultimate stop in London – Borough Market. We read about a couple of markets (this, Camden, Portobello, Brick Lane, the last of which QJ recommends for quirky, hipster-y items) but I’m glad Borough can be called my first London market experience because it is food haven.

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All the baked stuff looked and smelt like heaven but they were a bit too pricey for me……..

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Yes!!! So glad I managed to try these here. A bit salty but still delicious nonetheless.

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Our second drink of the day. I drank like a queen at Borough Market – had the yummiest masala chai first, followed by a cup of mocha from this little stall. I don’t know if it was what chocolate they used (raw cacao?) or how they made their coffee, but hands down the best mocha I had in my life.

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More goodies that I’d eat if I had the money (and the calories) to spare

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Oysters at £2.50 each. Oh it was so good….

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yas

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First encounter with sea urchin… tasted seafood-y but I didn’t hate it, and I definitely can go for it again. This was £3 if I remember correctly.

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So pleased I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

London Tube Stops: A Collection

I actually took many pictures on this trip, because I was so mad at myself for not taking enough the previous time I went there. But there’s quite a fair bit to sieve through, including some remarkably unglamorous ones with my face in them that do not need to exist on the public domain of the Internet. Instead, I made it a point to try and take as many photos of the various Tube stations we visited, and while I am sure I didn’t get all, here are the ones I managed to capture:

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“Please look after this bear, thank you” aka the first stop we were at after arriving in London

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Probably a transit station between Paddington & King’s Cross, where we were staying

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LOL shittiest attempt at a photo – this was on our first night in London. I vaguely remember we decided on Covent Garden because of a rooftop bar there but there was a line of very well dressed people at the entrance (and a bouncer, complete with a cover charge) so we noped our way out of there and just walked around the area for a bit (discovered a few theatres – Mathilda, Mamma Mia, Lion King!!! inter alia) and settled on a nice cocktail bar (1 for 1 cocktails, £9? Yes please).

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Aforementioned cocktail bar
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Day 2 in London!

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This was the result of a directional mistake. We made a wrong turn while trying to get ourselves to King’s Cross, and wound up walking to Russell Square which was the next station along the line. Oh well, we managed to get there.

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Our day 2 itinerary was quite half-baked even as we stepped out of our airbnb. From Russell Square we took the tube down to Leceister Square (ah, here’s one station I didn’t get a photo of) to get tickets for The Book of Mormon. After that we walked down to Trafalgar Square, then to Westminster and the Big Ben.

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Westminster Abbey (which we didn’t go in because entry fee)

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En route to our roast duck lunch! Westminster > Bond Street (to change lines) > Queensway

2017-03-20 15.31.45 We were originally going for Goldmine, but 1) New Fortune Cookie was literally right next to the Tube exit, 2) we were kinda hungry, 3) it was raining, so…

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Yup

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Probably transited in Waterloo on our way back from Westminster to King’s Cross. We spent the afternoon at Buckingham Palace (or rather, the entrance of it, with someone constantly calling out “Kate~ Kaaate~” like he was her long lost betrothed), then some park near Buckingham to see ducks and pigeons and swans and pelicans

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Honestly, there is nothing to do in London past 5pm except to eat, drink and be merry. We were recommended to go to Angel, which was just one station down from King’s Cross, where apparently there were a lot of cool bars. So we were obviously expecting Clarke Quay levels of vibes but we forgot this was a Monday night, and the streets were kind of very dead. We did wind up in a cool bar with similar 1 for 1 cocktails which were really yummy so okay lar I forgive you London

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Aforementioned bar which had naked ladies on the ceiling so you know the place is legit

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This is the only one I caught on Day 3, which is probably expected because we did a hell lot of walking, in an attempt to save money (Tube isn’t cheap…) and maybe to soak in as much of London as possible. So we walked from our airbnb to the British Museum, then down to Piccadilly Circus/Soho where I met up with QJ, then walked from Soho to Oxford Street to go check out Primark before we took the Tube from there back to Piccadilly Circus to catch The Book of Mormon!!!

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British Museum: Outside

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British Museum: Inside

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Thank Eebowai we watched this! Andrew Rannells will forever have my heart as Elder Price because I’ve pretty much memorised the OBC recording but this was such a good cast and show nonetheless :’)

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Day 4. I know… this picture doesn’t count. We only had the morning before we had to head to Heathrow around 3pm so we went down to Borough Market and the London Bridge, but I forgot to capture the station (London Bridge). This was on our train ride to Heathrow, which took about an hour. The tube wasn’t too crowded so it was a relatively comfy ride, and it got scenic once we left zones 1 and 2 (possibly even 3) where the Tube was no longer underground.

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*

I’ve gone on much longer than expected about the London Tube, but this was a nice way to remember the trip. One of the first few things R said to me on our first few tube rides was that we might bump into Brit actors because they are quite commonly spotted on the Tube, but we weren’t that lucky. I’d give up my firstborn to meet Eddie Redmayne…… (I watched Fantastic Beasts on the flight back and I now have a lot of feelings about Newt Scamander okay)

Oxford

So it is currently 5.55am and I can’t for the love of God go back to sleep (jet lag, body clock et al) so I’m going through my photos on my phone and here are some highlights without my face in them. Managed to weave in some sightseeing in between/after the competition but most of the photos are really just taken while we were out and about getting ourselves fed. Trust the Great Britain to make walking along the street picturesque.

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First meal after we landed (and the start of these breakfasts for the next 10 days)

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Oblig Radcliffe Camera photo

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Pembroke College, where we stayed. Very fancy, very old, very different from what I’m used to.

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Fruits because health is wealth………. who am I kidding. I actually got sick again and I need to go see the doctor later today

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Ice cream!!!

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Final meal in Oxford where I had the only scone on this entire trip (which tasted lacklustre and  I could get better ones from Four Leaves).

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Bridge of Sighs

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Some random acquaintances lol k no the 3 people who kept me semi-sane (while successfully driving me crazy) during this trip