Posts Tagged ‘top lists’

Top 7 Favorite Stores in London


2010
05.18

1. Primark (499 Oxford Street London W1C 2QQ , Marble Arch station)

It’s just too good to be true. Cheapest prices in town. You will find there clothes and home decor. Not all items are worth buying though, either because of the questionable style or the obvious lack of quality (I’m a firm believer in the “if it doesn’t look cheap, no one knows it is” saying), but most of the time you can get a great deal out of trendy items.  Be prepared for long queues everywhere and excited teenage girls in large groups. To beat the crowds, get there early. I particularly love the shoes, the bags and the trendy sweaters section.

2. Jolie Moi (247 Camden High St, London, NW1 7BU, Camden Town station)

Independant store selling great unique items in a lively neighborhood. The quality offered is much higher than other stores on the High St,  resulting in no extravagant deals but nonetheless fair prices. Friendly owner. I particularly love their bag selection. Why not pay a visit to Camden Locks while you’re there and make the most out of your time there.

3. Topshop (216 Oxford St, London, W1N 7AF, Oxford Circus station)

Fashionista milestone. It just doesn’t get better than this. Not only do they offer the most trendy clothes in London, but they also have a nice selection of basic items often paired with 2 for 1 sales. Gotta love the ground floor dedicated to accessories and make-up. Ladies clothes are downstairs, including the exclusive Kate Moss collection.

4. Sainsbury’s Camden Road (17-21 Camden Road, London, NW1 9LJ, Camden Town station)

The Mecqua for any foodie in London. The store offers a tremendous variety of food, from veggies to breads to meat to condiments.The Sainsbury’s brand is also of very good quality. I do miss my sundried tomatoes and my white Stilton apricot cheese. Convenient operating hours. This branch definitely doesn’t go unnoticed with a sleek, modern architecture that somewhat stands out from the rest of the borough.

5. London Transport Museum Shop (Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 7BB, Covent Garden or Charing Cross stations)

The shop offers a wide variety of quirky things and gifts displaying the famous roundel, from ice cube trays to shower curtains. They also have a great selection of highly designd and pretty items and a vast collection of vintage posters. They also ship worlwide.

6. Paperchase (213-215 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PS T, Goodge St station)

Great place for gift shopping that does not involve tacky souvenirs. Artistic material on the 1st floor but the ground floor has many, many postcards, including hilarious and imaginative ones. I have a thing for their coordonated make-up cases.

7. Twinings (216, Strand, London, WC2R 1AP, Temple station)

Iconic tea store, dating back from 1717. Amazing selection. Make sure to pay a visit to the adjacent tea  & Twinings family museum. Not necessarly cheap to buy separately but My favorite flavor: white cranberry tea.

Top 5 reasons why I love London Buses


2010
04.07

Courtesy of WikiCommons

1. They’re just so freaking cool.

2. Recognizable all around the world, it’s a classic tourist photo of London.

3. Possibility of off-the-beaten-path-kind-of sightseeing when sitting on the top floor.

4. They’re so cheap to use! (when compared to the Tube or other)

5.Tourist reason: there are vocal and visual announcements of what the next stop is, therefore voiding any reason not to take the bus.

Worst hostels


2010
03.05

Ideal Hostel, Barcelona
C/UNIÓ Nº 12, 08001, Barcelona

What a nice play of words. Definitely the worst hostel I’ve seen. It is filthy, unsafe and a total rip off.

Rooms: You have to walk sideways to circulate between the beds. There are no steps to climb on to the top bed. There are no fans in the room. Anybody can walk in as the locks don’t actually… lock.

Bathrooms: Oh. My. God. Communal and unisex showers. Basically it’s just a huge, dark (no lights) and filthy corner of the bathroom where anybody (guy or gal!) can walk in while you’re showering. And there was vomit on the floor for the two days we were there.

Living room: I had bought some stuff to cook dinner back at the hostel kitchen but as I started to empty my grocery bags, the kind Indian man at the reception gently told me to bugger off as the kitchen closed at 7PM. For God’s sake, who in Spain has dinner before 7PM? I argued with him and he told me to fuck off. And the staff also tried the “you don’t have reservations, we’ll charge you double the price” trick on me, which didn’t work because I had the printed receipt. Plus if you absolutely have to use the Internet, be prepared to stand for a long time as one of the computers is always off service hence the long queues and there are no seats whatsoever, even for the person actually using the computer (looking for another hostel, most of the time).

I could go on and on, but basically, just don’t stay there.

Hostel Rosemary, Prague
Růžová 5/971 , 110 00 Prague 1 - Old Town, Czech republic

Now, this is probably just because I’m not used to Czech architecture but getting to the reception of this hostel is scary. The street is very dark and off the main road. Plus, finding the hostel is hard because there’s only a tiny, tiny sign outside. Once you’ve entered the building, you have to cross a non-lighted corridor to get to the reception area and up the elevator. It just doesn’t feel safe at all.

The rooms are actually very nice, lots of windows. The bathrooms are nice too.

The only problem with this hostel is the luggage room, which is located in the basement. Perfect setting for a horror movie. No lights whatsoever, cement walls, floors and ceiling. Broken wooden door at the end of the room. Staircase actually going into the ground to what I guess would be torture chambers. It was cold and filthy and noisy with all sorts of Czech insects.

Didn’t leave my luggage there.

Please comment if you’ve had bad experiences too!

Top 10 Overrated Attractions in Europe


2010
02.20

1. Manneken Pis, Brussels

It’s a tiny little men peeing in a fountain, on the corner of a street, with hundreds of tourists in awe around it. It sometimes has costumes. When I was there, it was an orange tuxedo. Lovely.

2. Astronomical Clock, Prague

The clock is not really interesting. It’s more of a tourist trap than anything, so beware your belongings… pickpockets thrive in this area.

3. Stonehenge, England

The stones are actually pretty impressive, especially when learning how it got there. What’s not impressive is the 20 feet distance from the stones and the nearby motorway.

4. Champs-Élysées, Paris

Large busy boulevard. Too many tourists. Angry French drivers. Luxury stores aplenty. Make sure you pack a bunch of “patience” before going there.

5. Vatican City, Rome

Too much luxury in such a tiny place. Definitely worth a visit though, as long as you don’t think about world hunger.

6. The Spire, Dublin

That’s basically just a tall, metal thing in the middle of O’Connell street.  You can’t really walk past it, unfortunately.

7. La Barceloneta, Barcelona

The beach is dirty and overcrowded. Too many Asian masseuses asking around (repeatedly) for clients. The sea is filthy and cold. Just don’t rely on this spot  to  have a true “Spanish beach experience”.

8. Moulin Rouge, Paris

The Boulevard de Clichy burlesque club has nothing to brag about. It looks like something you would normally see in Vegas. Plus, tickets are very, very expensive.

9. Heineken Brewery, Amsterdam

Video simulation. €15. Enough said.

10.  The Louvre, Paris

Perfect if you want to wait hours outside, argue with non-queuing people, walk around in an overcrowded corridor and fight your way to catch a sight of the Joconde, hidden behind a glass wall and two guards.