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Monday, March 10, 2014

London Throwback: Borough Market, London Bridge & Tower Bridge

"Either open this page, wait for it to load and go do something else before coming back or just click the X button on the top right hand corner of your browser window and don’t come back."

I took a long time piecing all the pictures to tell a photo story for this post as the photos for that day were 1) jumbled up in two cameras with 2) different timing and 3) not set according to London's time zone. Photos with strong bluish tone were taken using kh's underwater camera which was used as our spare camera during the trip.

Continuing from Part 1 of London Day 2 which chronicled our walk along the River Thames, this is Part 2 of London Day 2. As the title suggests, this post features the Borough Market and more sights along the River Thames.

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Day 2: Borough Market (19 December)

It was my first time at an English market and boy do I LURVE it! From books and films, and friends' recommendation, I knew I would love visiting an English market. I could agree no more to the quote below. Borough Market is indeed a vibrant place filled with friendly stall holders.

Time and weather did not permit us to visit Camden Market and Covent Garden during this trip. Borough Market was the only market we visited in London. It wasn't on our mental To-Do list and we happened to stumble upon it during our River Thames walk. What a gem we had stumbled upon!

The crowd at Borough Market with the Christmassy decoration got me all excited.

It was such a neat market with adequate signage at each turn.

These market folks had certainly caught up with time. I don't think any of our local market folks would be on Twitter.

Furness Fish Markets was a really interesting fish stall that held our attention for a good few minutes.

These ducks probably just died. They looked... well... fresh.

What big mouth you have!

The focus of this photo wasn't the slabs of fresh fish...

... but the puffer fish.

The Vietnamese chicken curry smelled so good on a cold day.

We wondered how "proper" these Proper Fish and Chips were.

Kh exclaimed at the price tag for a hair cut; £14 for a hair cut is about a SGD$30. While, SGD$30 is reasonable for a wash, cut and blow for ladies in Singapore, Kh cuts his hair for SGD$4.50.

I like to see rows of recycling bins. They ought to have more recycling bins in Singapore.

This stall totally caught our eye. Beef, mushrooms and potatoes are savoury foods that our growling belly would most certainly welcome.

We had not had anything to eat since our full brunch at the hotel and the thought of beef stew was tantalizing our taste buds.

The greedy hubby refused to share with me.

Look at his unwilling face and my greedy face. The stew was simply gratifying!

I could die of sugar overload with meringue as huge as these.

These looked like Portuguese egg tarts that we have in Singapore too. We did not know what "Nata" was and felt so handicapped without a data plan for my iPhone to Google "nata" on the spot. It turned out that they were really Portuguese egg tarts.

I don't know if you are the type to crave for savoury foods instead of sweet foods when hungry but kh and I sure are the savoury type when hungry. Being uninitiated, kh and I thought that mince pies were savoury minced meat pies and were thrilled to be sinking our teeth into minced meat.

Amidst all the sweetness that this stall offered, we thought that we could have some savoury pies.

We were completely disappointed when we bit onto what tasted like fruit pies. From that day onwards, we had the misconception that mince pies were fruit pies till I just Googled them (while crafting this post) and realized that they ought to contain minced meat but are overall sweet due to the fruits filling.

Everywhere kh goes, he needs to have his daily dose of coffee. Likewise while on a holiday.

He decided to try some authentic London coffee at an authentic London market. According to him, it was not bad.

A stall with the header "drunk cheese" really appealed to us. We are cheese lovers and we like any food with alcohol in them. Hence drunk cheese is a perfect marriage of the two.

This stall sold Italian gourmet cheese.

After mulling over which cheese to choose, we bought Basajo which is a creamy paste blue cheese made of sheep raw milk aged in fine Passito wine.

I needed a balance of cheese texture and so for hard cheese, we bought Testun. Testun is an ancient Italian mountain cheese made from a mix of sheep’s and goats’ milk but in this case, a mix of goat's and cow's milk. This hard cheese is packed in “grape must” resulting from the production of Barolo wine, infusing the cheese with an amazing, decadent, vinous flavour.

