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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shopping in London

Early Monday morning I spent 23 minutes in total (including breakfast and shower) to get ready and was out of the door before 7. The trip to Copenhagen airport took about an hour by train. Travelled with Norwegian to Gatwick south of London. At Gatwick you scan your own passport on arrival, if you have a passport issued in the EU. Bought a sandwich and consumed it on the train to the city to save time. The first day of shopping started at the east end of Oxford Street and ended at the west. The primary reason for visiting was to buy plus size clothes. Some of the stores: Simply Be, New Look, Evans, Yours Clothing, Bonmarche and Forever 21. I didn't make purchases in all of them though. In the evening I had a hamburger and a chocolately dessert at Hard Rock Cafe. I was very tired after that much walking so I took the subway (called the tube) to the hotel. Hotel rooms in London are in my experience of very low quality and this was not an exception.  I got a room facing one of the busiest streets, there was a gap under the door to the hallway, the bathroom looked like it was from the 1930s, the toilet would only flush occasionally and the floor squeeked. It said on a poster that the plumbing was from the 1860s. I was exhausted and did get some sleep, despite all this.

The next morning I noticed that the showerhead was fixed in a position too low for me. I had to bend quite a lot to wash my hair. The breakfast was two boiled eggs and two slices of bacon. At 9 I took the tube to a shopping center called Surrey Quays pretty far south. Bought two tops at Yours Clothing and then went to a big grocery store, Tesco. They also had clothes and accessories, I found a very nice handbag with butterfly pattern. I had a chicken sandwich in the food court. Returned to the tube station and continued on the same line to one of Europe's largest shopping malls, Westfield Stratford City. 250 stores and 65 restaurants on several floors. I knew that there wouldn't be any stores with plus size clothing but I still wanted to see it. I walked from one end and then down a floor back. There were some Swedish stores there, Lindex and Polarn & Pyret, for instance. Also the Danish shop Tiger, selling cheap useful items like toys, kitchen utensils and small things. It was interesting to see. I returned by tube to Leicester Square and had a cheesecake at Hollywood Planet, mainly to get to sit down. My legs were hurting from all the walking. Made a small purchase at the gigantic M&Ms store and walked down to National Gallery. I wanted to see their collection of 17th century paintings, but that section was closed off for unknown reason. Slightly disappointing. I returned to Oxford Street by tube and bought a pair of boots and a top at two different Evans stores. I was at the west end of the street where there are very few restaurants, so I had a meal at Pizza Hut. A rather nice barbecue chicken pizza. Back to the hotel by bus.

Wednesday I woke up early but waited until 8 to get breakfast. This time I had the continental variant, two croissants with butter and jam. Not what I'm used to, but I survived. I checked out before 9 and made an attempt at going by the tube when it was still rush hour. Not a wise decision. Every train arriving (with 2-minute intervals) was packed with people in office suits. I had to wait at the platform quite a while before I could get onboard a train. In Sweden rush hour is over before 9, but obviously not in London. I made it to Holborn Station and changed to another line to go rather far north, Turnpike Lane. There was a store, Bonmarche, I wanted go to. It turned out to be a store aimed at women considerably older than myself. Even so, I walked in and right then lowered the average age of customers by several decades. I went through the stock and found two dresses (one of which was on sale). I was very happy about this, as it was a long journey to get there. I returned by the tube from far north through the city and ended at Victoria Station in the south. It took about 45 minutes. I had lunch at Ed's Easy Diner in the food court above the train station. A very nice barbecue pulled pork hamburger with cole slaw and onion rings. After this I managed to find out what trains went to Gatwick, bought a ticket in a machine and went onboard. The train ride took about 35 minutes. I returned to Copenhagen by the same airline, was rather lucky with the trains and arrived home at 8 in the evening.

Going shopping in London is not cheap. The clothing prices are basically the same as in Sweden, but everything else is more expensive. For me, it was the plus size collections that was the attraction, since it's different from here. I am pleased with the result: seven tops, three dresses, one pair of boots, three scarves (all three with butterflies on!), one handbag, some underwear and a few more small things.

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