Meeting UK: The Day I Met Paddington and Left For Notting Hill

Days since my last post: 13

I know, I know. I've been back from the UK for about 4 months now but I'm still throwing back like it never ends. I assure you, it will end pretty soon. But really, it ain't over till it's over! Until then, I'm still throwing back.

So I've skipped day 10, mostly because I didn't do much on that day except take a bunch of photos with the "Shaun in the City" exhibition down in Covent Garden. With over a 100 Shaun the Sheep sculptures being flocked into that one central location, you could say it was a fab-ewe-lous event indeed.

Some of the many baa-rilliant Shaun (s) on display. 

All funds collected went to the Wallace & Gromit's Children's Charity, so it wasn't just for fun, okay? They were ridiculously creative with the Shaun (s) on display, having them dressed up as Paddington, the Judge and even King guards, just to name some. I caught them all in my photo albums, but you probably wouldn't want to spend all day looking at it. 

PADDINGTON

It's no secret that Day 11 was completely random for me, because I simply needed to be in town to meet an old friend for lunch and then I was free all day long. So everything felt really random, and the first thing on my list turned up to be to visit the all time famous bear called Paddington. And where? At the Paddington Station, obviously. 

Hello!

Famed by the Michael Bond storybook, Paddington Bear was said to have arrived at the station in 1958. Adopted by the loving Brown family after, Paddington became quite a phenomenon with more than 20 books, several television series and a big film debut featuring the furry little fellow that everyone loved. 

From the second floor, where the official merchandise store is. 

When I first stepped into the Paddington Station, it all felt pretty normal and there were no traces of the silly bear around. It was only a little later when I realized that they had buntings for an official Paddington Bear merchandise shop on the second floor, so I quickly made my way there. And that's where I met the first Paddington Bear politely doffing his hat at me. 

Second Paddington Bear spotted! 

When I entered the merchandise shop, I literally wanted to throw all my money at the cashier counter and take every single Paddington Bear home. But the better part of me said no, and I sadly walked away from each and every of them. I did however get a button badge for £2 and the proceeds were to go to a charity organization. Not too bad for an exchange yeah? 

The original Paddington Bear.

Before I left the shop, I gingerly asked where I could spot the original Paddington Bear as stated on Google and the cashier was nice enough to explain how everyone could just waltz into Station 1 without a ticket. And there he was, quietly seated under the big clock on Station 1 where he was apparently found by the Browns in the book. 

No details were spared. 

They were also really intricate in creating the bronze Paddington Bear statue, a trademark for this very station where this little bear from inner Peru was discovered more than 50 years ago. 

Getting here: You can get to the Paddington Station via the London Underground tube whether you're on the Bakerloo, Circle, or District Line. Yep, the station is one of London's central stations so it's reachable via almost every line. Do spend some time exploring the station too, there's lots more to see than just this friendly bear.

NOTTING HILL 

Another spot famed for a movie, I decided to venture right into Notting Hill after my adventure at the Paddington Station, not because I had to but simply because I felt like it. I guess that's one of the perks of being a lone traveler; that you don't always need a plan.

Little houses along the way.

Really pretty little houses.

 And really colourful ones too.

Being quite an unplanned traveler, I decided to just walk along the roads until I found the actual Notting Hill bookshop as well as the famous blue door. I guess the beauty of such adventures is that you somehow come across really interesting things such as colourful houses and sights to behold. 

Like the Portobello Antique Store.

And the world famous Portobello Market.

I guess I arrived the area a little too late, as the vendors along the Portobello Marketplace were already packing up, but there were still shops for me to look at. The items were ridiculously intricate, but I found no need to splurge on it quite yet. My mission was simple, and I locked my eyes on those thoughts. 

Eureka! 

Unfortunately, the Notting Hill bookstore was no longer a bookstore when I got there. It turns out that business didn't quite boom for them and they had to cease their business in 2011, after 32 years in business. I suppose recession hits everyone hard, but at least they kept the "Notting Hill" signage up even after turning into a gift store. 

House number 280.

Snuggled among other homes, this little blue door also became a prominent scene in the 1999 hit show staring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. It appears that Hugh Grant "lived" here in the movie so I couldn't just walk away without a picture right? Right. 

Getting here: The Notting Hill Gate station is serviced by the London Underground tube via the Central, Circle or District line, so it's really easy to access if you're along those places. Buses are also available, as I hopped onto one to get back into town after.

SPECIAL MENTION

Remember how I said this day was meant to meet an old friend? I suppose then meeting back in Malaysia is a little too common. This is why I traveled miles and miles away to meet a primary school friend named John Tay.

Since 1999.

Thank you for lunch and hospitality for the day! This was also when I had authentic fish and chips from a bar, which I must say is actually pretty good. Did you know they also served peas with fish and chips in London? Well now you do.

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