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Category: London 2018

Amy and Drew were in London in the last weeks of my Europe trip, so I decided to join them there for a weekend.

Ye old church

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NomNomNom! Avocado Breakfast!

Today would be our last day in London, with a flight booked for the afternoon. We had a nice and slow start to the day and decided to spend the Morning at St. Pauls Cathedral, grabbing some breakfast at a nearby cafe…. which turned out to be a church community cafe who offered breakfast during weekdays called the wren coffee.

It really set the mood for a day of religious sightseeing, and the breakfast was awesome.

Well fed and coffee’d up, we headed over to St. Pauls Cathedral. Initially I assumed we’d spend a few minutes there and head off, but then we got an audio guide…  And it was all detailed looking, pointing and listening from there.  At one point there was even a high school choir performance in the crypt which we interrupted our tour for.  It was totally worth it, and the crypt was a surprisingly nice venue for a children’s choir!

After touring the remainder of the crypt and seeing the likes of Lord Nelson and Wellington, we decided to head upstairs….  All 365 feet and 528 stairs! But we were rewarded with excellent views, first of the inside of the dome called the “whispering gallery” where photos were forbidden. Basically, it means that you can whisper along the wall of the gallery… or you could if it wasn’t crowded with hundreds of tourists.

When we got to the first outside level we could take photos again, and so we did. But that wasn’t all. We kept going to the top for some more photos!

Eventually we headed back outside and everyone was pretty exhausted. Poor Amy did the whole climb while being sick too!

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We chilled out the front of the cathedral for a while, and I found this awesome little unicorn prancing around a pillar. I’ve no idea which royal had this emblem, but I’m pretty sure they were an avid role-player 😉

After the tour we walked around a little bit more before we had to head to the airport for our flight back.  Luckily this time it was a really simple and smooth flight, so we arrived back at Manjas place by about 8pm, just in time for me to pack for my flight back to Australia tomorrow.

Exploring London and Eating up the Skyline

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Breakfast Squirrel!

The next morning we all awoke, which didn’t feel like a given in our Haunted House. The shower was very pretty and had an old-school design where you could switch the water flow from the tap to the shower head.  We tried about 5 types of voodoo and eventually all managed to get the shower to work.  Amy had also been coming down with a cold (we hope it was a cold, and not an attack by an evil spirit), but she was soldering on and we collectively dragged ourselves to a cafe near the train station to get some breakfast.  Turns out that breakfast this morning came with a cute little squirrel putting on a show!

We decided to spend the morning apart, given that Amy and Drew had seen many of the sights before, and that I really wanted to tour the tower of London.  So while they checked out a few museums, we headed to the tower of London.  I nearly died of a heart attack at the entry fee (£26.80!), but it was totally worth it.  Through simple stupid luck we arrived just in time to take a Beefeater tour, which was REALLY well done.

After our tour we did tour the Crown Jewels, but you’re not allowed to take any photos in the exhibit at all….  So all we have there is memories of regalia from Monarchs long past and present.  Pretty pretty jewely stuff.  Most interesting to me was that you’re literally on a conveyer belt as you get transported past the actual Crown Jewels.

Seeing so many crowns and sceptres did make us hungry so we grabbed some lunch before continuing our tour, finding some art around the place, which included Monkeys and elephants made out of chicken wire and statues which just invited me to play with them….

As we were strolling around we even got to see a changing of the guards. These dudes take their walking seriously! Below is them going home, probably to grab a beer.

I really have to say that the entry price was totally worth it.  We ended up spending most the day there, returning to the Airbnb just in time to get ready for a fancy dinner we had booked at Fenchurch Skygarden Restaurant.  The food was amazing, and the view was pretty good too.  It was a strange design, the restaurant is pretty much a glass cube within the glass upper level of the building.  This meant that the view was great, but you actually got a more spectacular view from the viewing platform just below.  None the less, it was an incredible night!

While the service wasn’t exactly 5 star, Drew totally made that worth it by making our waitress to a friend and scoring a button of the parent organisation!

Feeling totally happy and full of delicious food, we wandered the town a bit, to see the London Eye and walk past some random Cathedral….  Where we wondered just why the dude was escaping out of the decorative corner piece.

A short train ride later, we were all exhausted enough to drop into bed and sleep, almost forgetting about our surroundings.

Here’s to friends in London!

Many, many months ago, back in the dark ages before I was going onto long service leave, Amy and Drew made plans to go to the motherland for a cousins wedding.  As Lady Luck would have it, this overlapped nicely with my return to OZ.  So we made plans, and schemed and decided that we’d meet for few days of letting loose in London-town.  Manja met them at Johan and Stefs wedding back in February (Can anyone say Coooldplay?!? Drew and Manja sure can!!) and couldn’t wait to catch up with them as well.

So we hopped on a plane mid week to arrive in London on a sunny autumn day.  Manja had been before, so she found us a bit of a walking route along the Themse.  After crossing the millennial bridge, we settled for some lunch under the London Bridge, because, why not?

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Entry to another world…  Well, to our Airbnb actually!

Feeling suitably strengthened, we hit the tube to meet up with Amy and Drew at our Airbnb. Amy had arranged an awesome looking Airbnb for us all…  Well, it looked awesome on the photos.  In reality it was a bit…  well, very…  Strange. Like Stranger Things strange, or like “I’ve lost my mind and decided to decorate my home like a serial killer” strange.  But seriously, out of ALL the accommodation I’ve EVER had, this was by FAR the most memorable…  And that includes some pretty interesting places in Nepal!

You still don’t believe me, right? Well thanks to Manjas skill with a camera, the following photos might give you a bit of a feel for the place!

Of course, I couldn’t help but mimic the monkey bookends with the decorative bowl…

After a short rest the four of us headed into town to see some sights and grab some food. At this point Amy was in charge of showing us her town, and we headed straight for Buckingham Palace.  I got to admit I was ready to not be impressed, but it’s a pretty spectacular sight. After I spent ages speculating about the whys and whatfores of the massive statues out the front (google calls it the Victoria Memorial), Amy took charge and took us down the Mall.  I should clarify, that’s the street, leading away from the Palace toward Trafalgar Square.  She didn’t take us shopping.

Regardless, along the way we walked under a few arches lining the road around Victorias Memorial, and found some Aussie ones! Go us, being all commonwealthy and stuff! We even sent some stone sheep!

We walked The Mall for a bit before turning off toward a dude standing on a big Column, overseeing us peasants.  Turns out that this was the Duke of York Column, which is quite impressive for its age.  We continued down to Leicester square where we had a nice bit of food and did do some shopping…  Well, visiting of shops, namely Lego and M&M….  But NOT before taking a happy snap of Simon being trampled by charging horses.  Luckily these were bronzed as part of being made into a statue!

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By this point of the night we were all exhausted enough to turn in and attempt to sleep in our freak show palace Airbnb.  After sleeping there the night, we can confirm that the place may or may not be haunted.

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