London Calling

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
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Trip End Feb 02, 2011


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Well it has been a while since I last had something exciting to write home about but now I do. Since the last update we spent another week in Dösingen sitting around watching movies while Felix was recovering. I tried to keep myself occupied with daily runs, cooking and cleaning but in a small town in which you have no other friends around except the sickie in bed time passes very, very slowly indeed. We did spend some really nice days with our lovely friends Sarah and Jonas before they headed off to Australia. They took us to a farmers museum, a museum very similar to the one we went to in Austria. Many houses from hundreds of years ago were set up just like they would have been back in the day to show what life as a farmer would have been like between one and two hundred years ago. We also had a nice night out at their farewell party which ended with me driving in Europe for the first time. As the taxi driver and I were the only sober ones around and given that I wanted to get home for free as much as anyone else it was the obvious choice. Driving on the right hand side was totally natural after almost a year on that side, the only confusing bit was having the gear shift in my right hand. I kept going to change gears with the door handle. 

 But that very long week in Dösingen is all in the past now. We have had an action filled few days in London now and there is still more to come. Another friend from Dösingen, Jakob generously offered to drive us out to Memmingen Airport. The whole way he and Felix talked non-stop about navigation systems on aeroplanes, Jakob being a helicopter pilot has a head filled with endless interesting knowledge.  

 We only brought hand luggage this time so our exit from the airport was fast and in no time at all we were on the bus towards London city. We made it to my friend Lucy’s house (where we are staying) in record time even after negotiating our way round train lines on the tube that were closed for improvement works. As one would expect we spent that night chattering and laughing, catching up - and getting a much missed fix of fish and chips.

 So as we had arrived on Sunday night our first ‘day’ in London was a Monday, Lucy had taken a day off work and we decide to spend Monday at the Natural History Museum. So we trotted off to the station, bought oyster cards and rode the tube into the city. 

 The place is gigantic so naturally in one day we didn’t manage to see anywhere close to half. We did however see the very impressive dinosaur section, their also impressive collection of stuffed animals and their amazing whale bone collection. To stand beside the scale model of a blue whale was so great. To see a real one would being me to tears of happiness and awe but standing next to a model was as good as I’ll probably ever get for appreciating the sheer size of those tremendous animals. 

 It was falafels for dinner/very late lunch before we headed back home on the early to avoid getting aught in rush hour. 

 Tuesday Felix and I visited the Science Museum which is next door to the Natural History Museum and also a gigantic place, filled to the brim with goodies. The wonderful thing about the United kingdom is that almost all Museums and Galleries have no admission fee. So it’s completely free to go to all these great places. It’s almost too good to be true. A whole world of history and culture is wide open for anyone to see. I can’t believe the government is providing day after day of free, stimulating entertainment for us.  

 We spent pretty close to a complete day in the Science Museum. We had quickly popped into the V&A before the Science Museum to have a little look at some sculptures by one of Felix’s favourite artists and while we there also an exhibition of Japanese pieces which were gobsmacking. The fine, fine detail, delicacy and beauty of some of the stuff I couldn’t believe. 

 When close time came and we had to leave we went and had more falafels at the same place as Monday because we liked it so much before meeting Lucy at Waterloo Station for a night walk around the city. We wondered under the London Eye, along Southbank, across the river, to St Paul’s Cathedral and down Fleet Street. We stood where ‘demon barber of Fleet Street, Sweeny Todd and Miss Lovett had held shop selling pies made from the flesh of men the barber had killed. Before heading home we warmed up with a beer and more friendly chatter in a little ally pub - true London style. 

 Wednesday we went back in the direction of our walk the night before, walking over London Bridge and over to St Paul’s Cathedral which way to expensive to enter unless you go at worship times - then it’s free. For lunch we had a picnic in very picnic unfriendly conditions - sitting on cold stone with a icy wind blowing us gently into a deep freeze. But afterwards we visited the Museum of London which was very nice and warm. They had an exhibition I really liked about the possible future of London. This artist had taken famous postcard shots from around the city and had digitally altered them. They were so perfectly altered, it was impossible to tell it wasn’t real. One photo showed Trafalgar Square under a few meters of water and wind generators standing there among the lilies and other water plants. Another showed a shanty town covering every single piece of available space - right up to the gates of Buckingham Palace. Another showed the Ghurkin building also transformed into a shanty camp, broken windows  boarded up with cardboard and washing hanging out the everywhere. There was one looking down onto Tower Bridge, the Thames underneath frozen solid with people iceskating.

 After the museum closed we wandered around the city and up to the Tower of London and across Tower Bridge. 

 Thursday we visited the Camden Markets. It was well worth visiting but didn’t have as much wacky, interesting or secondhand stuff as I expected, it was mostly the same cheap stuff from China and Indonesia thats everywhere. The buildings the markets are in are really cool though, especially the horse stables. It it defiantly a very colourful, lively place, there are certainly some interesting characters about.

 Friday we wandered over to East London and met Olivia, a friend of Felix from school. We had a really nice evening and night with them at a Indian restaurant famous for it’s cheap prices, great food and appalling service. 
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