A Travellerspoint blog

United Kingdom

Portabello Rd markets, St Pauls and general ramblings

As the more astute of you would have realised, this blog is slightly out of date and we are actually typing this while sitting in Germany (can't be bothered spelling where we are...can't remember actually manneheim or something. Daniel had a sausage today, he is happy as a pig in mud).

In an effort to get things up to date we have split ranks. Daniel is tapping away at his account of our adventures on the continent (ooooooooohh) whereas I am stil back in old London Town.

Our last entry was tapped out at furious speed so we could get back to the hotel and eat, so I think I might flesh it out a bit.

I also forgot to put some stuff in about the day we visited Windsor. That was the first night we went to a show so we went straight from Windsor to Picadilly Circus where the dinner and show was.

The actual Circus is a bit fithly and ordinary (aside from the Bridget Jones, huge New York looking display...thingy). Daniel managed to lose one of the few warm clothing items he bought so we went shopping in 'Lillywhites', which is right next to the statue in the circus.

The man on the big bus tour gave it a huge rap and suggested it was some hallowed hall of British sportswear....it was not! Rebel Sports without the airconditioning or spacious interior. Be that as it may, the sales were terrific and Daniel is now proudly proclaiming himself to be the new Ali G, he apparently now owns more Lonsdale. Aiiii.

Anyway, walking around Piccadilly once we got off the main street was fantastic. So many people, pubs, cafes (none of which we went into of course!). The Theatre was very very similar to the Civic, it had been renovated relatively recently.

(Just need to note that for some reason the Germans have swapped the placing of 'z' and 'y' on the keyboard. Freaks. Now that Daniel isn't watching I'm not going to fix any mistakes that I make).

The influence of pantomines was hilarious, they had changed the Mary Poppins story around a bit (I think) and the audience kept booing the 'baddie', even during the curtain call. It was brilliant. We should do it in Australia.

The weather was lovely when we came out, it makes you realise how much you miss summer and light long into the evening!

Fiona, I was meaning to say that we almost did a Da Vinci Code walk that was free with our Big Bus tour in honour of you, but we ran out of time. Sad!

This last day was pretty frantic, we'd hardly seen anything of the British Museum because we were so tired on the first day so we needed to go back there, and we also wanted to finish the Tower (we hadn't seen it all), plus see St Pauls, the Portobello Markets and do the London Walks Jack the Ripper walk.

Portobello Markets are obviouslv not booming on Wednesday, enough said. We were just too tired to go when I had planned (on Saturday).

I wasn't expecting to care much for St Pauls but it was pretty overwhelming. Very different from Westminster Abbey, which is absolutely crammed with monuments and memorials. It's fairly bare on the ground. The mosaics on the ceiling were amazing. Everything 'deathy' is down in the crypt, which is, lets face it, cooooool.

We didn't know that Nelson was buried in a sarcophogus that Wolsey had made for himself until Henry VIII took it off him. It had apparently been sitting around (at Windsor???) and they thought it was a good use for it.

When I expressed my 'wonderment' Daniel told me to 'wait until I see St Peters' which was a fairly bold statement since he confirmed a second later that he's never been there.

I never realised that it had been bombed during WWII (let alne had two bombs inside) for some reason I thought it had escaped completely.

Given our experience with Westminster Abbey we took a personal tour. Again, the guide was very careful to remember who were all were and where we came from and told us everything in the Cathedral that related to our respective countries. It was pretty impressive.

Daniel and I were shamed publically when we had no idea who one of the memorials was for. Some Australian Prime Minster. Still can't remember who it was, let's face it he didn't go for a swim and not come back again, and couldn't drink an amazing amount of beer, so who cares.

We did remember Florey and could pre-empt her comment that he discovered penicillen, so I think we recovered.

Plus we did not look as simple as the Canadians. I can see where the Americans are coming from, I kept waiting for their heads to go back on their hinges (a ha ha ha ha ha). This Dad from a group had one question and one question only (or some variations on the theme):

'Why can't we go in there'

'Why is that door locked'

'Why can't everyone come in here'



Anyway, we ran out of time to climb up the stairs so we wandered off.

We had lunch in Ye Old Cheshire Cheese where Dickens and Samuel Johnson etc etc etc used to mingle. We ate in the cheapest part of course, the cellar. I smacked my head on a massive chunk of oak on the way out so that was good.

Back at the Bristish Museum we realised that it was just a lost cause. It. Is. Huge! We wandered around for a bit looking at Egyptian stuff (esp mummies). We can understand why the Egyptians are offended at them being displayed that way (but were secretly disappointed that there were no gory unwrapped ones to see).

