Friday 3rd June 2011
Both of us were up early and off to the train for a 3 hours train trip to the International Airport and what a trip it was. The train had 3 carriages on and where just about full by the time we boarded at Broadmeadow.
By the time we got to Central it was standing room only and that was from Wyong. The fact was the trip was not as peaceful as I would have like or anyone else on the train would have liked. There was a little girl with her mother and the little girl about 2 screamed all the way. Someone down the back of the train yelled out ‘shut the kid up’ I think that they were are the end of the tether too. James ended up with a headache and my head was just starting off as a little headache. The lady who owned the little girl pushed her way in front of everyone to get off as she was catching another train. We got off last with a couple of other people travelling to the airport. We got to track 23 without any trouble and who was there the lady with the little girl and she was still screaming. I felt sorry for both of the and the people for the return trip.
She was going to the airport to meet someone and she stood beside us, so James said he was moving down the platform further and guess what the lady and the little girl followed. But she turned and walked up further just as James was getting ready to move. One can only hope that the trip will get better and quieter.
While getting something to eat we saw Harry Kewell at McDonalds and he turned heads as they do, a someone wanted their photo taken with him and he obliged happily.
On board the plane I had a spare seat next to me and it was great for the 6 hours to Singapore which at that point we had a couple from Victor Harbour next to us. We had row 74 and there was still lots behind us. It was a huge plane and had the best smooth flight I have ever had. There was more leg and bum room than a 747.
They were older than us and very nice and she has visited England often and told gave us some more information on travelling around once we left London.
We both had some sleep on the plane both from Sydney to Singapore and from Singapore to London.
Getting thought customs was quick and then a really long walk to the train.
We were to change trains at Green Park which we tried to do but that train was not working. So with lots of other people we had to get another train and don’t ask me how we got to Victoria station I have no idea but we did.
Walked about 10 minutes to the hotel. Put the bags in as we were not allowed into the room until 12pm, which was better than the 2pm we thought that it would be.
We then we walked down by the Thames River. It was low tide and it looked very brown. We had a cup of coffee on the way which was very welcoming, it gave me a boost to keep walking which we did. We walked past the Lambeth Bridge and onto the Westminster Bridge. James took plenty of photos on the way, now all we have to do is remember what they are. There was lots of people around, doing the same as us, just walking, talking and taking photos.
We had a look in St, Margaret Church and Westminster Abbey from the outside as there were 2000 people lined up ready to get into the church.
It was extremely hot so we just kept walking.
We then came back to the hotel and checked in, had a little rest, and then started off again.
This time we ended up at Buckingham Palace with thousands of other people with the same idea. The Queen was not home. Then walked down the Mall past Clarence House not realising it was so big. Past St James Palace and Chapel Royal. Back out onto the Mall we walked where the Royal Guards in full regalia marched past us. They were going to practice for the Trouping of The Colour for the Queens Birthday Celebrations, which is on the 13th June. James’ birthday is on the same day and it is the first time that he has a parade in his honour.
After a little rest in Green Park, we walked back through The Canadian Gates. We finally got back to the Hotel after Dinner. Plopped onto the bed and went to sleep for 11 hours.
Sunday 5th June 2011
After a great nights sleep we finally woke up about 6am had breakfast and then we were off again. This time we went to the Royal Mews. The guide was very informative and gave a wonderful talk on all the carriages.
We saw the all the Queens Coaches.
After we saw the Mews we walked a couple of hundred steps to the The Queens Gallery and saw all the paintings that she owns plus all the memorabilia that she has collected over the last 60 years worth millions.
We had lunch a pasties - a proper Cornish Pastie which said it was a prize winning pasty. In my view I can and still can make better pasties than them.
As it was raining we then decided to visit The Churchill War Rooms which we did . It was a most interesting afternoon. This was a mighty feat for its time as the War Rooms where built under and existing building. they inserted a 6 foot thick concrete and steel ceiling pumping all the concrete in without anyone knowing what they were doing. This was to house Churchill’s War Cabinet, where they all lived for the duration of the war.
I do not know how they lived like that for the 6 years the war was on.
Monday 5th June, 2011.
Today we found our way to the Imperial War Museum. It looked small from the outside but inside it took us 4 hours to look at everything on the four floors.
They had tanks, planes, trucks, cars, submarines, bombs, rockets everything to do with the war.
There was also a part on the Children and Families of the War, which gave an insight to what they had to put up with.
We then caught the train from Lambeth station to London Bridge station where we alighted. We walked down the river walk looking at old buildings. The first church built in England in 606 was Southwark Church. We thought we would go to the Borough Markets but they were not on, so we kept on walking past Old churches in ruins, the Clink Goal, Sir Frances Drake’s boat the Golden Hind which is an exact replica. We then crossed over the Thames River on the Millennium Bridge on the way o St Pauls Cathedral.
Again we came home absolutely worn out. Would you believe in bed and asleep by 7pm.
