A Travellerspoint blog

Last days in London

15th - 16th May

-17 °C

Yesterday back to normal. Up early and had breakfast. Rain still about but after speaking to Jen who had good advice and said Mum you put on your coat, use your umbrella and just walk!! So that's what we did. First we walked to Oxford street. We visited a Primart Store for Phil. Then we walked down Bond and Regent Street.
Sandy called into the National Gallery and saw an exhibition of Monet's earlier work of his drawings and pastels which she enjoyed while Phil took cover in a coffee shop around the corner! Then we walked to Westminster Abby. We were very surprised at the size of the cathedral and enjoyed our walk around. A very interesting place to visit. Then we walked home to change for the theatre. We were going to see the Mouse Trap.
We caught the bus again into Piccadilly Circus. Walking to the West End we saw Leister Square. We were going to find something to eat there but we were running out of time so decided to find something closer to the theatre. Ate at an Italian Rest. and had a really enjoyable pasta.
The Mouse Trap was an enjoyable play. Very nice theatre. Not a full audience but what can you expect after running for 45 years!! Once again walked to Oxford Circus to catch the bus back to the hotel. Happy to say no rain!.
This morning we missed breakfast again to have our last sleep-in. Had a final visit to the laundromat as we won't be washing again until we get to New York. This afternoon we are going to enjoy a walk through Hyde Park and walk to Harrods for a traditional English afternoon tea. We may even go to the movies.
Tomorrow we have an early start. We catch a taxi to Victoria Station, then a train to Gatwick. Not a cheap exercise to get to the airport. Approx 40pounds for the both of us!! London has been fun and while the weather hasn't been fantastic we have both grown to like it. The only down side, it is very expensive!!
Keep well.

Posted by sparscott 04:28 Comments (5)

London contd.....

13th -16th May

-17 °C

I spend most of my time trying to work out the date. Some days we don't even know what day it is!! Such is life.
After a very active day on the Saturday walking everywhere we had a lazy day on the Sunday as we did a bus tour to Stonehenge, Bath and the Cotswolds. We decided to do this instead of hiring a car and driving ourselves as weather has not being good and predicted rain for more days. It was an early start as we had to be at the pickup spot by 7:30.am Lucky for us it was just up the street.
Needless to say the day started off with rain and as we got into the countryside it got heavier and did not stop for most of the day!! Stonehenge was really interesting but we did not spend long and the rain and wind made it difficult to spend the required time to ponder on what happened so long ago. Most people I speak to have similar experiences of their visit to Stonehenge with the weather. We stopped at a small pub for lunch on our way to Bath. We sat next to a young couple from Sydney who were off to Ireland the next day. Pub meal was ok but expensive for what we got.
When we arrived in Bath we had a total of 50mins to do a tour of the Roman Baths. This was interesting and we were enjoying the audio but at the end it was a rush to complete and get on the bus. Unfortunately that was Bath. Yes it was raining so we did not get to see the prettiness of the river or the little streets busy with people. It is one place I would like to come back to with Phil as I visited it with Jen and it is a really pretty place in the summer.
Driving through the Cotswolds was really pretty and we would like to come back and do our original plan of hiring a car and visiting many of the little villages in this region at our leisure.
We stopped at Stratford Upon Avon to visit Shakespeares Birthplace. We were greeted with a champagne and strawberries and cream scone which was very nice. After our visit we headed home which was another 2 hours on the bus. Lucky for us we were dropped off close to the hotel and we only had a short walk to the hotel. Dinner that night was a shared pizza at a place around the corner from the hotel.
Surprisingly we were tired after very little except sit on the bus and look out the window!!
Monday we had a very lazy day and had a sleep-in and missed breakfast. We spent the morning doing washing at the laundramat just around the corner from our hotel. Thanks to SJ this has been a great hotel. It is very central and walking distance to everything. The good thing it is reasonably priced. We also updated blog and checked emails.
Late in the afternoon we caught the bus to Piccadilly Circus and found a popular place to eat called The Stockpot. Then we walked to the Westend to see the musical Mary Poppins. We were early so we found a great little eatery and had a drink and people watched. We were in Soho and a gay area so it was interesting viewing.We thoroughly enjoyed the musical and had great seats. We then walked through Soho nightlife to catch a bus home. Yes it was cold and rain was hovering. Thanks to Kathie for the umbrella. It has had a work out.

