Eurorail from Paris to London 1 June
The train is such an easy way to travel from Paris to London.
On arrival, caught a cab to the hotel.
Base2stay hotel is in Kensington. Great location. 2 minute walk to Earl's court station and supermarkets and restaurants/take away everywhere. Greeted at reception by two young Aussies of course.
The hotel staff are so helpful and want to assist in anyway they can.
Not quite like the Paris staff, when I had asked for guidance in trying to book some sort of tour, all he stated was:
"You're in Paris, there is Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower etc" - Like what more do you want!!
Also, so good to just be understood e.g. not have to ask for:
une carafe d'eau s'il vous plaît or combien or l'addition (not quite sure about the spelling of this one, just know how to say it).
English does make it easier!
The room has it's own little kitchenette, so have bought some supplies.
First day in London was spent just walking (it is a good way to get know things like how to cross a road, where to walk on a footpath, and to just look at the beautiful buildings and life in the city.
So off I went with my trusted little map in hand again.
I know this will be hard to believe, but I did not get lost once. (such good instructions given)
Down Old Brompton Road to Brompton Road and into Harrods. The food court was full of tourists (yep, just like me) and what turned me off is that there was even a Krispy Kreme there.
Then followed Knightsbridge/Kensington Road walking along Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, up Chruch Street (many antique shops) and Notting Hill gate and Holland Park Avenue.
Then followed back streets back to the hotel.
All up took about 7 1/2 hours of wandering and the only item I bought was a scarf from a 2nd hand shop.
Has been a good day to get my bearings and feel for the city.
Came across this plaque on a wall (for Lizzy)
Mark Knopfler performing at Albert Hall. Alas, sold out.
You can see by the photos, that would you believe the best weather I'm going to have is to be in London!!!
Today meet up with Greg and Yori, so should have lots of photos and plenty of fun.
What a busy three days I have had in London
On the tube - (a great way to get around London) and met Greg and Yori at the Tower of London. William the Conqueror really created so much of this history and buildings. He started by building the white tower in 1100 and it has been used and added to as a palace and a fortress.
We had a wonderful guided tour conducted by Moria (very Irish) and then walked around checking out the Royal Armouries' collection, the crown jewels and of course where the many famous prisoners were kept (including incredible prisoner graffiti). What history is stored within these walls.
And of course travelling with Greg you get an added extra measure of history. His history knowledge is really extraordinary. (just like Kit)
Greg was not well in Japan, and hopefully is gaining his strength as he travels. Mind you, he lasted the day as well as all of us.
Look at the beautiful blue skies.
Fancy in London, that I have had by far the best weather. Who would have thought!!!
Yori always knows where the camera is!!!
This is the White Tower that started it all built by William.
Interesting to observe the different styles of building throughout the centuries!!
Next we ventured onto Madame Tussauds.
Certainly was a pick up line for Helen Mirren!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Paul was always my pin up!! Where is my hand???
Then off to Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes
Also discovered that John Lennon lived here etc. Always look up at buildings when you are in London and look for the blue circle plaque!
Plaque states John Lennon 1940 - 1980
Off to dinner in the bank/finance district. Greg noticed an old bank that we had a drink and then onto a French restaurant to have dinner, chosen by Yori's colleague chef he works with in Melbourne.
Judrahe (not quite sure how to spell his name) is English and back in England on holiday.
What a resaturant. Also went with other friends Greg is staying with Chris (OBE) and his partner Tosh?? (Greg how do you spell it?)
At the old bank for a drink before dinner.
What buildings we sat in!!
the most stunning scallops
Venison with Jupiter jus, cannot remember the rest of the description.
Chocolate, hot chocolate, passion-fruit, macaroon dessert. YUM, YUM. YUM.
Yori and I were madly taking photos.
A great meal, with great company.
Send my farewells and hope Greg and Yori travel safe and well and their adventures are as good as mine.
On the tube and home.
