Travel Diary: London pt. 2

Hello there and welcome back to read about my London adventure! If you haven’t read the first part you can find it from here: Travel Diary: London Also if you are wondering where the day 3 disappeared it will have its own post later on.

Why? Because otherwise this post would have been too long and I really want to dedicate whole post for Harry Potter studio tour and Madame Tussauds museum. But now let’s continue the story! (And btw thank to my sister who took that crazy bird photo… She is fearless!)

Day 4: Natural History and Shopping

I recommend living in hotels with breakfast because finding something to eat sound easier than it is in reality. Once again buying breakfast was causing us unbelievably huge problems. You would think it’s easy to find breakfast cafe from London but that’s total fantasy. We walked the whole few kilometers to the Natural History Museum without finding any cafe for us to eat.

Hyde Park Afternoon Walk
No breakfast here…

First we went through the security check where they didn’t check us properly like too often in these situations. Apparently Finns or our lost selves don’t seem dangerous enough to need proper security checks. After that we continued our mission to find breakfast and managed to find the most unhealthy but tasty looking chocolate cake I have ever seen. Of course we bought pieces of it for us to have as breakfast.

I have few words about the free Natural History museum. Dinosaurs, mind games and huge whale. Yep, that sums up our morning. Besides us there was a lot of school classes. When we left the museum we even accidentally walked in one of the school groups and got some wondering looks from the teacher.

Natural History Museum London

After surviving out of the museum (we didn’t go to every exhibition because it would have taken the whole day!) it was time to go shopping. We went to a few shops but in the end did most of our shopping in the Primark. Don’t judge me, I’m student and live on my own so shop full of cheap clothes is like a heaven.

I bought two more pairs of the jeans I had bought the last time. Even if those jeans made me looks like a smurf after I took them off. That feature is still part of them. I don’t know if I should be worried of them leaving ugly blue color to my skin? Well, at least the jeans only cost like 7€.

Animals in Natural History Museum London

But yeah that was our fourth day. The evening went planning our last day, buying some bubble tea and starting the impossible packing. I had totally forgotten how much I loved bubble tea. I even bought matcha one because it’s one of the foods I can’t get from Finland and I think I can’t live without!

Day 5: Hard Rock Cafe and Touristy Things

We didn’t have a lot of plans for our fifth day but ended up doing a lot. Our first stop was breakfast at Hard Rock Cafe. We had been arguing (well not arguing but just being indecisive together) should we use the metro or walk through Hyde Park. We ended up doing the last one and it was good decision!

Hyde Park Crazy Birds and Tourists
Thanks for my sister who took this photo. I would have never been brave enough to be so close to the birds! And I should be the animal carer of this family…

We saw more birds on our way and even crazier tourists trying to hug and befriend the birds. (You shouldn’t do this. Bad for the animals and unhealthy for you..) 

When we finally found the Hard Rock Cafe it was closer us than we had tought. The staffs were kind and place amazing so definitely recommend for everyone to go when in London! It was meant to be our breakfast but we both ordered cauliflower burger. It was vegetarian dish where the hamburger steak was replaced by cauliflower. I would eat all my burgers like that if it was possible.

Hard Rock Cafe London Vege

At this point it didn’t even matter that our breakfast was so fulfilling because we had eaten odd breakfasts everyday. Bento box, Fish & Chips and chocolate cake to name some of our crazy breakfast choices. But hey, we were on vacation so no reason to eat reasonably.

After the fulfilling meal we continued towards Buckingham palace and the royal shop we had promised to visit for our mom. Luck was on our side because once again the walk was shorter than we had expected. And on when we arrived to the palaces gates there was someone (probably important person) exiting the palace in horse carriage. So cool!

After the palace gates experience and realizing there was nothing to buy in the royal shop (just normal more expensive souvenirs) we decided to continue our walk. Next destination Big Ben!  I know we already went there once but my sister had forgotten her polaroid camera so we had to return to take photo for her.

Big ben and Telephone box London

Once again good decision because this time we decided to be more touristy than on the first time and lined to take photos of us with Big Ben and red phone booth. It was so funny how people would pose with the booth and even more people line up to wait for their turn to take the photo. No way for anyone to really use those phones to call. Tourist takeover!

Surprisingly even after taking some photos and buying souvenirs from stall next to the Big Ben we had almost half of the day left. It was time to head to get some culture experiences and what would be better place for that than Tate Modern museum?

The museum was huge. I mean I had known there was many floors and exhibitions but it was bigger than I would have never imagined. In my opinion too much art to see in one day. I have always loved museum and modern art and this museum immediately rose to one of my favorite museum. And one important point to mention is that the museum was free to attend.

Tate modern museum London modern art

We even found one exhibition from Finnish artist. We were wondering out loud why would there be Finn’s works in this popular museum when behind us woman said in Finnish “Why not?” and disappeared as quickly as she had appeared. I never get used to other Finns leaving our beloved home country and making contact on odd places.