Tuesday 7th June 2011
Today we caught the Big Bus which took around the city. We got off to look at the changing of the guard. We had a walking tour guide, which was free…..
We walked with about 25 other people to St. James Palace and saw the Queens Guards getting ready to march to Buckingham Palace for The Changing of the Guards.
James and I then caught the ferry to Greenwich Peir where we had a little look around. We decided to come back later and have more time to have a good look around. We caught the ferry back to London bridge and got back on the Red Bus for the rest of the Tour around London which was done in peak hour traffic.
Wednesday 8th June
I think that I will have to put my travels in point form from now on. I really do not have enough time to write everything up.
Walked to the observatory up a long hill.
We walked through the park passed a part where the equestrian is going to be held of the Olympics in 2012.
They are making the course on a platform of about ½ acre in size. Some parts of the platform is about 2 metres above the ground. The course will be pulled down when the Olympics are finished. The park will be upgrade to what is was before the platform was built.
There were very interesting things to see at the observatory, we stood at 0 mean time
Walked back down the hill to the Queens House which is now an Art Gallery.
We also had a look at the Maritime Museum.
We walked back to the Cutty Stark station and caught the train to Cannery Station where we alighted to have a look at the car show.
We joined in on a guided tour and we got some great information on how and who built the castle.
We also heard about all the people kept here for all sorts of different reasons.
The Queens also has a house here, but I don’t think that she stays here any time.
We walked around the outside and through the Turrets. Also into the Tower itself.
They still had the cobbled streets.
Some of London still has cobbled streets which makes it hard walking. I see people walking around in high heels and I don’t know how they do it. I have trouble walking in flats. I also cannot image how the horse and carriages got on in the 1800s
After we had lunch we walked over to the Tower Bridge which was just around the corner.
We walked across the south tower and back across the north tower and then down into the engine rooms.
The weather is showery and coolish nice for walking around and sightseeing.
Caught the Underground to Marble Arch to see where we had to go to pick up the car. We went to the wrong Marriott Hotel. Got directions from the concierge at the wrong Marble Arch Marriott, we missed the George street sign and walked far to far. Asked directions again and got the wrong ones again kept walking. Turn around and walked back towards Marble Arch and found George Street and the correct Marble Arch Hotel.
Got the bookings for the car changed to Victoria, just up the road from us, walking distance in fact which is great as we don’t have to lug luggage on the Underground in peak hour.
Had a look and walk around Marble Arch and caught the underground to the Science museum. There were lots of hands on things for the children there. It was interesting too but some things one does not really want to know.
Across the road was the V&A museum (Victoria & Albert), I would have liked to spend more time there.
There was a great place to eat at the V & A Museum so we had a cooked lunch with vegies. The surrounding were just lovely, took you back to the 1800’s.
We had a chat of about an hour with one of the security men. We talked about lots of different parts of history.
We were going to go to Kensington Castle but it was raining very hard so we decided to come back to the hotel for a rest as we were extremely tired.
At Victoria we had a look for the Avis Car Hire and found it after walking around for a bit.
Came back to the hotel had a coffee and rest.
After breakfast we raced down to the Mall for a good spot to watch the Queens Parade. We got what we thought was a great spot to watch, just outside St James’s Palace and Clarence House entrance. It was freezing standing in the shade of the trees. Before the parade started the police came and stood and said intervals along the Mall. Then after they got that right the Queens Soldiers marched up the Mall and peeled off at intervals and stood in the correct position and ;they also are checked and moved to the correct positions. The parade started with Queens Soldiers marching in full regalia they look fabulous. The Queens Marching bands sounded great. The Queen and the Prince came in an open coach, as she was not aloud to ride as she usually did. Then after them Prince William, Andrew, and Princess Ann came behind riding on horses in full regalia. Prince Charles and Camilla where in a coach with Kate and Prince Harry. We were on the wrong side of the road as the Royal Household was at the entrance of Clarence House and St James’s Palace and the Royal Party as they rode passed turned and waved to them. Not us.
Walked down to the London Eye, there were millions of people there all waiting to get onto the London Eye for their ride. We went back to the ticket office and updated our ticket. we only had to wait 10 minutes for our ride instead of hours. The sky was so clear we could see for miles and miles. Absolutely fabulous, wouldn’t miss it for the world.
It is raining and freezing cold. I think that this weather has caught all Londoners by surprise as they keep saying that it is June. It seems funny to see it when it rains all the umbrellas come out and everything just seem to go on as before.
We caught the underground to Harrods where we did some shopping. We followed some ladies from Wales and chattered while we found our way around. Inside Harrods is not to be missed the food hall is fabulous. There are all types of food and presented with flare and taste that I have never seen before. Going up the escalators is an experience in itself.
Went to Westminster Abby for Evening Song. It was unbelievable inside, we will have to go back again and have a better look. The service was good too and the choir was something else.
We came back to the hotel and James is watching the car racing.
Tomorrow is another day.
That was our first week in London. What a week it was. Just fabulous, wonderful and exhausting. Till next weeks update.