Sunny Day, Sweeping the Clouds Away

IMG_0006_3 copy

It’s almost like I’m on summer vacation, with the heat, the swimming, and late breakfasts, and though I miss London everyday, I can’t help but be happy that I’m home. The heat can be sometimes unbearable, but the way the sunlight just pours itself in my bedroom makes it worth it. I have always loved the sun,  the way it passes through my white curtains and rests on my bed, and I love it more now that I take photos from my own room.

Of course, trying to chase after England, I still drink tea often. Sometimes with milk, sometimes with lemon, but as I said the sun can be cruel, and hot tea wasn’t built for the humid weather here, so I make a tasty compromise.

Making the iced Apple Cinnamon Lemon tea makes working easier (sometimes I put the glass to my forehead when it gets too hot, weird but it feels cool haha), but it also reminds me of cold mornings in the tiny kitchen of our flat in London, and I feel great being in the middle, loving home and the home away from home.

 
IMG_0002_5
IMG_0011
IMG_0012
 

I Love You Most Ardently

BigBenandLondoneye

I guess when I found out that I was going to London, I hadn’t expected that much. I was more excited by the thought of visiting my two sisters than the actual idea of being in London. It’s not that I didn’t love the idea of going to London, I did, but I guess I never really dreamt about going to there. It was always France, Italy, Greece or Spain, but never London. I guess I never found it as exotic.

I wish I could give past Lisane a punch in the face, because I was such a fool to have underestimated Great Britain.

IMG_4906
IMG_5036

London, is beautiful. The kind of beautiful that just leaves you with no words actually.After four weeks in London, I was still amazed by the sight of the clock of Big Ben. Especially at night when the face of the clock glows, and it always feels like peter pan’s going to fly by at any moment. I always find myself following the clock tower’s face as our bus home passed by it. The parks are breath taking, and they make pine over the lifestyle of walking dogs at the park and lying down on the grass with a book in my hands. Amusingly enough, they like to have picnics in London, where they have the basket, blanket and everything!

I felt especially jealous, on the day we walked around Regent’s park, and it was the sunniest day of trip there, and the park was vast and beautiful. I sat and watched people for a little while,  and I saw kids playing along  the rows and rows of bushes what will be roses ( different kinds too, with silly names like “Razzle Dazzle” and “Valentine Heart”), and kids my age reading with their paper cups of coffee. That was also the only day ever, that I had not brought my camera out with me. I’ll probably regret it forever.

Reagentspark2

Things just got better when we’d take trains out to farther places like Hampton Court Palace, and Bath City, and I hate myself for a little while for not even realizing that most of my favorite books and films are British and are set in British places. My sister and I kept repeating “I love you most ardently” over and over again as we watched the English countryside pass us by on the train to Bath. There were fields of yellow flowers, sheep, cows and horses. In a distance is fog, old houses of brick or stone, and it would feel like a scene from Pride and Prejudice.

I was convinced that the Hampton Court Palace had been my favorite place, but then Bath happened. And you should know, Bath is beautiful. Bath is old, romantic and heartbreaking to leave. The countryside, the palaces, the walks around the city: all of it so romantic and easy to fall in love with. Then of course there’s Warwick, and that was all together lovely and different. It was also where I found fields and fields of sheep and ducklings making their way down the river. Then there’s Oxford and Stratford. How could I even choose a favorite? I am so smitten with Britain.

IMG_0473
IMG_4062
IMG_0769

It does get cold, dreary, and gloomy. It rains, then it stops, then it rains again. Everything is expensive, and my feet ache after 8 hours of standing and walking, but I can hardly get enough.

Walking into the British museum was overwhelming. Watching wicked was overwhelming. Walking through stony paths in bath and thinking that I had walked the same paths as Jane Austen was overwhelming.

England has been breathtakingly beautiful, that I can’t even comprehend that I could love a city. A city! A city with buildings and trains and cars, things that I never really thought I could consider as beautiful! There are just so many things to see, so many people to watch. Interesting things, that I never even could imagine was possible in one place.