Besides all the fresh food stalls we encountered, there were also stalls selling dry produce and non-food products.

The stall selling honey and other produce had cute bags on sale to go with their products.

We walked past Southwark Catheral as we strolled away from the main bustling area of Borough Market.

It isn't as magnificent as St Paul's Cathedral which we saw earlier in the day of course but it has its own charm too.

Jubilee Market wasn't as bustling as Borough Market.

One of the major sounds heard were the Christmas carols.

Upon googling, I could not find the Jubilee Market that is near Borough Market. Instead, I kept getting results of the Jubilee Market at Covent Garden.

I reckon that this Jubilee Market is part of Borough Market. Could any English readers or Londoners please enlighten me?


Besides depicting how empty Jubilee Market was, this picture had another story.
In the movie You Are the Apple of my Eye - 那些年,我們一起追的女孩, there was a train scene where the lead male character Ke Teng told the lead female character Shen Jia Yi that he wanted to take a photo of her with the train in the background flashing past. She hurriedly ran to the spot and posed. When she walked back to him, he nonchalantly told her that he did not snap any picture. That was exactly what kh did! He took this picture when I was preparing to walk back to him with the train gone. FYI, the white bar behind me to the top left of the picture was the train track.

Finally with the train!

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Day 2: It's Raining, It's Pouring. (19 December)

To seek refuge from the drizzle which had gotten heavier, we wandered into somewhere with shelter and found ourselves in a rather deserted "mall".

A Petanque pitch indoors?

Kh wondered about the men who visited this pub.

I was always thrilled by red phone booths.

Imitating Clarke Kent.

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Day 2: London Bridge, Tower Bridge and Other Sights (19 December)

Going from the left of the map, you could trace our paths from the areas around Southwark Bridge, London Bridge and finally Tower Bridge.

Southwark Bridge is an arch bridge in London for traffic linking the district of Southwark and the City across the River Thames. It looked pretty nondescript to me.

Walking away from Southwark Bridge, the next bridge would be London Bridge. People often mistake the Tower Bridge for London Bridge. In fact, if you key in "London Bridge" on Google and click on images, you would see loads of photos of Tower Bridge. This often befuddles many. After all, the song "London Bridge is Falling Down" features images of the Tower Bridge which had been ingrained in the minds of many when they were mere kids.

"London Bridge refers to several historical bridges that have spanned the River Thames between the City of London and Southwark, in central London. The current crossing, which opened to traffic in 1973, is a box girder bridge built from concrete and steel. This replaced a 19th-century stone-arched bridge, which in turn superseded a 600-year-old medieval structure. This was preceded by a succession of timber bridges, the first built by the Roman founders of London." -- Wikipedia

An icon of London called for Chi Cats appearance to stamp their paws.

London Bridge looks as modern as this.

No towers by the side which would collapse as per the song.

This London Bridge wouldn't fall down.

This is the Tower Bridge in the background. Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name, and has become an iconic symbol of London. It certainly looks more like a London Bridge than London Bridge itself.

All geared up to cross Tower Bridge.

"The high-level open air walkways between the towers gained an unpleasant reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets; as they were only accessible by stairs they were seldom used by regular pedestrians, and were closed in 1910. In 1982 they were reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, a display housed in the bridge's twin towers, the high-level walkways and the Victorian engine rooms. The exhibition charges an admission fee. It uses films, photos and interactive displays to explain why and how Tower Bridge was built. Visitors can access the original steam engines that once powered the bridge bascules, housed in a building close to the south end of the bridge." -- Wikipedia

Standing right at the opening of the bascule.

A little quote on bridges.

Other than bridges, we also found a quiet and beautiful little alley...

... and a forgotten flight of stairs.

I just thought that the red doors and windows of The Anchor were rather eye-catching.

We were thrilled to see Nando's in London!

The Clink was a notorious prison in Southwark which functioned from the 12th century until 1780.

A ship out of nowhere.

Old Thameside Inn looked like just the type of inn I would love to unwind at. Such a charming little place from the outside. I'm getting hungry reading the reviews of the restaurant.