Posted by sparscott 03:47 Comments (0)

London (cont`d)

12th ..... May

-17 °C

Phil left me to read his blog but unfortunately the internet cut off without warning and he has lost his work. He won't be happy Jan!!
Thanks for all the messages you have been sending. Its great reading them and hearing news from home. It's good to know you are enjoying the read.
I now know why there is no rain in Australia. Since we have been in London we have had to put up with the rain. The first few days were intermittent but yesterday 13th it rained non stop. As to be expected by night it slowed down.
On Saturday we had a very busy day walking. We started by walking to the Portabello Markets at Nottinghill. We had heard of these markets but were a little disappointed. They were mainly for people who were looking for antiques. Lots of second hand silver, china, pictures, clothes and jewellery. At the end of the long street were the food markets. Not as good as what we saw in Versaille.
After walking up and down the street we headed for Royal Albert Hall. Could not get inside unless taking a tour and there was not one until later in the day.
Then we walked to Harrods walking through Kensington Gdns. The street we took had lots of Embassy Homes. At each end of the street there were gates with guards.
Harrods was very big, very easy to get lost and very expensive. We fell upon the statue of Dodi and Diana at the escalators going up to the 2nd floor. Not sure what Diana would think if she was alive!! We visited the cafe that sold nothing but chocolate. Highly recommended by Jen!
Next stop was to be Buckingham Palace but we had a forced stop at a cafe on the way due to a very heavy shower of rain. Once it cleared we made our way to Buckingham Palace and had a walk around. Phil thought it would be more imposing! Next stop was Covent Garden to have dinner at the restaurant that Cait works at. It is an upmarket burger place. We fell upon Covent Garden market and had a browse before stopping at a pub for a drink and to rest our weary feet. By this stage we had been on them for most of the day!! Then we had dinner and had a quick catch up with Cait as she was extremely busy. There was a 20mins waiting time to get a table but we were lucky as we didn't have to wait. After dinner we walked back to the hotel. Our feet were very tired at the end.
Hope you are all well.

Posted by sparscott 06:37 Comments (0)


8th May....to 11th May.

-17 °C

Hi all,
Well I have the "power" again, so here goes.
We left Paris via the Metro (conveniently located across the road), and after changing to another line, arrived at the departure station without incident and plenty of time to spare.
We enjoyed some breathing time before boarding the "fast Eurail", arriving safely in London. We again estabished that we had to travel via the underground to Paddington, arriving without any grief at 4 pounds a ticket. Luckily Paddington station is one block from our hotel, great location, just a block from Hyde Park. Those Glen Osmond booking agents are really looking after us.
It was about 4 in the afternoon so we decided to walk down Oxford Street, taking in the shops and soaking up the atmosphere.
Later we enjoyed dinner at a local pub, San had some Rose' and I enjoyed a few Guiness. Earlier that day we had contacted Caitlin and arranged to meet next morning.
We suggested the proverbial Hop-on-hop-off bus, and Caitlin was really keen to come along. It is the longest tour that we have encountered, but it was very enjoyable.
We stopped off on the way for lunch at another pub, then joined the ride again.
I undertook the London Eye ride, which was fantastic, while the girls went looking in shops etc. Caitlin, left us at that time and we decided to walk back to our hotel, which was a long but enjoyable journey. (perhaps we may have taken a wrong turn here or there). It was great catching up with a familiar face , and Caitlin and San spent the majority of the time exchanging stories etc. She looked well and obviously is enjoying her time with many travelling plans in place for later this year. Later that evening we ate at a small Italian Restaurant in the street next to the hotel, but meal was very average and not overly enjoyable.
The weather held off on our bus trip but looked threatening most of the day, with a slight shower as the night approached.
Next day (10th..I think) we decided to visit The Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
Magnificent to say the least, but I think all of your reading this have already been there. The jewels are certainly worth seeing. It rained most of the time, so it was a good choice to visit that day.
Later we walked the bridge, and then undertook the tour across the top and also the engine room below.
Once again we decided to walk back to St Paul's to catch the bus back to Paddington, but once again seemed to take the wrong street. No majors though we soon got back on track. (All my fault of course!!!).
We arrived back OK, then ate a local Indian Restaurant, which was very nice, except the waiter tried to "upsell on every opportunity" I think that I will give him a job.
Today we headed off to Windsor Castle. Luckily it was a short train ride from our station (Paddington). The sky was blue for a short period, but then normality set in with periods of slight showers.
The Castle was what I had been expecting in the other touristy castles, apart from the one in Saumur. Luckily the weather and being a Friday must have kept the crowds down, so minimal queueing and a most enjoyable day.
The visit gave a more realistic overview of the history dating right back, and the thing that we liked the most was the fact that the castle was still in use ( being lived in etc ).
Another great day, I will sign off as someone is waiting to use etc. The I-N is free here.

