UK Trip Part 1

by Syafiq Azhari

22 Jun
Touched Down at Gatwick Airport in London at 11.30 in the morning. Unfortunately, it has to be a long queue before we get to the custom and clear the luggage. Najihah and Azureen were waiting at the arrival and I was a bit awkward to see them, in fact, I was never seen them before. I thought maybe it's time to make new friends, afterall, I have to. Soon as we arrived, we went to get the car that was pre-booked online prior before the trip. However, due to the International License requirement, our booking has been rejected. Only if I had an International License, but never mind, life goes on. There were about five other car rental companies at the airport, and one by one rejected our request to leave us fuming. Three hours went by and we were still in pursuit of a rent car. The negotiations with the companies seemed to reach an impasse.

What a bad start to the day, our plan to get off to Liverpool that morning was fading away. I was clinging onto a small hope that renting a car was still possible when Azureen told us that there might be another company at London Victoria Station. We decided to try our luck and immediately took the train to London Victoria Station. When I was about to fall asleep, the attendant came over to check the ticket and had asked to pay extra pounds, I gave her my twenty-pound note, yet again, the unfortunate happened, she told me that it was an old version and never officially being used anymore. What?? That means I have another 140 pound of 'ancient' British notes with me. Luckily, a good Samaritan appeared out of nowhere and offered me his money for the exchange of mine. 

London Victoria Station
We arrived at the station at 4.05 pm and went straight to rent a car. After a little bit of twist and turn, finally we got a car, but not until tomorrow evening, 24 hours after the booking was made. Thank Allah, though it was a bit off from the initial plan, after six hours of searching, we ultimately managed to find one. Thinking back, it was actually the cheapest deal amongst all the other companies, maybe that was the 'deal of the day' He already planned for us. Azureen took us on a long, tricky journey through the Tube and met Faqihuddin or 'Din' at Queensway Station. Undeniably, London has an integrated underground transportation system I should say. We checked-in at Royal Bayswater Hotel at 7.45 pm, whereas Zue and Jiah checked-in at Malaysia Hall. There were four or five other people inside the room of ten, which was in fact a co-ed dormitory. I greeted a chinese girl who was sitting next to my bed just to make her feel unawkward. 

The River Thames
After taking a bath, I immediately lie my head on the bed and took a nap until they came over at 9.18 for the dinner. They took us to Malaysia Hall, the food was quite good, a little bit expensive though, but thanks Jiah for the treat. Afterwards, we went for a walk at Westminster Bridge near the Parliament. The Big Ben aside the River Thames was amazing. Soon after, we went back to the hotel and stored our luggage at Amir's place, another new friend of mine, for a week before going back to Malaysia. That was the end of the first day.

23 Jun

Hyde Park
I woke up early and decided to go for a walk at Hyde Park just at the opposite end of the hotel building. The atmosphere was relaxing, and the breeze had blown away all the mess in my head, I could feel the harmony at the park. Dogs were left unguarded, running around happily, the Swans in the lake were swimming freely. The people were everywhere, some were brisk walking, and some others were jogging, cycling, leaving others sitting on the bench facing the lake. 

Kensington Palace

I met a woman, Ana, whom also a Malaysian, and happened to be 'Orang Terengganu'. At first, I didn't recognize her Malay face, but when I heard the word 'silau', I knew she is. I had a chat with her while she was waiting for her husband. At one side of the park, there sits a garden called Kensington Garden which lies inside the old royal palace, Kensington Palace. It was the former residence of Princess Diana before her death in 1998. There was not so many people around, maybe it was too early. I went back to the room and packed the stuff before going for breakfast with Amin. We checked out of the hotel and waited for the two at the bus stop near the hotel entrance. I saw Malaysians on many occasions, but they weren't seemed to greet each other, maybe because there are a big chunk of Malaysians in London and it has became too redundant.

Tour  of London 
At 10 am, we went to Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC stadiums with two 'Pak Cik' whom we just met. They were just arrived at London and had asked our help to bring them touring around. I had no problem with it and firstly we went to the bank to exchange our 'old' notes with the new ones. At last I got some money to spend. So many things happened and I just realized that we were better off to be travelling with Zue and Jiah. At Chelsea and Arsenal stadiums, we went straight into their stores, nothing much to do with the stadiums either.

The plan to go to London Bridge has been called off in the last minute due to time constrain, and Zue took us for lunch at Oxford Street. London is a massive metropolitan, it could be regarded as one of the best in terms of shopping and leisure. Tourists like us should spend more time in the city because apparently it offers a lot of attractions. No wonder it's being included in the Top 5 most visited city in the world. But we just didn't have much time left. We took the car at London Victoria station and off to Liverpool at 7.00 pm. And the journey began, Amin was the one and only driver, too bad because I can't drive manual cars. The journey was quite smooth thanks to the GPS but we did took the wrong exit on the highway and has to turn back, wasted almost half an hour there. The time spent during the whole journey gave us some space to get to know and gel with each other. The overall journey took us more than six hours. We checked in at Dolby Hotel at 2.00 am.

24 Jun
The River Mersey
The sleep last night completely refreshen my body. It was my dream to step my foot at Anfield, and we got there before 10 in the morning. Three hours of stadium and museum tour was more than enough for us, and we left the stadium to find out that the car had problem to start. Luckily, we managed to get off and went to the car service. To be honest, I could barely catch what the mechanic said because of his scouse's accent, but I did understand that he told us to find the car dealer because it was a brand new car and still under the warranty. That was nearly impossible and so we decided to let the problem off.

Liverpool City Centre
The museums at Albert dock area near the city centre tells everything about the history of Liverpool. From the early era when it became one of the main port of Britain. During its time of glory, Liverpool controls nearly one third of Britain's export including coal, woolen cloth, iron and knives. It continues to lead the economic growth until the world war II, where it was being the target of attack. The architecture of the buildings at the city centre encompassed several different styles such as Georgian and Victorian since the past 200 years. All these has subsequently qualified some areas in Liverpool to be declared as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

It was raining since the afternoon, and we left for Manchester after the late lunch. Arrived at Manchester around 11 pm, we stayed at Acai's house. They greeted us just like we've known each other for some times, and they were so easy to make friends with. However, we didn't spend much time as we were too tired. Almost one in the morning and it was time to sleep.


n@d!r@h said...

wow! gi liverpool dop masuk anfield ke? ;D

Syafiq Azhari said...

eh, mesti r masuk..fav team kot...hehe

Affan said...

Thanks for sharing, waiting for part 2 haha

Syafiq Azhari said...

sabar2...busy sket

Anonymous said...

mane part 2 ko