After the museum visit it was time to return back to our hotel. We packed our too full suitcases and tried to sleep early because the next morning it was time to leave.

 

Day 6: Time To Go Home

We woke up too early to make it to our plane. First we had to take metro to the train station and then find the right train. I thought we would have more problems but fortunately the trains station has prepared for tourist and there is huge signs to find the right track.

Metro London Cool

We arrived early to the airport but then suddenly we almost had to run to make it to our flight. The airport really is huge. And the plains to Finland leave from the farthes corner possible. No, I’m not even kidding. We had to walk trough the whole airport to get to our gate.

This time I sat next to my sister but it was causing some problems. We wanted to see the same movie so if one of us was ahead the other one got spoilers before hand. Can someone make the plane TV’s sync and show the movies at the same time? Let’s just go back to the time where everyone had to watch Brain Games from the shared tiny TV.

So there was my London travel diary. I hope you enjoyed my long boring commentary. Have you ever been to London? And maybe done some of the things we did?

I will write again next Friday with the story and review from Harry Potter tour and Madame Tussauds. Have an amazing weekend!

With love,

Viivi Severina

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Sweets in Japan

I’m here again with new food post from my Japan trip! This time I have fulled my blog with pictures of sweet and candies. Who wouldn’t be interested in them?

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My souvenirs to my family and friends

For a sweet tooth being in Japan is like visiting heaven. If you have courage to break away from the tourist streets and take the unused path you may find cheap and tasty candies. My best advice is buy everything before airport -there is bad selection and expensive-. When walking around visit small convenience stores and 100 yen stores.

These bear cookie sweet candy things were my total favorite thing in Japan! The bears are different looking and depending on flavor have changing filling. My mission during the trip become to find as many variants of this cookie as I can. Like you can see above I did found quite many! There was this special pumpkin flavor because of Halloween.

japancandy

Don Quijote is a discount department store chain in Japan. You will recognize it by the happy looking blue penguin logo. This is place to go shopping the souvenir sweets. It’s cheaper than many other shops and the range of different candies is wide. Just make sure you have enough time because making the choice what you will buy takes time. -At least if you are indecisive like me…-

Colorful kitkats japan

If you have get to know Japan and what to do there while traveling you would have probably seen stuff about Kit Kats. Above the Kit Kat tower demonstrates how you can find odd and different flawors of Kit Kats from Japan. I must how ever let you down and tell that the tales of Japan’s Kit Kats aren’t all true.

There is countless of amounts interesting Kit Kats. You can buy the normal ones from many shops. BUT it’s hard to find the odd and not normal Kit Kat candies. Even the Matcha Kit Kats are hard to find from normal stores. Someone should say if I am wrong but at least for me it was hard time to find these sweets.

Japanese kitkat

Cheese cake Kit Kat! Wasn’t very good but interesting so definitely good purchase.

Matcha Kitkat

Matcha Kit Kat. Like I talked HERE matcha is green tea thing that Japanese people put everything. -Don’t get me wrong I love matcha flavored food. But you can find anything in matcha flavor.- This is must buy souvenir. However I don’t recommend buying it from souvenir shop or from tourist areas because you have to pay twice as much as some smaller shops.

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I bought the mushroom looking cookie candy things first time for accident and after that tried to hunt them down for quite while before finding them for the second time. Not anything special (just cookie and chocolate) but so tasty!

And by the way I am so jealous of the cute packets and the characters in them… We don’t have those in Finland. Why don’t we have cute characters (expect Moomins)?

Matcha Almonds

These matcha almonds were okay to me but my family didn’t like them. You need to get used to the taste because it’s quite strong and even bad if one is not used to it.

 

I think I have now shared all of my good enough to share food pics from Japan. But don’t worry I still have Japanese themed posts in mind and other travel stories coming.
So see you next time with more stories of my travels!

Viivi Severina

More Food in Japan

Go check out my first food in Japan post from HERE.

So like the first post this is just pictures of food and me scribbling nonsense. I hope you enjoy!

I admit being surprised how tiny Japan’s ice cream selection was. As country with so many odd and cool things I though there would be strange looking/tasting ice creams. Or maybe I have just got used to too good. I mean in Finland we have so many different flavors and brands.

From some places (like Ueno park’s hidden ice cream vendor) I was able to find amazing sundaes. In the left picture you see pink slush and soft ice cream. We have those two in Finland too but this was my first time seeing them together. -Or maybe I just spend too much time not leaving my home when I am back at Finland…-

icecreamandmilk

I absolutely hated strawberry milk. I am sorry everyone. The idea of it sounds sweet and delicious but I couldn’t even drink it after tasting. Maybe I am somehow broken? Is there any one who has tasted it? Did you like it?