Posted by sparscott 09:33 Comments (3)


3rd....7th May

-17 °C

Bonjour again,
Well we have arrived in Paris and for once the hotel is just down the road from the station. We still caught a taxi because of the luggage-10euros. Taxis charge for carrying luggage!!
Paris is just as beautiful as I remember it. After settling in we decided to go for a stroll and before long we ended up at the Louvre. Phil was impressed with the size and he also got his first look at the Eiffel Tower. We then walked back and found a cafe to eat not far from the hotel.
Early in the evening received text messages wishing me happy birthday but on Paris time I was still 49 and staying that way! Woke to the fact that there was no more denials and I was now 50. I have to say I felt really good and why not. Not every day you get to turn 50 in Paris!!
We started the day by doing a hop on hop off tour so Phil could get a feel for the city. We then walked down The Champs Elysees and stopped off at Paul's Bakery for a baguette highly recommended by Jen. A little further on we stopped and people watched and of course celebrated with a champagne. Then we were off to climb the 286 steps of The Arc De Triomphe. The view was magnificent. We especially enjoyed watching the peak hour traffic manage the 12 roads that feed into the round about!
Next stop was the Eiffel Tower and I think for every other tourist in Paris. It was cold, rain was threatening and we had to wait about an hour to catch the lift from the second floor to the top. The view was not as good due to the overcast conditions but you could still see for miles! After another long wait to get from the top to the 2nd floor we decided to walk from the 2nd floor to the bottom. This some mighty feat coming from someone who is not too good with heights and while in the lift I don't look out. It was over 1000 steps and when we got to the bottom both of us had legs that felt a bit like jelly! Then we had to walk back to the hotel. We were forced to stop at a cafe not far from the Eiffel Tower due to a rather heavy shower of rain that managed to clear by the time we finished dinner. The walk was further than we thought but still enjoyable and allows you to walk off the very enjoyable meal.
On Saturday we continued with the hop on hop off tour. There are 4 different parts of Paris to see. It was not a particularly enjoyable day because rain threatened for most of the day and it was particularly cold. We had planned on going to Monet's Garden but not a lot of choice with train timetable and we had paid for hop on hop off so needed to do it. We visited the cathedral de Notre Dame. On the way home we walked to the Latin Quarter and found a lovely little french restaurant. The tables are so close you can't help meet people and we met a couple from America who had flown to Paris for 4 days to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
On Sunday we had fun once again catching the metro to Station Saint Lazare. Only problem we came out onto a side street, could not find the main train station and asked a non English speaking French person where the train station was and he took us to another metro line streets away! After many tickets and lots of confusion we finally found our way to Varseille to see the chateau. On arrival to our great delight there was a wonderful local fresh produce market in the main street. We of course had to buy so we bought bread, cheese, salami and olives and made our way to the chateau. Outside under some trees we had a picnic. It was delightful and gave us plenty of energy to do the 3 plus hour audio tour around the chateau. At 5.30pm we had had enough, our feet were beginning to kill so we caught the train back to Lazare Station and then the metro to our hotel without any fuss!! Big mistake as we sat on the bed to catch the news of the election and yes we both had a bit of shut eye. We ate dinner at a cafe up the road, wary of a bit of unrest due to election but all quiet and no problem at all.
Today our target is to visit the Louvre and just relax and enjoy our last day in Paris!
Au revoir from us!

Posted by sparscott 03:31 Comments (1)

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