London Bridge Hospital.

An interesting connector!

The connector led to the London Bridge City Pier.

The London Dungeon which we had no time for.

A unique architectural design.

Kh was reunited with his dinosaur's egg.

We wondered what the glass buildings located on the River Thames in the London Borough of Southwark were.

It is London's City Hall which forms part of a larger development called More London, including offices and shops.

Tower Bridge by night.

There was a small exhibition area of the Tower of London which really whetted my appetite for our impending visit there the next day!

Featured here are some exhibits related to the Tower of London like the replica of a Tudor axe, the crown jewels...

... an old cannon, a dog baiting collar and the royal mint.

I'm fascinated by all the stories of Queen Ann Boelyn. I believe that she was a tragic heroine who had been wrongly accused and executed. Instead of being executed with a traditional axe, Queen Ann Boelyn requested to be executed with a sword and got her last wish granted.

Tower of London by night.

A KFC outlet in such a quaint underground place seemed to stick out like a sore thumb.

After a whole day of walking in the rain, I was craving for something warm and soupy. A shop assistant recommended Wagamama.

Chi cats were exhausted from a long day in the rain too and needed some booze to warm themselves.

Satisfying ramen dinner at Wagamama!

I love eating and drinking soupy foods on a cold winter day. The yakitori was blah! We really couldn't expect much from a Japanese franchise in a western country.

Chi Cats conquered Borough Market, London Bridge and Tower Bridge that day.

Day 3 would feature our visit to Tower of London. I personally love that attraction a lot. One of London's most famous landmarks, the historic Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

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  1. Wow, I don't know where to start! Thank you for sharing this. Looks like you picked a great time of year for the visit. I really like the Christmas-y touches.

    PS - Nando's must be everywhere now!!! :)

    1. I'm sucker for spending Christmas in western countries coz it really feels a lot more Christmassy then. Yes! I think Nado's is everywhere now. They really expanded quite a bit over the years.

  2. Hi Jo, I have an English friend who always talk me about their markets, so my dream is visiting them too one day. Borough market looks full of lovely and interesting stalls, Im actually very hungry looking at the pics :) I always heard about portuguese tarts and Id love to try them. I knew mince pies contained meat, I dont eat meat but I can imagine those must be very sweet. Lol, you know I googled "London Bridge" and many pics of the Tower Bridge came out, I havent realized it till now. You look adorable and did a great job with all the photos, they are beautiful and really interesting to check it out. Kisses and have a great week ahead! xo

    1. I love English markets as they are really different from the ones we have here. Does Italy have such markets too? I didn't visit any market when I was in Italy. Yes, those images of Tower Bridge really confuse people and up till now, many still mistook the Tower Bridge for London Bridge because even Google portrays it that way!

      Are you a total vegan or part vegetarian? It's very interesting to know more about my blog friends.And yes, thank you for your lovely compliments.

  3. WOW!! Beautiful pictures! Love it!
    Wanna follow each other let me know! Kisses

    1. Thanx for your comment. I would be checking out your blog in a moment. =)

  4. Had a good laugh at 'Drunk Cheese' and 'Hornimen' because I am an immature adult :D
    So lovely to see all these various shots of the city! This makes me want to go to London even more now
    Borough Market looks beautiful and quirky! I haven't exactly been to my fair share of farmers markets here in Toronto, but I'll definitely have to go to Borough Market when I go to London one day!
    Not gonna lie, when I saw the thumbnail image of the first photo in this post, I thought it was a fashion blog, and went "But I don't recall subscribing to a fashion blog?" (i.e. that first shot is very picturesque)

    1. I would think any western market would evoke a similar feel and I'm quire sure Toronto would be interesting to check out too! They are definitely different from the markets we have over here.

      Hahaha... Thanx for the compliment about the 1st picture. My blog is such a mish mash of things with food, fashion, lifestyle, photostories that I don't even know how to classify my blog.

  5. You 2 are so adorable and what lovely pictures. What a great tour of an interesting side of London town. Would be so amazing to see it one day. Such fun!!!

