London Sightseeing

Trip Start Apr 20, 2007
Trip End Sep 14, 2007

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

After a very long awaited journey and 20hrs or so of flying I have finally made it to beautiful London. Many might think I'm very odd for describing it that way, but I have arrived here in absolutely fantastic sunny weather. The flight from Brisbane via Bangkok (4hr stopover) was pretty good. Next to no turbulance, semi-decent food for airline meals and a window seat on the second part of the journey which allowed me to get some much needed sleep. We landed in London around 7:20am Saturday 21st April 2007 and was delighted to be met by my lovely cousin Shelley. We made our way back to her cute little apartment in South East London to dump my bags and we headed straight out to explore a few things. And to keep me awake as I was told I wasn't allowed to sleep. Being tired hasn't been the major issue so far, its the full blown cold I developed mid flight. It hurts to move my neck and I'm developing a nasty cough now too; but I'm dosed up and luckily the drive to see as much of London as possible outways the feeling like crap factor.

Anyway, first stop was a greasy fry up breakfast in Greenwich before walking up the hill to check out the prime meridian of the world and the Royal Observatory. The park we walked through was gorgeous and there was plenty of squirrels. I got plenty of pics for you Kiara! The Observatory also looks over the old Naval Hospital and more park area which in this lovely weather is filled with adults and children relaxing and playing games. From Greenwich we headed towards Westminster to briefly check out the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben (well the clock tower anyway, since Big Ben is really the bell inside....and yes I did actually know that before I saw it) and Westminster Abbey. There is a statue in the lawn across from the Abbey and Parliament of Winston Churchill which is meant to be looking over London. This statue is believed to be electrified in his head to prevent the pigeons pooping all over it. I'd be happy for people to let me know if it really is true or not. A briske walk along Whitehall past Downing Street & around Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square followed. And I was pretty much done for the day.

The next morning I had to meet up with Andrew & Liz at Tower Bridge to watch the London Marathon. Yes I made my way all by myself on the trains and around the streets without getting lost. And since I got off the train at London Bridge, another sight seen not that it's anything stunning. Tower Bridge is fairly impressive, as was the weather. Another lovely warm sunny day in London. We waited and watched the passing athletes in the marathon before taking a boat up the river Thames. It was a great way to see all the sights along the river and the free commentary from the staff onboard was great. We got off at Westminster and started heading toward Green Park to relax and enjoy some lunch. We did have to go on a bit of a round a bout way because of all the road closures for the marathon but we did make it in the end. Green Park is gorgeous and again full of people taking advantage of the sunny day. After lunch we decided to head up to Camden to check out the markets. There is a pile of stuff amongst these markets; a lot is repeated every few stands but what markets aren't that way. There certainly is plenty of people try the whole alternate and punk style up that way, but I always get a chuckle out of these groups because there are so many people trying to be different that they are all still the same anyway. Quite amusing. We walked back from the markets through Regent's Park which was also lovely with plenty of flowers and water features throughout. After bidding fairwell to Andrew & Liz at the end of the park I started to wonder through the streets to see what I could find. I decided to make my way towards Covent Garden.

Then on Monday it was time to check out the Tower of London and those cooky Beefeaters that give you a free tour throught the place (after you've paid to get in of course). They have some interesting information to hand out to everyone....and who would have thought 4 out of 5 women beheaded within the tower ground was a red head. Of course the beefeater couldn't help himself and let that fact out when he spotted me. It was interesting though, I started to think......"does that mean that there really is a reason to beware of red heads in particular?"......."are we really so firey that we had to be beheaded?". Oh how I love being strange and just a little scary to people sometimes.....haha. After checking everything out, including the jewel house; I made my way up towards St Paul's Cathedral. It's a beautiful building from the exterior but I couldn't bare to see it amongst the crowd so haven't checked it out from the inside yet. From St Paul's I crossed the road to check out Pasta Express and the absolutely fantastic garlic dough balls recommended to me. They are absolute heaven in a dough ball. I am in love! I just want to keep going back for more.....and since I'm sick as a dog I've decided garlic could only help so I should be allowed. I'm also going to work on making them for myself when I get home. After pulling myself back together after the dough balls I decided to do the walk over the Millenium Foot Bridge. However a strange jumper/kamikaze dampened my plan. He was sprawled out on one of the support beams off the side of the bridge so the police had to close it while they tried to talk him down. When I eventually made my way accross the river I checked out the Tate Modern Museum before walking back up towards the Borough Markets. Only the fruit and vegie stall is still open at that time of the afternoon but I was glad to come across it for further reference. And then it was time for Trafalgar Square and the coconut orchestra. Yes that's right....a group of us joined the 4382+ crowd in breaking a world record for the biggest coconut orchestra. The Monty Python Spamalot theatre group organised the event in memory of St George's Day. We watched Monty Python movies and had the mayor of London present and some original actors from the films joining in. There were plenty of people dressed up and screaming well known phrases. It was a great night, full of completely random fun.

Tuesday I decided to take it easy in a pathetic attempt to try and get over the flu. But I did venture out to pick up tickets for the Anzac Day services on Wednesday. On the way we walked along Fleet Street; which brought back some memories. Oh how I sadly remember every word of the songs from Sweeney Todd the Opera (the demon barber of fleet st). I will have to google the address of the original buildings where all that was meant to have happened.

Anzac Day - you just arent a fully flegged Australian fresh out of the country if you don't do something for Anzac Day. And luckily Tennille got me tickets to the cenopath wreath laying service along Whitehall just near No. 10 Downing Street and the service in Westminster Abbey. It doubled as a good way to get inside the Abbey to check it out. No Queen present sadly, but she had the Duke of Kent lay the wreath. After the service Shelley and I went for a wonder and grabbed some lunch before walking up to check out Buckingham Palace. As most people say its a lot less impressive up close, but most of that is because from the front view it doesn't seem too big. I caught up with Luanne and some of her work mates later in the afternoon. So I got a close look at the hideous Gerkhin building when I went to meet up with them. I was also introduced to the Snake Bite (lager, cider & red cordial). Being a non-beer drinker I have to say it wasn't as bad as first thought. We were in a South African bar watching the Aus vs. S.A. cricket match. Being a non-cricket watcher also I found it more interesting to people watch.
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