Tripping around Londontown
11.07.2010 - 13.07.2010 15 °C
Caro and I have landed safely in London...hoorah!
I had an amazing 5hr kip in Singapore airport (...following my 'fish therapy' and pedi), woke up refreshed and ready for the rendezvous with Caroline. She on the other hand had been on a mission and a half to get to me - with her flight to London consisting of Wellington to Auckland, Auckland to Singapore, Singapore to London - no mean feat but she held herself together pretty well, even managing to carry all of her bags until we met with Trace near her place.
We didn't have much time at home to freshen up before heading out to see the World Cup Final - Spain vs. The Netherlands - at Taryn's apartment. There wasn't much football watching going on though as it was just so good catching up with all the friends I hadn't seen in way too long - Taryn, Ren, Trace, Holly, Jade, and Willy. We couldn't get much out of Willy as being Dutch her eyes were glued to the screen - giving the occasional grunt or moving forward in her chair as something exciting was going on.
The first full day in London and we were right into the cheesy touristy stuff - bought ourselves tickets on The Original Bus Company 'hop on, hop off' open double decker bus tour of London. It was a beautiful day (the sun was out and everything! I'm loving London in the Summertime!) and we visited:
- Trafalgar Square....Norway supplies a Christmas Tree to Trafalgar Square every year - love the running commentary!
- Buckingham Palace...Queen Victoria was the first to move into the palace to escape her mother and her scheming advisor
- Hyde Park...originally Henry VIII's private hunting ground, and large enough that you can fit the entire state of Monaco in Hyde Park and still have room
- St Paul's cathedral...300yrs old and designed by Christopher Wren, and during WWII a bomb was dropped right through the middle of the dome and didn't explode - a very lucky church!
- London Bridge...one of the many 'London bridges' was sold to a US businessman for $2M and as the largest antique ever sold is now a tourist attraction in the Arizona desert
- Tower Bridge and the Tower of London...the walls of the tower and at the base of the Bank of England are 14 feet thick
In case you haven't picked up on it from my little morsels of information picked up on the tour, I'm loving the history of the place! hehe
For lunch we stopped off at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese - following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - allegedly a pub where they all enjoyed a tipple or two whilst musing over their next work. It was a great old pub with low ceilings, and a dark gloominess; very cool. The food was terrible - obviously one of those places that draws people because of its history so they figure reheated pie and quiche with soggy chips will fend off any hunger cravings experienced by its punters!
Second morning I was awake at 5am again, so decided to go for a run along the canal to Victoria Park. It wasn't as nice a day as the day before, but it was nice and cool, with a bit of a sprinkle in the air. Very refreshing! Victoria Park was beautiful with a pond and fountain in the centre that you can fish from, and the smell of Gardiniers (though I didn't see any!)
We managed to make it to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, after a tour of the Tower of London (saw the spanglers in the Crown jewels - and the biggest diamond in the World at 530-odd carats), then finished Caroline's birthday off with a trip to Oxford St Top Shop and Urban Outfitters (thanks Luci!).... raced home in peak hour traffic (insane getting caught at Oxford Circus at peak hour - three trains went by and we only managed to squeeze onto the last one - hot, sweaty people, with no air) and head out to Mem & Laz on Upper St in Angel - Trace's favourite restaurant in London. A mediterranean spot with great food - I had conspired with one of the waiter's to surprise Caroline with a birthday cake and candle, and a singalong. Once we'd wound up the Happy Birthday's though the cheeky bugger grabbed me and forced me to belly dance on a chair in the middle of the restaurant. It's all about the experience....!
Have been trying to upload some photos and videos to this but it's still not working...stay tuned!!
Having a quiet day today before heading to Amsterdam - and hopefully Brussels - tomorrow.... exciting times!