Apparently Seti I's mummy is in the basement of some random building in London, yet more 'recovered' items.

We tried to get back into the Tower but the London Pass terms had changed since we bought them and we couldn't get into a site more than once. Bugger!

So we wandered off and did a quick Thames cruise before we got on the Jack the Ripper walk. We realised that we had not set one foot on the south bank, there is so much to see (excellent excuse to come back).

The Jack the Ripper walk was huge!! There were about 50-60 people out to do it, we thought that was pretty impressive (thankfully they had two guides). The walk itself was good, most of the sites have gone, we all pretended to gaze at a multi-level car park sagely and ponder the transcience of life. But it was very interesting and we were taken into some back streets to get a better perspective of how the streets would have looked at that time.

It was surprising how like the circular quay/rocks part of Sydney this area looked (i.e just across from the Tower of London and a few streets back).

I was really sad to leave London, it felt as though we'd be there for days so it was a bit mind boggling to realise that we still had 31 days to go!!

I was also amazed at how much Daniel enjoyed himself, I thought he would hate everything that we were doing. Good stuff.

Just because Daniel will not mention it, and for people who will know who I am talking about, there is an Aunty Barbara and Uncle Trevor on the tour, it's quite funny. For those of you who came to our engagement party, we had it at my Aunty Barbara and Uncle Trevor's house (if that gives you any term of reference).

I'm tired, we have to go and ring my and Daniel's parents (especially Daniel's). It's 11.00!!! We have a 6.00 start!!!!!

Posted by janeanddan 13:07 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)



Another early morning after a late night!

We had to wait around for a while to get an off peak ticket for our trip to Windsor. We haven't actually found London expensive other than the travel, which doesn't seem particularly cheap. On off peak we paid 20 pounds to get to Windsor.

Thankfully today was lovely. We were lulled into a false sense of security on the train, there were hardly any people on it. That was soon dispelled when we got up to the entry. Thank you London Pass for speeding our entry. With the security scare we couldn't take any liquids in (they have been really random with this, no such rule at Hampton Court).

The view was fantastic both of the castle and from the castle. The state rooms were pretty impressive, it was amazing to see so many paintings that I've seen in various books up on the wall in front of me (obviously this is not Daniel speaking!).

We both thought, not that that castle would be bigger, but that you would get more access to it.

St George's chapel was fantastic, although for some reason I thought that Henry VIII's tomb would be more impressive, didn't remember that he was just under the floor. I suppose when you split in two a while before you're buried that#s probably the best place for you!

Daniel was very amused when I got a Guard to laugh at me for not taking the lens cap off our camera. My enthusiasm for the task wasn't that great, Daniel was so very excited to have his photo taken with him that it was embarrassing!

Daniel was also very impressed to see an anglo and black (can I say that?????) guard walking together. The black guards furry hat (whatever it's called) was far bigger....guard afro. He has a picture that he can show you all.

This afternoon we wandered around covent garden, if we were here for longer we would both have loved to have time wandering around. The pubs with the flowers all over them are gorgeous. WE saw the church where the first meeting of Eliza Dolittle and Henry Higgins was filmed, I was impressed!!!!

Tonight we saw The Woman in Black, which was billed as the 'scariest' play in history. Not wrong!! Daniel almost had to leave, both of us where almost in agreement when the first appearance of this Woman was from our aisle (we were sitting directly in the aisle). It was well worth it.

So another late night, we are becoming experts at the Tube, the transport here is much better than at home.

Posted by janeanddan 10:58 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Some Corrections....and Westminster Abbey


We've read your comment Helen, thank you for you faith in me (ie Jane). You were correct, there was a certain element of absolute rubbish(!!!!) in Daniel's entries, which were all done when I was asleep.

Oscar, you will be happy to know that Daniel didn't let you down on the trip here, BA made a big deal about their light meal options in their in flight magazine so I was a bit concerned when they started serving Daniel curry out of Bangkok.

I would just like to point out that Danie's malaria comment is the biggest fabrication. What happened was that I was in the toilet at Bangkok airport and thought I had started hallucinating when I heard a disembodied voice saying over and over 'Jane, the water, the water.' It didn't occur to me not to clean my teeth, and funnily enough given that we were going back onto a plane for 12 hours I was a bit concerned about the consequences, but no reference was made to any specific illness. Again, the service of curry when we got back on the plane did not alleviate my concerns!

Anyway, back to the chronology. On Monday we went to Westminster Abbey and did a tour of it with one of their Vergers. It was worth every penny (a whole 4 pounds).

