The POD

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pod2Despite all of the fun things we did on this trip to London, the POD might have been the most fun!

Our flight back to Sweden was leaving Heathrow around 6 in the morning on Sunday, so we stayed at a hotel by the airport on Saturday night.

We took the subway out to Heathrow, knowing that our hotel was close to Terminal 5, and from there asked someone what the best way to get to our hotel would be. They suggested the elevator up to the POD. We kind of assumed this was the name of a bus or train but it turns out it’s an actual pod.

They’re not on tracks like trains. Both sides have seats like the picture to the right, fitting up to four people. And it drives itself between the terminal and a special parking lot. IT DRIVES ITSELF! On it’s own cute little road!

I want one of these to take me everywhere! It only took about five minutes and costs five pounds and is incredibly cool!

 

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Cafes in London

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That’s a strawberry marange cookie! It was amazing and I don’t even like marange. Oh, and my name isn’t Sharol.

While in London, Linn and I visited a handful of chain cafes for quick sugar boosts and breakfast. England had two of it’s own, Costa and Nero, and then of course Starbucks. Starbucks, we’d expected to be the same here as it is in the States and Sweden. As far as drinks and those fun surprise misspellings of names, it was! A few different treats, of course. But the actual cafes weren’t as cozy. The interior design was a little more like a Subway than a Starbucks as we’ve come to know them.

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Costa was the first one we tried for breakfast.

Tourist note: In Sweden hotels have AMAZING breakfast buffets that are included in your stay. If you’re used to this, you may be incredibly disappointed with London hotels. Ours offered breakfast but it was in a crowded, windowless dungeon and pretty much just a toaster machine with white bread and butter, some cereals and coffee. We’re spoiled, so we went to a cafe instead.

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I mean, look at that! Who would stay in a gloomy room fighting over toast when you could get this?

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Breakfast! We tried Costa twice (two different locations). The food was good but in both cases the staffs were incredibly unhappy and stressed and the coffee wasn’t very good.

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Which is a shame, because my latte was so big it had two handles.

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Nero ended up being our favorite. The staff was great, the coffee good, and they had scones with clotted cream just in time for Linn’s clotted cream love.

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We also tried Nero a couple times in different locations.

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And we really liked their cozy decor. We’re suckers for comfy chairs and wallpaper.

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In the end, for us, it was:

Nero – Yes.

Costa – No.

Starbucks – Drift through for frappuccinos. No, I do not live a healthy life when I travel.

 

All pictures of me were taken by the amazing Linn!

Upcoming posts: The POD and Travel in London.

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Shopping Adventures in London

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Between castles and cafes and museums and parks we managed to wedge in a good amount of shopping.

We walked Portobello Market.

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The only thing we bought at the market was a potato skewer thingy. While they were making it we started to regret the purchase because it looked like way too much greasy potato but, as is often true, greasy potato is amazing!

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Yes, we went to platform 9 3/4. There’s a pretty impressive Harry Potter store as well as the baggage cart half in the wall for taking pictures with. The dauntingly long and winding line of children kept us from actually getting a picture with the baggage cart, but we did see it!

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The Platform 9 3/4 shop has everything and looks adorable!

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We got to see and overhear Harry Potter fans from around the world geeking out in this place. Despite the pictures, it was packed. I had to wait and be quick about the picture taking to get ones without a bunch of people in the way.

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The Moomin Shop! We had to take a peek at this one since Moomin is Swedish. It was a really adorable store.

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We saw a couple of these kitschy cute Cath Kidston stores around. Unfortunately, they smell so strongly of perfume that we couldn’t stand to be in them for very long.

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kikki.K kind of blew our minds. We went in because a friend of mine in Australia has raved about it. But when we took a look around, we started to get surprised how Swedish things felt. And then we noticed one of the planners had text in Swedish on it!

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But we’ve never seen a kikki.K in Sweden and were quite certain we’d remember if we had. Also, it would probably be really popular in Sweden. So, we asked one of the staff what was up with this place and he told us that the woman who started the boutique in Australia was from Sweden! Mystery solved! Seriously though, kikki.K should probably be in Sweden too…

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3ina! We went in because we saw a wall of color that turned out to be nail polishes!

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I ended up asking about a makeup problem I was having, they were delightful and now I’m sold on a brand that doesn’t even exist in Sweden.

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Loot!

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One of the few shops we were actually looking for was Forbidden Planet.

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Tons of fan-swag on the first floor but downstairs was where we found the walls of books and comics.

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They even had a steampunk section with some of my favorites! Linn spent some serious time in here. We had to come back after a coffee break.

