Monday, June 30, 2014

Eurocruise London D2 27/05

The front of our hotel. It was very good value and I recommend it. The buffet breakfast gets crowded so try to get seated by 8.30.


Damn foreign plumbing. It took some working out.


Exit from the lift, walk up stairs, along an uneven passage floor, turn right, then down some stairs to our room.


Lancaster Gate is a very nice street with quite grand apartment blocks.


Around the corner from us was Leinster Terrace, where the facade house stands. See the blocked front entrance and opaque windows.


And this is what is behind the fake frontage.


The bus seems to heading in the wrong direction for Lewisham, but nothing is ever square in London.


Back onto the Tube, at Lancaster Gate again. The trains in the Tube are not like ours. They are rough and noisy, they accelerate and brake very fast. They are hot inside, although we did travel on one train with air con, but the really good thing about them is that they get to places in a very quick time, fast and furious. We changed to the Bakerloo line at Oxford Circus and left at Charing Cross. Although we were going to Covent Garden and there is a Tube station there, it was part closed and Charing Cross seemed to be the closest alternative station. Hmm, I did not expect to see a big blue cock in Trafalgar Square.


Buses, buses everywhere, interspersed with taxis.


I did not even know Charing Cross had a station building, as such. Now to back track a bit, when we boarded our cruise boat, we noticed a fellow passenger had a cold. By mid trip, half the boat seemed to have a cold. By the end of the trip, we both had colds. We were still suffering a bit in London, although I was well over the worst of it, but R wasn't and so he went to Boots chemist on The Strand for some decongestant. Boots own brand did not seem to work very well, so once in Newcastle he bought something that did work well. (brag factor of going to Boots in The Strand, high)


It was really raining now, a crap day weather wise. We walked up The Strand to Covent Garden. This chap was singing opera at Covent Garden Market, and a person was mingling in the crowd for donations for an opera cause. I usually keep my hands firmly in my pocket, but I did donate a penny or two.


We are now at the Transport for London Museum. I won't say I was disappointed, but it was not quite what I expected. However, there was lots of interest to see there.






We did not lunch here, but at another place within Covent Garden Market. R was driving me crazy with his hunt for a gift for Little Jo. She had requested, "I would like something nice from London".


Back onto the tube, on which line I just cannot remember, to Waterloo Station. Why? For this.



None of this occurred to us when we worked out and started to book our holiday in March 2013, but yesterday when we were out with Marie, it was a Bank Holiday. For the rest of the week it was school holidays. Oh, the children. Oh, the rain. We exited the station and followed the arrow but really, we did not know which direction to walk. After wandering in the rain for a bit, we asked a guard and he directed us. So simple once you know. So simple really had we should have just kept walking in the direction of a sign, but really it was not very clear.



I really recommend anyone who visits London to take a trip on The Eye. At the desk we were told, £30 for fast track, five minute wait. £20 for normal queue, 15 minute wait. We chose the cheaper and the wait was less than fifteen minutes, in spite of a million children being in front of us.



This would be the tallest building in Europe? The Shard?


Westminster, of course.



Westminster Wharf, where Thames cruises operate from, with Downing Street to the right of the photo. Hiya Cammo.



Back to Oxford Circus on the Bakerloo Line, then back to our hotel, walking from Lancaster Gate Tube station. The station has a large lift for passengersc capable of holding maybe 50 people or more. You can use stairs, but as the sign said, emergency only, 273 steps. We ventured back out reasonably early for dinner. Our favourite London pub was calling us, The Sawyers Arms, just off Praed Street in London Street. R had a couple of Stellas and I had wine. After eating we sat outside, sheltered from the drizzle, and watched London life pass us by. One of fellow sitters obliged in keeping us warm by pressing the button for the outdoor heating, as required.


As in the past, we managed to have an extraordinary conversation with a Londoner. Last time it was a washed up drunken journalist. This time, a disabled man who had travelled and worked around the world, including Australia and lived in St Kilda.

I came very close to finishing my roast meal, half a chicken no less, all for £10.


Photo by



Later edit: Peter was quite correct in comments. The building I suggested as being The Shard is not at all but an apartment building with wind turbines atop. Thanks Marie.

22 comments:

  1. Andrew,, definitely Shrad will be the tallest building in Europe. Taking a London Eye is a fantastic idea and the views are terrific. I have been to London Eye three times and I was satisfied with journey. I have seen a blue big cock on Trafalgar Square too it was fantastic. Your hotel looks very nice but Transport Museum I am going to see much more vehicles. Mercedes Benz Museum in Germany was amazing comparing to this exhibition.And London streets are very busy and I can't say safe for pedestrians.