The guide book for the tour indicated that we couldn't get access to the shrine of Edward the Confessor so we were surprised when the verger took us there, huge bonus, and that in itself was worth the extra money for the tour. We saw Edward the Confessor, Edward I, Henry V, Richard II and Anne of Bohemia, Henry III and Phillipa of Hanault. Even Daniel was impressed (and at last he had an excuse to wander around murmuring 'ancient, ancient').

There was a huge amount of people wandering around but again being on
the tour was a bonus, we got fast tracked. Daniel's highlight of the Abbey was seeing Charles Dickens' grave, mine was....far too much to list.

Before we forget, another quick note.....WHERE IS THE HEATWAVE WE WERE PROMISED!!!!!!!

It has been drizzly with some brief respites since we got here.

This afternoon (despite the weather which we assume is here to stay) we jumped on the Big Bus to have a trip around. Even with the drizzle it was great, we hadn't gotten a perspective of where everything was beforehand.

Tonight we saw Mary Poppins, it was great. We had a meal package with it at an Indian restaurant in Paddington called Imli, it was the best Indian we've both had.

Drinks weren't included and I think we had dehydrated ourselves so we sped through three bottles of water. It only cost us 10 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!! My fault, the bill was only 6 pounds something including the tip but the cheeky cow that served us thanked me and wandered off with the 10 pound note.


Posted by janeanddan 01:05 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Hampton Court, Tower of London

Lots of really old stuff that Jane likes. Daniel finds a really big bottle of coke at Tescos...


Up early this morning to fill ourselves on the excellent Hilton breakfast. Even includes Haggis which we have not been brave enough to go near. Maybe tomorrow.

Jane has mastered thw whole tube thing and we are out to Hampton Court in about an hour. It is full of really old things. Things to do with the Tudors. Things that look pretty good but things that I know nothing about.

The gardens are beautiful, the ceilings amazing and the state appartments are incredible. It is also raining heavily so the numbers are down.

Next, into the Tower of London which really is cool. I mean how can it not be. People got their heads chopped off and I think William Wallace got drawn and quartered without being anti-semetic at all.

The crown jewels are very impressive but one wonders if the money could be better spent on improving british tv.

It really begins to bucket down so we have to miss the Jack the Ripper tour of White Chappel which Jane was bummed about. Her knee has gone out and it is quite amusing that I am the fitter one at the moment.

Posted by janeanddan 12:42 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Arrival in London.....

Hercule Poirot was nicer in the TV series....


We arrive in London. The bags aren't lost. I am tired and the lack of the fabled showers of Bangkok has led to me being an orfactory insult.

We make our way to customs. Of course, we Australians, despite sticking with HRM ERII, are placed in the All Others queue while all the EU buggers fly through. Even the french, and heck, didn't we save those guys in WWII. It is OK, I forgive them, Allo Allo was just so funny.

We are met by a man at the customs desk who looks disturbingly like David Suchet from the excellent BBC Hercule Poirot series. He is not as engaging as the David Suchet version. We indicate that we are travelling all over Europe. He asks us where and even when Jane rattles off about 13 countries he simply says - 'That is not all of Europe.' Well, frankly, he can stick it as he looks a Belgian detective and he is a pom.

We escape via the tube and find the Hotel. We dump the bags and I manage to avoid the Portobello markets and persuade Jane to go with me to the British Museum. This is the best place in the World and it is full of things that you would not get to see accept the British recovered them from countries who our tour guide Jenny tells us 'Didn't really want them in the first place'. I particularly liked the word 'recovered' Call a spade a spade - they were nicked but thank goodness.

You can't touch the rosetta stone anymore as they have stuck it behind glass. Rameses II is amazing and the guide actually helped me find the Portland Vase which I had never managed to locate previously. The Elgian (sic?) marbles are still fantastic and thank goodness they were recovered too.

By the time we leave the British Museum, we are fading. However, Jane manages to get us to Trafalgar Square and into the National Portrait Gallery. Here Jane sees a lot of people she knows and I get to sit down a lot and look at paintings pretending to be enthused but really staving off tiredness.

We discover that Coca Cola is 80p but it is comes in 190 ml cans. Has the world gone topsy turvy. We make it back to the Hotel. We recover out bags from the Concierge and Jane is convinced that they have cracked her bag code as it no longer will open. Daniel spends the next hour entering every code into the bag until he discovers Jane had the bag the other way when she put the code in and 526 was 625. We laugh, we chuckle.... not.

We crash out. It is 3.00 pm and we manage to sleep unil 6.00 am the next day.

Posted by janeanddan 12:31 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

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