    1. Thank you, Rick. You definitely won't be able to see London in one day. Ok I was trying to pun but that's grammatically wrong too. Bad joke.

  6. This looks like it was a wonderful the photos!! I hope you have a great week doll xx

  7. That market looks absolutely amazing! They offer so many fresh and already prepared food options! HAHAHA About your greedy husband! He did share. London has so many awesome exhibits! They feature so many great things. Such a rich history. Love those bridge pics. Boy did it rain there! Glad you two made the best of it. Jo, you took some amazing pictures. I always learn something from your blog.

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, sweets. Yeah, it was really difficult to plan our path with the rain but we try to make do with anything thrown in our way. I always learn something from your blog too!

  8. ahh jo!! the hubs and i are heading back to london soon so this post is making me extra excited heheheh!!

    omgosh i want to go to borough market the food looks AMAZING!!! i LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE portugese egg tarts!!! those look pretty legit!!

    ohh is wagamama good?? the ramen looks pretty impressive.. but i've heard they're a chain throughout england but ppl say it's very "westernized"

    i'm so happy to hear you are feeling loads better!! please make sure to watch your cough though because sometimes the cough itself can really effect the lungs and make things worse!!

    i think i'm adjusting ok to the contacts.. they are very comfortable however my eyes do get quite red though.. i don't know if it's the weather.. since it's getting warm.. so could be allergies.. or my makeup.. i do wear a lot of makeup hahaha.. or could be because they are astigmatism contacts?? i don't know... i do know that if i wear them 2 days in a row my eyes are REALLY tight and dry feeling so i try not to wear them for more then 2 days in a row if i can avoid it.

    yay i'm so glad you're enjoying my recipe series. before i got married i didn't know how to cook ANYTHING. i mean i didn't even know how to make rice.. and it's like as soon as you get married everyone (especially your husband!! LOL) just EXPECTS you to be able to cook.. i don't think i'm a very skillful cook but i figure there must be lots of ppl like me.. don't know how to cook but still wants to be able to make some decent meals that come out fairly tasty but aren't difficult!! i'm glad you like the pictures.. i'm a visual learner.. i prefer pictures over words any day!!! hehe!

    1. Ah! I would be excited to see your London post! Wagamama is normal like any other chain restaurant. If it were in Singapore, I would just say it passed the borderline but I don't expect a lot from Asian food in Western countries. I'm still coughing every now and then esp in the night. I hope it would be better in no time.

      You have to slowly adjust to contacts and that's a good practice of you not wearing consecutive days esp when you just started.

      Hahaha... I can cook pretty well back in school when I took cooking lessons but that's only when I have enough time to prepare and learn the recipe by heart. I'm trying to emulate my parents' cooking as I really love their simple dishes with rice. I can't cook those well at all. Aside from the expectation that husbands expect their wives to know how to cook, many wives would also make the effort to try to whip up whatever they can cook once in a while.

  9. I was in London last week and I walked over Tower Bridge and even took a photo of the same flower shop and spotted the quote about the politicians! I didn't get over to Borough Market though. All your food pictures are wonderful. Whenever I travel I always like to visit the local markets.

    1. Hehehe... It is really cute to see people walking the same path and seeing the same things, miss b. Local markets esp in Western countries are what I would love to visit too.

  10. What a wonderful walk down memory lane. We visited London about 5 years ago and it was so much fun exploring the markets and just walking around the city. Your post has made me nostalgic to visit again. We were there in early fall for a week and it didn't rain once. I couldn't believe our luck.

    I wish we could pepper our comments with Chinese but I moved back from Taiwan before school started so I never got to learn to write Chinese. My mom enrolled me in Chinese school but I wasn't interested in classes on Saturday since I was already in school for 5 days already. It's one of the few things I regret.

    Have a splendid week dear Jo!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

    1. You are really a lucky rabbit to visit London when it doesn't rain. That doesn't usually happen especially since it s filled with grey skies.

      Awww... I thought we could converse in part Mandarin. It is the culture of Singaporeans to pepper our speech with a dash of Mandarin and dialect at times. No worries though, Rowena. We can still continue to converse in English. What are your written and spoken languages besides English?