IMG_4929
IMG_5014
oxfordstreet

Dramatic, I apologize, but I feel like I’ve just woken up from years of ignorance.

Out of all the countries I’ve been to, not just for this summer, but for my entire life, England is my favorite. I’ve never felt the heartbreaking sadness of leaving a place like I did London. It was inevitable since I was going to be separated from my sister again, but it was so much more. I feel like I had become more than just a tourist, but for a moment, someone who lived there, even if it had just been for a little while.

I’ll miss everything about it, and I anxiously wait for the next time I’ll see that beautiful clock tower again. England has ripped out my heart, and left the pieces all over its countryside, high streets and rivers, and I should really just come back and collect them.

IMG_0017

A Very Tasty London

Everything I heard people say about London has been, so far, true. London is beautiful and covered in brick. The weather is cold (sometimes, too cold)  and it rains a lot.  It rains a lot. Of course, they weren’t right about everything. If there was one thing people got wrong about London, it would have to be the food.

On my first day in London, my sisters took me to the weekend market (actually, it’s from Thursday to Saturday) near the London Bridge.

First impressions, it seemed like a bigger Mercato. The market was divided into three markets, not necessarily sorting the stalls into any specific categories.  The first section I walked in was the Middle Market, where I could instantly smell something cooking–and it smelled really REALLY good.

IMG_9124
IMG_9126
IMG_9130
IMG_9128

The sign said, “Duck Confit Rillette Sandwich”, and it was apparently one of my sisters’ favorites, so we bought one to share, and along with mulled wine in a paper cup.

They put a heaping amount of braised duck meat on bread (which I think is Ciabatta, not sure haha) that had mustard and a couple of rocket leaves. It all sounded fancy and pretentious, the duck sandwich and the mulled wine. I had no idea what to expect, but when I took my first bite, I swear, it was like everything went in to slow-motion.

It was so good.

So good that I can actually conclude that this was probably one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

We stood there for about five minutes, sharing the sandwich, and passing around the mulled wine. The heat off of the mulled wine made the cold for me a little bit more bearable, and it tasted good. Mulled wine is basically hot red wine, mixed with spices. Sounds weird, I know, but it isn’t bitter, and it felt so good to drink in that weather.

IMG_9447
IMG_9140
IMG_9135
IMG_9147

We then walked and looked around for a bit, and everything was so overwhelming. I got so excited to see fennel, artichokes, lavender, and all the other things that I would always see on food shows, but could never find in the Philippines. The mushrooms didn’t come in cans, or tiny little packages, they looked as if they were dumped in the stall displays, one kind next to another, next to another. There were baby carrots, French carrots, tiny tomatoes, big ones, and I laughed at myself for pointing out the ones Gordon Ramsay uses with his egg omelette to my sisters.

IMG_9423
IMG_9422
IMG_9430
Then we loitered around the other markets and found more interesting stalls. I found stalls that sold foie gras, lots of cheese wheels, and sausages. It was so surreal! There was a place that sold Turkish Delight and Baklava. There were stalls that sold bread and brownies stacked in tall piles. There was so much to try—just not enough money to try them all. (The food in London is expensive)

After going around the other two markets, we walked back to middle market, and purchased a glass of Prosecco. We carried the plastic flute to the Green Market to buy oysters, where the man shucked it right in front of us, and gave us lemon and vinegar. We settled down at one of the tables in the next market, and ate it together.

IMG_9237
IMG_9261
IMG_9271
IMG_9265

The oysters were cold and fresh, and tasted so good with either the vinegar or lemon.
At that point, I was so happy. All the exhaustion from my eighteen hour trip and two hours in immigration was quickly washed away by the Prosecco and oysters.

I was still pretty tired though, and we still had a long walk home, so we bought a potted Lavender plant, a bottle of Bordeaux at a nearby wine shop, and we  finally went home, with my tummy full and happy.
IMG_9290
IMG_9300
IMG_9313

IMG_9319

Anyway, PHOTODUMP!!! Continue reading