London Trip – Day 01

After a few busy weeks of going back to school and resuming daily life, I’m back here to tell you about our week in London.

We managed to do our whole program and had very little rain. We were also very lucky that the Queen passed away after our return, I think that would have complicated our trip!

Once out of the station, we took a cab. When you live in Paris, you really regret that Parisian cabs are not like London ones. It is a real pleasure, especially because the traffic, even if it is still important, is fluid compared to Paris.

After this cab ride that allowed us to see a bit of the city and soak up the London atmosphere, we arrived at the hotel.

As we hadn’t traveled for a long time and our trip to Japan was cancelled because of the covid, we decided to treat ourselves by choosing a very nice hotel, the St Ermin’s hotel. The setting was beautiful, the rooms very well kept, the area not noisy and most importantly the staff was very friendly and very attentive.

There are many bus lines nearby and a metro station just a few steps away, which is very convenient. The buses saved three days of our program because there was a transport strike which finally affected only the metro. With the buses and walking, we were able to do everything we had planned.

For the first afternoon, we didn’t have anything in particular planned, but since it was raining we decided to go to an umbrella store that we had to go to another day. If you’re looking for an umbrella in London, James Smith & Sons is the store to go to. The storefront and the inside are a must see. We were very well advised and the salesman was very pleasant. We spoke in French with him because he was happy to practice our language.

We took a very small umbrella for my daughter to put in her school bag (with a reinforced shell to prevent it from breaking like last year’s), a large umbrella for two people and new solid umbrellas for my husband and me.

Once we were well equipped, we decided to stop for lunch somewhere. I had noted the Seven Dials Market. It’s very nice, but we found the place way too noisy. Finally we looked elsewhere and we took a snack/meal at Byron’s. It was good and there was almost no one there at the time we went there.

Since we were in the neighborhood and it wasn’t raining anymore, we decided to see three places we needed to see later to lighten the schedule for the following days.

As a geeky family, we were obligated to go through Forbidden Planet. It’s a very large store with a lot of things to see, but I didn’t like the atmosphere too much. I thought it lacked decor and the atmosphere wasn’t as good as the one in Boston. The basement was well stocked with comic books and manga.

For those in the know, we saw Bob Ross goodies everywhere.

We made a few purchases, very reasonable, including a book about the Batman TV series and a Batman/Scoobi-doo crossover comic book! A book that was meant for me because I love both universes.

Of course I took some very Londonish pictures.

We then went to Covent Garden, mainly to see the Moomins shop, but also because the place is very pretty. If you don’t like the crowd, avoid this place in the afternoon, it’s a very touristic place.

The Moomin shop is well stocked and there is plenty to satisfy Moomin enthusiasts. The decor is very cute. It’s a very small store, so don’t be claustrophobic! There is another Moomin store in another neighborhood which is less pretty, but more spacious.

Finally, we ended this first walk by a fine arts store, the London Graphic Center, a small paradise for artists.

We found two nice metal boxes. I think you can find this brand in France too. My daughter had already put stickers on them before I took the picture. She stored her manga material inside. I put my electronic games in mine.

After this busy day between the trip and the walk, we went back to the hotel before going out for dinner in a local restaurant, Royal Sushi. I don’t recommend it, it was good but nothing more.

Our first afternoon in London was finally more full than what we had planned, but it allowed us to get into the atmosphere of the city. As far as traffic is concerned, we went from August 16 to 23 and there were a lot of tourists. It is however very bearable because it is easy to find streets without people to rest from the crowd.

See you soon!

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