  11. This market looks amazing! It's a shame it was raining but it is London! (alright I'm a regular fish out of the sea thanks to rainy Vancouver) I always thought mince pies were savory too!!! Wow I didn't know they had so much fruit in them, I wonder if they were like that traditionally...

    Wagamama looks like such a nice clean modern ramen place and your pink umbrella is adorable ~

    1. I read that mince pies are traditionally sweet since it is meat plus fruits. I'm just anal and would either like my pie totally fruity sweet or totally meaty savoury.

      Wagamama looked almost too bright and western to be dishing out ramen. Ramen are usually served in dark places with soft warm lightings. Haha... That's just me trying to generalise. =D

  12. Good day, Jo! You're so blessed to have visited these places. I love the shots! And I think I'm gonna love the market place. I wonder how the taste of that meringue differ from that of the Philippines. God bless you! Have a nice day! :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog, Elaine. I love to see newcomers around. You come from the Philippines? That means we are SEAsian neighbours. I think our Singapore meringue would also taste the same since egg white and loads of sugar can't really taste much different. Hehehe...

  13. I was thinking to visit London this year too so this post was super interesting to me! And I just LOVE the pics with you two! You are too cute together! I always like couple pictures <3

    1. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment, Xin. I love to see new people around here. Thanx for your lovely compliments and I hope you get to visit London soon!

  14. Omg Jo that was so much information and a lot of photos. Yeah London is so photogenic I totally understand you. The apple of my eye sounds like a very cute movie. It's funny that the same thing happend to you. Yeah London is quite expensive but it's not much better over here. I have to pay 40€ for a haircut haha. The next time I'm in London I have to visit the markets cos I never did before. Btw you guys made me hungry again. I would love to have the stew!! Wish you a happy Tuesday Jo :D

    1. Always love hearing from you Mira dear. Ooh... I think it is all the same for hair cut in European countries. Hehehe... yep, it is a really cute Taiwanese movie. I don;t usually watch Chinese movies in the cinema but this one had such rave reviews. You should visit the market. I think that you would enjoy it.

  15. Ahh! I could recognize almost everything that you visited! ^_^ London is a great experience.

    1. Hehehe... It is fun to see places you've walked on other people's blog and I get that too. Haven't seen you around a lot. Will pop by your blog soon.

  16. So many great London photos! I am going there tomorrow and I can't wait!

    1. That's great! Hope you enjoy yourself in London!

  17. Thank you for sharing your amazing trip :) I'm going to bookmark this so I can prepare my trip better the next time I go to London! It's such a pity that it rained a lot but all your pictures are making me so envious :) Love love the food and the places you visited!

    1. Thanx for dropping by my blog and leaving me a comment. The rain really did mess up our path a little but we made do with whatever that's thrown into our way and had fun overall! I love seeing newcomers around and you sound like a sweet person. Hope we could keep in touch!

  18. Haha, I love how red phone boxes are so typically british but hardly any public pay phones look like that now!

    I'd love to visit that market, I've never been.

    Corinne x

    1. I'm not sure if you knew about the interior of those red phone booths. *smiles a little evil smile* Many people like me simply love these traditional phone boxes but upon seeing it for the first time, was shocked at the notti advertisements plastered all over.

  19. Very nice photos!
    You look so sweet!
    Have a nice weekend!!!

  20. Oh wow you had so much fun at the markets! How long in total were you in London for? I went there for 3 days, we did have time to check out tower bridge and the tower of London, but we never got to try any of the markets. Shame as some of the food looks great! :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thanx for dropping by my blog and leaving me a comment. I love seeing newcomers here and I hope we could stay in touch.

      I was in London for about a week. It was a London and Paris then back to London to catch a return flight so it adds up to almost a week and I still haven't visited so many places. It is definitely a city I would love to visit over and over again.

  21. My gosh how I wish I could go to that market and taste a bit of everything as long as my tummy can handle. Look so delicious. Love your pink umbrella too

    1. I wished you could go there too! That would be a good experience.


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