A Travellerspoint blog

Eng-a-land, Eng-a-land, Eng-a-laaaannnd!

Tripping around Londontown

semi-overcast 15 °C
View Euro 2010 on fordtrip's travel map.

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!

Posted by fordtrip 01:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged tourist_sites Comments (4)

The creepiest thing I've done in a while

View Euro 2010 on fordtrip's travel map.

On the flight over to London yesterday I had a 10 hour stop off in Singapore airport. That place is fricken huge! For the first hour after arriving I wandered around, stretching the legs and trying to find the Transit Hotel I'd booked from 11pm, when I came across a spa offering 'Doctor Fish Therapy' (and pedicures, something desperately needed after having my feet rammed into shoes and stockings for the last few months of a Sydney winter). I had read a bit about this treatment before and thought I'd better experience it for myself. After all, this trip is all about the experience and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way...

So the idea behind this is that you sit next to a pool of water with hundreds of little fishes in it, and they nibble away (feast!) on your dead skin to 'leave your legs glowing & smooth' and 'provide micro massages for improved blood circulation'. As I lowered my feet towards the water the fish swarmed towards them, even before I had lowered them into the water, obviously anticipating their next meal! I could feel hundreds of tiny mouths nipping away, tickling my feet and making me want to rip them out. Every now and then one would bite on a more sensitive spot and I'd wonder whether it had drawn blood. Urrrggggh.... a very interesting experience!

To be fair my feet have never been so soft but in future I might be tempted to stick to more traditional Western methods of sorting them out...

Posted by fordtrip 00:35 Archived in Singapore Tagged air_travel Comments (5)

Travel Blog, Blog

sunny 15 °C

First post of the new 'blog'....

A foreign concept to me (being a borderline gen-Yer) - but figured this might be a very handy way of staying in touch whilst tripping around Europe over the next 3 months - and a good way of keeping track of all the goings on, as after a few nights out en route I can imagine the memory of what the hell I've been up to may become a little hazy (...here's hoping!)

Only 10 Sleeps....and counting! And a mere 4 sleeps until the Gold Coast Half Marathon....!! Bring it on I say

Posted by fordtrip 20:17 Archived in Australia Tagged preparation Comments (1)

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