June 4 (I think) lost track and actually thought I leave London on Tuesday, but discovered it is Monday. ( I think I must have just been hoping)
Another busy day - On/Off bus which includes lots of other deals. Could only do a fraction in the day.
Caught the bus outside Royal Albert Hall and ventured to Trafalgar Square where picked up walking tour - Changing of the Guards.
Best part of going on the tour; is that no hope of getting photos at Buckingham Palace, but go to St James Barracks to the left of the Palace and also Wellington Place. Best photos to be gained.
Change over was from Coldstream Regiment to Irish Regiment (How do I know this?)
Guy standing next to me is in the RAF and explained. Standing outside Wellington; I was with a lovely mum and her four children (looked after the older two and gave them a better view)
The guide has us literally running on this tour to get the best spots and photos!
What was next?
I left the group to continue back and jumped on a bus to go to the River Thames to catch a ferry.
Passed Westminster Abbey; Big Ben, London Bridge etc. Tower Bridge etc
Onto to the ferry and travelled back to the Tower. This suited, as I had a cruise and could jump back on a bus to Tate Modern - National Gallery of international modern and contemporary art from 1900 (was an old Power plant and it is free) and next door to Shakespeare Globe. (reproduction of the thatched roof open area theatre where many plays, not only just Shakespeare) took place just a little further up the river.
It burn't down due to a canon (used in a play) causing a spark to hit the thatched roof and burn't to the ground. Luckily the 3,000 people in the audience all managed to escape.
Macbeth production was to take place in the Theatre that night and it was sold out. Was told, if I came back at 6:30pm there is sometimes returns. Went back at 6:30pm and there probably was 30 people in front of me. Some picked up tickets and probably down to 16 people at 7:15 (performance to start at 7:30pm) when a guy wanted to sell a ticket 5 pound extra than price and I was the only single person that wanted it.
So, for $20 pound, I managed to get a seat and sit in the most gorgeous auditorium to watch Shakespeare's Macbeth. What history I dream't and all so bloody!!
Model scale of the open air thatched roof theatre
More to come, but too tired. For my last day, off to Bath, Stonehenge and Windsor. Will try and update rest of yesterday and today before I go in the morning; but have to meet bus at 7:50am.
The Globe Theatre at night!! Lucky me.
It is an open air theatre.
Blurry, but shows bloody bodies coming up from the floor.
Do I want to come home? Sorry, kids but no not yet. Travel bug has well and truly hit!! Love it!!
Spent the morning with my lovely niece, Lisa, her husband, Lucas and the most gorgeous three children, Macie, Isla and Pearl and felt a little part of Indy in all of them. We walked from their home to the animal farm and had breakfast and I was privileged to be able to shout the girls a chocolate ice cream. How gorgeous are these three little girls?
The family walked me close to my next destination, to meet up with Belinda (best friend of Jess) who is living over here and then we were off to Nottinghill Market. On the way to the station to meet Belinda, we passed Macie's school with her photo in the window and a Banksy artwork on the wall of a building. (You know, this is the guy recently that the cleaners wiped out a graffiti painting in Melbourne). Roe, I can just imagine how hard it is to say goodbye and come back to Melbourne. I found it difficult, and yes Lisa thanks I will return; the travel bug is in me and take up your offer and come and stay. It was great to hear your passion and stories of travelling over the years.
Pearl is 10 weeks old now and wearing the outfit I bought her.
All these girls have the best huge blue eyes!!!
Dad and Macie have the same walk..........
Is this a little Lisa??????
Kelleher family for you; this is a photo of Macie on her school wall cooking.
The famous Banksy work. Banksy comes from Bristol, London.
Met Belinda at the station. Yes she looks great and very happy. Showed me her engagement ring. Had a great day at Portobello Road Market.
I emailed Belinda to thank her for today. Part of her reply:
You have totally worn me out. You really do know how to shop- I'm so tired! I'm going to watch a movie and go to bed.
