Thursday, July 10, 2008

Days 7 & 8, London

A bit of a late start on this day after our early and long day in Paris yesterday.

Our friend in the west of Victoria used to work in an off licence in George Street, just off Edgware Road, so we wandered down to the address he had given us but the shop was no longer there. The building had either been remodelled or pulled down and a new one put up. It is hard to tell in London as even new building look old. They blend their architecture so much better than we do. No nonsense like putting a glass tower up beside a 19th century building. We took some photos for our friend, including an old sculpture in a nearby park that I am sure he will remember.

Back to Edgware Road where I found an internet shop. A pound and I only want five minutes. It was for an hour and you could come back the next day until your time was used up. I was pleased to see comments from my blog mates. I did really miss you. We did not know, but the Mountain Women from the Dandenongs were also in Europe and one of them sent pictures, 14 mb of them to our email when its capacity is only 20mb, so a few emails must have soft bounced as there was other stuff too. I sorted that out by forwarding the pictures to my yahoo email. 20mb in this day and age. I just love to hate Telstra.

We et a nice breakfast with great coffee at a Turkish cafe in Edgware Road. The street is full of Turks and Arabs and their businesses.

We then made our way to the Big Bus stop and bought tickets and we toured for a bit with an a recorded commentary through a plug in head set, then changed to another bus at Marble Arch. Past some more sights and we alighted at Trafalgar Square. We soaked up the atmosphere for a bit, there was a cultural show on there as well and then headed on foot down Whitehall until was decided we were hungry and went into the Old Shades Pub for lunch and an ale. It was ok, but only because we had a window seat. The pub was very dingy and unattractive to me. We noted that we could not see traffic outside anymore. We finished our lunch and went outside and the Whitehall had been blocked off. We could hear some drums in the distance and then along the marches came.

It was a Seventh Day Adventists youth group marching in protest about knives and violence. Yep, they were all black. The drumming was very loud and entertaining.

We continued on our way and just as we were passing, there was the changing of the guard at the stables. We watched for a bit. Funny to see jet black guards astride the horses. I took R's photo with one of the cute and fresh faced white guards.

We reached Westminster and with our Big Bus ticket came a ticket for a cruise down the Thames. We passed under London Bridge and it stayed upright. We past the old Bankside Power Station, a stunning building and now the Tate Modern Museum. Our commentator on the boat expressed his down to earth views about some of the art there, and I think I heard silent applause from many passengers.

We alighted at the Tower of London and spent a couple of hours there, including the Queen's Jewels.

We made our way uphill to the Big Bus stop and continued on past Westminster, Buck Palace, posh suburbs like Mayfair and Belgravia and then got caught in hideous traffic in Knightsbridge near Harrods. We had had enough but had to continue. Then the was a change of bus crew, then some upset and a fifteen minute delay at least. We eventually got back to the hotel. We should have taken the alternative shorter route. We were both very tired and cranky and had our only disagreement for the whole trip. There was no dinner that night.

Things were ok in the morning after a good nights sleep.

We walked up to Oxford Street via the internet shop, but it being Sunday, was closed. We had a nice and very healthy breakfast, true, in KFC. I forget what it was now. Back on the Big Bus at Marble Arch and to Trafalgar Square again, but this time the National Art Gallery. We hired headphones and looked at some art. Some of it was to die for but I didn't think much of VG's Sunflowers. We could only stomach so much art so we headed out and made our way to Charring Cross Station. We bought daily tickets, about $12 each, and changed at Westminster to get to South Kensington. We intended going to the Victoria and Albert Museum but then decided to do the Science and Natural History Museums instead.

I do appreciate our own museums and their displays, but believe me, they have nothing on S and NH Museums. The displays were mind blowing and way too much to see in a whole day even.

Back on the train to Paddington and a beer our local. Next day we were leaving London from King's Cross Station, so we thought as we had day tickets already, we would do a trial run from Paddington to King's Cross. Worked perfectly. I will write about The Tube separately.

Dinner in our local pub; I had a delicious platter of meats, dips, olives etc. The bar lass knew us by now and was very friendly, even when I mistakenly gave her euros instead of pounds. Pack our cases and ready to leave in the morning.

Two versions of your London phone box. The second one is just for Jahteh, but sorry Jahteh, I will have him first. You don't mind going slops?
The streets are too narrow for a normal bus, and yet double deckers and articulated buses make their way around.
Trafalgar Square taken from near the National Art Gallery.
Looking out of the pub in Whitehall.
The Seventh Day Adventists youths blocking Whitehall while protesting against knives, guns and violence.
Looking down the Thames over Westminster Millennium Pier with part of The Eye and a railway bridge.
Without checking, it would be the Tower Bridge.
At the Tower of London.
Crows at the Tower of London. If one flies away, the monarch is about to die. I heard that their wings are clipped so that they stay.


  1. I'm enjoying this travelogue, tis very entertaining :)

  2. "I didn't think much of VG's Sunflowers."

    Van Gogh walks into a pub and the bar tenders asks: "Do you want a pint?"
    "No thanks," replies Van Gogh. "I've got one ear."

    "Crows at the Tower of London."

    Ravens, Andrew...not crows.

  3. Bit of work Jayne, but it is for me too, so don't feel guilty.

    I knew they were ravens Brian, but I foolishly checked on the internet where it said crows. Big mean looking black buggers anyways.

  4. Andrew, I'm really enjoying your trip recap.

  5. One photo, I get one lousy photo.
    Didn't you even try to peel it off the window? Cover the fridge door completely that would or the bedroom ceiling.

    I'm first, I never touch leftovers.

  6. Good Daisy. Just about to back read your blog a bit.

    Your heart Jahteh. You're not exactly 20 any more. Just thinking of you.