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I’m going to include the Royal Opera House in our shopping adventure because I was really excited about their gift shop. We didn’t have tickets to see anything (because Frankenstein was totally booked) but we still swung by for the gift shop.

Honestly, we saw a lot of great gift shops. Not just the museums but even the British Library had a great gift shop. Though I supposed the British Library is a bit of a museum itself..

All pictures of me were snapped by the amazing Linn.

Upcoming posts (yes, we are finally getting down to the last of the London posts): Cafes in London, The POD, and Traveling to London.

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A walk through the Victoria & Albert Museum

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Museum time!

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This places was huge and had a little of everything. Most of the museum is free, though it’s nice to leave a donation.

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We went on Friday because it was open from 10 in the morning until almost 10 in the evening. We headed over in the late afternoon, around 6 when the shops we were at started closing.

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As it turns out the museum had a few entrances. We took the subway over and ended up following signs that led to an underground entrance. I was really impressed how easy being a tourist in London was.

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Not all of the exhibits were open but we still had quite a lot to look at and because we were there late, it was nearly empty.

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Sculpture details! Ugh. I love details on sculptures. I might get a bust of Phong made someday…

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The jewelry exhibit was one of the ones closed but we still found shiny things to look at.

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Tiny old crowns!

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English style dress from 1785!

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Dress details. Clothing and jewelry were enclosed in glass but there was also a lot of larger displays of furniture.

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I have so many pictures. SO MANY. And I didn’t take pictures of even a quarter of the things we saw.

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They had collections of clothing and accessories from all over the world.

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There were both old and modern fashion in the exhibits.

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Tea sets! It’s probably good that they put them in glass cases. I might have been tempted to touch otherwise.

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Upcoming posts: Shopping Adventures in London, Cafes in London, The POD, and London Travel Tips!

 

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Food Adventures in London

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Yo! Sushi. This is a chain of conveyor-belt sushi shops. We saw a bunch of them while walking around and finally stopped at one to scratch Linn’s sushi itch. I, unfortunately, do not like sushi. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty and tidy and I’d love to love it- but I don’t.

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Our hotel was in Earl’s Court and there was a bunch of restaurants (plus Earl’s Court Station) just around the corner. On our first night we were so hungry that we checked in, dropped off our stuff, and then picked the nearest open place we could find that looked good.

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Zizzi was a great pizza and pasta place in Earl’s Court. They had a huge pizza oven you could see and a bunch of different choices. I went adventurous and took a white pesto sauce pizza with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, spinach and sweet potato. I also tried a lemonade. It was tart. Very tart but very good.

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Mooboo! We tried bubble tea for the first time. Tapioca bubbles in fruity tea. The staff was super helpful and explained our choices and the difference between the kinds of bubbles.

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Linn liked it. I did not. Despite not liking it, I drank it all because, well, it had a straw and was cold and London has almost no trashcans.

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On our second night we were in Soho looking for a place called PingPong but ended up finding Masala Zone instead. There were a few vegetarian choices. I really wanted to get the paneer but it had a three chili rating that I was told by the waiter was serious and could not be altered so I decided not to tempt fate and picked a one chili dish instead. I was right to be careful. The one chili rated dish was a good level of spicy and I did not need spicier, not even for cheese.

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Linn got a mixed plate that looked really good. I was a bit jealous but mine was good too.

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For dessert we had chai teas. I haven’t really been a fan of chai in the past but this was really great.

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The next day we found PingPong in time for lunch! It was warm out and we were pretty excited to start off with iced teas.

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The baby bok choy was AMAZING. Everything was really good and the menu is set up so that you can order small amounts of multiple things in order to try a lot of different dishes.

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Mushroom stuffed bao and two different kinds of vegetarian dumplings! Of course they had lots of meat dishes too. I know Linn had as many dumplings/bao as I did but with meats. Clever, because then I couldn’t steal any of hers.

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This was probably our favorite restaurant of the trip. The others were all really good, we didn’t have any bad experiences with our food adventures, but this was just extra amazing. There’s a pretty good chance we’d come back again next time we’re in London.

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Last was Byron in Earl’s Court. We were wiped out and hungry after a full day running around London so we decided to go back to our hotel, drop off our stuff, and then try another place close by. This time we went for burgers.

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I had a mushroom burger. The patty was a grilled portobello mushroom with goats cheese, roasted red pepper, spinach and aioli sauce. I also had mac&cheese and fries. Linn had a cheese burger and sweet potato fries.

All of our food experiences were really good. There was always vegetarian options (and not just one) and we never ran into anything we didn’t want to finish.

Pictures of me were, of course, taken by Linn.

Our cafe experiences will be in another blog post, coming up soon!

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