Yep, we all know that shopping is my passion; and haven't had much time on this trip. So great to go to a spot where Belinda and I walked around for almost 4 1/2 hours and probably only covered 1/2 to 3/4 of the market.
Belinda, had great advice, especially on Jewellery and scarves!!
I also think my passion for shopping for hours and hours has put me in good stead for being able to travel and walk around for hours and hours.
Then onto the tube and a drink at an Earl's Court Pub before Belinda headed on home.
My last day tomorrow in London and off on a bus trip to Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge.
Will try and upload photos before I fly out on Monday for my 33 hour trip! Can't wait.
A big bus tour for a day. So pleased I have not done this for my holiday.
Just not enough time in each place.
A great thing, was to meet a Portuguese man sitting next to me. His English was fair, but of course I enjoyed the challenge (I used to teach kids who had come out to Australia with their parents, English at Rosanna PS as part of the intervention programme). He has two children and two grandchildren and had a surprise at Stonehenge when he met people he knew.
It was a bit of a shock when the guide asked the bus driver to take a different direction. (Guide had wanted to show us something). The road had been closed and the driver stood up and was very aggressive towards the guide (thought he was going to punish him). Not quite sure what this was all about!!!
But, was concerned with the aggression of the driver.
When we reached Windsor, only had small amount of time and four Spanish women were 15 minutes late, so bus just leaves. (gosh, I'm glad I had trained myself to observe directions and not be late).
Next stop, Stonehenge and then onto Bath.
The Portuguese guy and I decided this was our favourite and would like to spend more time here
Bath felt like Rome and had to rush the Roman bath tour, as I really wanted to look at the town.
It almost had that feeling of a seaside town!!
Photos to come if I have time in the morning.
Well, this is my final installment of my blog. Cannot believe the travelling is over and thank London for showing me the best weather on the trip.
Who would have believed that. But it has been averaging between 24 -28 since I have been here.
Lots more to see in London next time.
I would like to take this time to thank you all for following my blog and would like to let you know that this is the first time in my life I have kept a diary. Can't wait to get home and reminiscence on my fabulous adventures over the past 6 weeks.
See you all next week after my 33 hour flight.
Sorry, just a bit more to add, as I wrote whilst on my epic travels home:
One of my fears of travelling on my own, was if I got sick.
Well, I have had no issues with health at all whilst travelling.
Also, lucky that all my travels just fell into place. No delays at all in any flights, trains, buses etc.
If anything, they were early. Only the scare of airports being closed down earlier on.
Left Base2Stay Monday 9:00am 7 June and to the Earl’s Court station to catch the train. Around Earl’s court is just so trendy, but most of these areas are just full of very small supermarkets, pubs galore, restaurants, take away. Nothing flashy and new, just lovely old little places.
This tube system is absolutely fantastic and works so well. But I do believe that you require a large population to be able to run a system like this.
On the flight to Chicago, met a lady from Norfolk who was going to visit her son in Canada
We decided to look after each other when we got to Chicago, and make sure we both found our departure terminal.
Waited in line to get through immigration for over an hour (lucky we had time before our flights). How rude are the Americans; don’t even say hello!!
So left Doreen, as all was easy to find and sat in the next Terminal B11 waiting for my flight to Los Angeles. Here I did meet a very nice lady from Ohio who has been to Australia and was going to Los Angeles to visit her daughter.
So sitting on the plane with only about 3 ½ hours to go.
Then only need to catch the flight from Sydney to Melbourne.
All in all from the time I left the hotel, I will have been travelling for approx 36 ½ hours.
Kad is picking me up from the airport – plane arrives at 9:40am and then we are going back to Anthony and Annette’s place in Thornbury. (Anthony and Annette flew out to Bali yesterday to watch the football world cup in a better time zone and to have a holiday) I will hopefully watch some Collingwood games I have missed, stay the night and then drive to work the next day.
Can you just imagine what state I will be in when I return to work.