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    1. Gosia, The Eye did surprise me. I wondered why we did not do it last time, but we were also busy back then in 2008. The TfL Museum was well done, but I wanted more. It is a small space really. I have heard of the Mercedes Museum. It must be wonderful. London for us did not feel too busy, except perhaps Covent Gardens. My city, Melbourne, is a very busy place.

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  2. I suppose that Big Blue Cocks are everywhere - if one is looking. And that one makes me smile. Thank you.
    I loved your photos of London. Some day perhaps I will get there. And Charing Cross would be a must. 84 Charing Cross Road is one of my favourite books.

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    1. EC, not sure that they are everywhere, unless some Viking apply blue paint to areas other than their faces. Naughty. Thank you for your nice words. 84 Charing Cross Road was a wonderful book for me, and the movie was not so bad either. How wonderful it was to see all these places that I had read about, seen on tv, played on a Monopoly board or heard about otherwise over my lifetime.

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  3. My children were born in Praed St so it is an area I know very well. And yes, I know your favourite London pub, The Sawyer's Arms, as well :)

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    1. Hels, St Mary's was it? Where future King George was born? It is a good pub, but so many pubs are good in England.

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    2. I like to think of my first son as future King Peter, yes :) Oops, I forgot. I don't think Australia should be a monarchy, except for the long and strong historical ties to the motherland.

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    3. Hels, we agree. And if they are to stay a monarchy, they ought to be here more often to open some fetes.......well, as long as it doesn't cost us. No, maybe better they stay in England.

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  4. My memory (increasingly faulty nowadays) is that when I lived in London (forty years ago now) those retailers were named Boots the Chemist. Perhaps I am wrong or on this point the proprietors have done the unthinkable and modernised the name of the stores rather than stick to tradition.

    I notice the line judges at Wimbledon still wear ties so not all tradition has been thrown out the window.

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    1. Victor, I am fairly sure now people use Boots almost as a generic term. There is certainly no need and I did not hear the word chemist added at all.

      I am pleased Whimpleton (I head this on the radio) maintains traditions, such as a clamp down on female tennis players wearing coloured underwear. Bit sad though about ball boys and girls now being called ball kids, but strawberries and cream, along with Pimms, live on.

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  5. Fantastic photos. I don't think I've ever seen photos of the view from The Eye before. Amazing! I'd love to visit London again as there are so many new buildings since I was last there 20 years ago. I recently saw the facade house for the first time in a Sherlock episode - I had no idea it existed before then.
    London is lovely to walk around but difficult to navigate, for us Melburnians used to our grids.

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    1. London is quite magical Jackie, yet so easy for we Australians to function there. I did not know about the facade house being in a Sherlock episode. I must check that.

      Yes, little in London is square, as we are used to. Actually, little in Europe and England is square.

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  6. In that kind of weather there are blue cocks everywhere, mostly unseen.

    Are you sure you saw The Shard? From your point of view it looks smaller than it really is.
    http://www.lbc.co.uk/how-the-shard-compares-to-other-buildings-56805/album/how_does_the_shard_compare_to_other_buildings_/1769#26177

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    1. Peter, yes lots of blue cocks. It was not so warm either. But as I have said, if we wanted good weather, we would have gone to the north of Australia.

      I am fairly sure it is The Shard in the photo. I checked on maps etc.

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    2. Oh yes, and if I was wrong about The Shard, Marie would have corrected me, I think.

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    3. Well Peter, you were quite correct. It is not The Shard and Marie did correct me. My most humble apologies.

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  7. Have to say I'm quite impressed with London. I've always wanted to go there, but probably never will, so it's nice to see so much of it here. Thank you.

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    1. River, compared to our cities, London feels very small and all the tourist areas are very close to each other. The east end and Docklands were some distance away though. It felt much more English than when we were last there in 2008.

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  8. I used to go to Covent Garden every day to get myself a cornish pastie! I lived just up the road for 6 months. It was always busy and always plenty to see.

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    1. How beautifully that rolled off your tongue Fen.

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  9. I got so enthralled with the rest of your English escapades I almost forgot the big blue cock... made me smile also :) OMG I just could not go up on the London Eye, no way, but I'm so glad you did Andrew, the views were fabulous! Was wondering what R finally decided on for Little Jo?

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    1. Grace, I ended up deciding for him, with a London themed writing set, but then he managed to buy two more things for her and I have forgotten what they were, along with gifts for her from some English rels.

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