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The pastry above was one of my favorite breakfasts to buy from nearby bakery in Tokyo. It reminded me of hot dog but it had stick where you were able to hold it. Tokyo’s bakeries had so many other delicacy that even one blog post wouldn’t have enough space to contain them all.

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In addition to bakeries there were countless amount of different cake shops, teahouses and sweet shops. I ate so much and so often that it’s like miracle how I still fitted in airplane when coming back home. Actually I lose weight while in Japan. Even when eating a lot of unhealthy food the normal food was light when compared to the things I nprmally eat in Finland.

salad

Avocados have been big thing for a while but only at Japan I grew to love them. Avocados and rice go together perfectly. At home I add soy sauce and wasabi when I am feeling home sick back to Japan. I even bought rice cooker to make the rice more Japan like. -The best purchase I have done in long time.- 

starbucksjapan

One taste I miss from Japan that I can’t have at home is matcha. It’s powdered green tea. My Japanese friend took me to traditional matcha teahouse in Tokyo. According to her there are strict rules how to make and drink matcha tea. As foreigner no one however expects you to follow them.

The matcha isn’t just in teas. In Starbucks you can order matcha frappuccino and even candies (for example Kitkat) comes as matcha flavor. It’s in sushi, cakes and probably anything you can think of. At first I didn’t like the matcha’s taste but after my first month in Japan it kind of stuck on me. Now I am missing it.

japansweets2

I don’t really now what ingredients they use to those small cakes that you can see above. I think it was red bean paste inside of it, but I am not sure. I can’t speak the language so I couldn’t ask anyone. However the main point is it was delicious!

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If you don’t eat noodles while in Japan you haven’t really had the whole Japanese experience! Rice and noodles are the food you should eat. And sushi. And so many other things. Okay I am going to change that sentence.  You should eat as much as you can while in Japan or you haven’t had the whole Japanese experience!

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Convenience store food is the love of my life. Cheap, tasty and easy to find. While getting lost in the city I usually stopped to buy something and found beautiful place to eat it.

crepes (2)

Today’s last pic is crepe. Looks sweet, right? I hope you enjoyed my food pics and chatter.

See you next time!
With travel passion,

Neidotta

 

 

Food in Japan

This post is just going to be pics of food and me rambling nonsense. You have been warned so enjoy!

crepes
I miss crepes! They are so tasty and pretty. Look the pic and try to insist you wouldn’t try them. You can’t! I don’t think there is person who doesn’t find crepes tasty.
crepes2
I did try so many different ones but banana-chocolate crepes where my favorites. Well of course eating these wasn’t all fun and games. In the first time buying crepe I didn’t have idea how to eat it. Like should I use the spoon and and eat the filling first or maybe approach it like ice cream.

 

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During my trip I got really attached to convenience store food. It is cheap and tasty. You wouldn’t believe what things you can buy from there! Like that chicken thing and sushi.
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This is meal I normally had. Noodles, rice and something extra. I have used chopsticks every now and then in home but eating everything with them challenged me.

My first time eating out scared the hell out of me. I mean there was that spoon like thing and noodles in soup and sticks and no one talking English and I really didn’t know how to act.

Even if the meal  was straight from nightmare of course I did survive. I have always been good at pretending to fit in. Spying and imitating other customers saved me.
food3
In Tokyo I found this cute little restaurant place right next to my home. As shy person it took almost one week of living there to visit this place for the first time. In Japan food places often have this machine thing you need to use to order. As non Japanese person there’s no way for you order without asking help.

I lived near Ueno park and in the area there was not so many white people. Of course the owner started to recognize me when I walked past his small just big enough to fit five people noodle place.

So one night he was standing outside and he did shout happy greeting for me. It took all my courage but I asked him how to order. Well of course he didn’t speak English but in the end I did get to eat super good food. After that we kind of become friends with him.
Tullyscoffee
So this pic looks like normal coffee mug. Well it is normal coffee mug (surprise!) but I did want to share this with you for reason. Tully’s Coffee it says in the upper part of the mug if you have sharp eyes.

Tully’s become quickly my favorite coffee place -funny because I don’t drink coffee- and I recommend it for everyone. Yes, it’s just normal cafe. However their teas are straight from heaven! And the places felt nice and cozy.

 

tea

When we talk about teas it’s impossible for me to not mention the milk teas. The Lipton’s Milk Tea in pic is bought from convenience store and I don’t admit drinking them at least every other day. I have never ever before been able to stand milk teas (or cold/ice teas) so it doesn’t make sense how I ended up only drinking milk teas in Japan.

Fortunately I had 100YEN shop right next to my home as well in Tokyo as in Kyoto. From there it was easy to buy my favorite milk tea (the one in pic). For 100YEN (it’s around 0,80€) you did get 1 liter (two times as big as that one in pic).