Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 4 - Another busy day in London

We had another busy day in London. Once again the weather was kind to us - mild and cloudy. The first place we visited was the Tower of London. It was great - we saw the Crown Jewels, lots of different types of armoury and towers. We had lunch there before travelling to see Westminster Abbey. Finally managed to get in - Tonia had missed out seeing it last time because we always seemed to arrive just as it was closing, so she was really happy to get to see it at last! Yes Michelle we've got proof we were there!
After seeing this magnificent abbey, with the aid of audio commentary which was terrific, we took a cab to the Victoria & Albert Museum to see an exhibition of Grace Kelly's dresses. They were lovely. Then we looked around some of the museum including more costumes, the art section and jewellery - very extensive collection of each.
After leaving we made our way to Buckingham Palace where we took a number of photos - surprise, surprise! Our next stop was Oxford Street to check out the shops. There were so many people everywhere. We walked what seemed the length of Oxford Street before we had to leave to make our show for the night. This time we were seeing the sequel to 'Phantom of the Opera' called "Love Never Dies" It was an excellent show - much better than we expected. It was well worth seeing. After the show we met Shefali and returned to her home which is located opposite the Tate Modern gallery - very central location to so many parts of London. Thanks a heap Shefali for allowing us to stay with you it has been so much fun! Tomorrow we leave to drive around many parts of England.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 3 -

Well it finally happened, it rained in sunny London. Not too much mind you but still it did! London Marathon was on today so a lot of streets and public transport was affected by the run. We got up late and decided that the Marathon would not stop us from doing our touristy thing (transport to places might but not our desire to see what we wanted to see!) We were lucky that the buses were running and perhaps to our advantage as they seemed to be the only things allowed on certain roads with the London cabs! So we had no problem going into London to go to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens/Palace. We got to Marble Arch and walked from there inside Hyde Park to Kensington Palace. Mind you we had to ask a few people where the Palace was! But we got there to find out that they did not show Princess Diana's clothes anymore but had some 'Enchanted' childrens theme on instead. We decided to skip this tour and went directly into the shop instead! Lovely items and we did try some jewellery on but that is all we did as the prices were a bit too high for us! But it was nice to try it on! As it took us a long time to find and get to Kensington Palace we had to leave to try to make our lunch back at Waterloo for our lunch. We finally worked out what tube to catch only to find out that the line we chose was affected by the Marathon. We were told to catch another tube to another station to get to where we wanted to be. Got to the station to find hundreds of people everywhere cheering. We all looked at each and realised it was not for us (only joking we knew it wasn't for us!). There was hundreds of people cheering, we thought it must have been the finishing line but no it was just part of the Marathon run. So we walked around all of these people and got to our lunch at The Canteen in Waterloo (near Waterloo station). We had a really lovely lunch catching up with Rhian and Ramon & their beautiful daughter Saskia, Shefali, and Jon Hill and his son Thomas. It was great catching up with them all as I had not seen them for such a long time and we had a really great time working altogether at HSBC years ago. Saskia did really well for the space restraints and entertained us all with her antics especially with Thomas. Both Jon and Thomas had been at the Marathon supporting a friend of Jon's - so it was quite a long day for both of them as they got to the Marathon when it started at Greenwich! Saskia had a lot of fun with Thomas too. Rhian and Ramon are just the same as they have always been and now enjoying parenthood with their daughter. Hopefully try to catch up with Rhian when we pass by Winchester where they now live. I really appreciated that they were able to make the lunch and also for Shefali in helping organise this too. (Btw we will finally post a photo of Shefali with this post too!) After our long English lunch (which was really yummy too!) we headed back to Shefali's and finally got to go to the Tate Modern which is around the corner from Shefali's house. The Tate Modern is quite interesting with its art pieces of modern art but also for the way it displays these too. I must admit I do prefer traditional art but the Tate had numerous famous pieces that were magnificent. We finally got really tired and went back to Shefali's. Went directly to bed with no dinner or anything. WE NEEDED SLEEP!! (written by Tonia)

Day 2 - In London - Borough Market, Harrods, the Underground & the play "Private Lives" live theatre

Day 2 and it was another busy, but fun day in London! The first thing we did was go to a local fresh food market called The Borough Market. While there we saw Matt Preston a chef from the show Master Chef. Lynda patted him on the back and wished him all the best for his stay in London - as only she can! He just had a laugh and wished us all the best as well!

We also visited the lovely Southwark Cathedral – very majestic -before we had to leave to go to Harrods.

We had to travel via King’s Cross Station so we couldn’t help ourselves we had to go to Platform 9 ¾ as per Harry Potter! Check out the photos!

We made it to Harrods where we caught up with Lauren, Michelle’s daughter and two of her friends – Bec and Nicole. We had a lovely lunch together at a restaurant near Harrods, before we had a quick look around the Victoria & Albert Museum. Then we returned to shop at Harrods, before returning to Shefali’s flat.Walked along the Riverside Walk – very busy, but lovely as London was again sunny and warm!

Once at Shefali’s flat we got ready to go to our play for that evening, the Noel Coward play of “Private Lives”, which was on at the Vaudeville Theatre and starred Matthew MacFadyen and Kim Cattral.

We met Shefali outside the theatre. It was an excellent play – very funny, with lots of twists. The theatre was much smaller than the theatre’s we are used to back home in Melbourne. After the play we went to a nearby Italian restaurant for a late dinner before catching a bus back to Shefali’s flat - exhausted!!!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Photos of our first day in London

We were so lucky with our first day in London which was a lovely sunny day!
Check out how blue the sky was & no clouds!
Big Ben, double decker buses and views from the top of St Paul's Cathedral!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 1 - London sunny & crisp

Well we made it to London and got a cab to Shefali's (that she kindly organised for us). Shefali lives near the Tate Gallery & Millenium Bridge so after a quick breakfast at a place called 'Leon' we made our way to St Paul's Cathedral where low & behold they were just starting their St George's Day parade! We thought it was to welcome us to London but no it was for the St George's Day. (btw Happy St George's Day George!) So we watched the 3 different marching music bands and the medieval knights and went directly into St Paul's Cathedral. The church is really lovely with beautiful stainglass & paintings & sculptures. We decided to go to the first level & walk the 257 steps to the Whispering Gallery of St Paul's to admire the beauty of the Church & the paintings from above (no photo's allowed :(. Then we decide we would go up the next level of the Church and walk the extra 119 steps to go outside to view the church from outside. It was lovely and the day was clear and sunny! We took some photo's (of course) and then decided why not do the last bit and go all the way to the very top of the outside of church dome! Of course being in Europe and old the only way up is the circular staircases! Makes you feel very dizzy going round & round the staircase! So after many stops & breathing (!) we walking the extra 142 steps to the very top! We were very relieved to make it up especially Lynda! But it was well worth it as the view was wonderful. We do not need to go to the London Eye because this was a better view! After some more photo's of the beautiful view and a big breather, we made our way back down (so much easier going back down) to have a well earned drink (note to ourselves make sure we bring water with us just in case we climb more stairs!) & something to eat. We also looked at the many crypts at St Paul's too. Once recovered we went for a long walk along Fleet Street to the Courtauld Gallery visiting the Temple church (the one mentioned in the Da Vinci Code book) along the way which had the Knights Templar crypts, it was quite an interesting church too. The Courtauld Gallery is a private collection of impressionsim (both post & pre) paintings. A great collection of works of art. Then we decided we were tired of walking so we caught our first double decker red bus to see Westminister Abbey. Well we got to Wesminister Abbey and Michelle you guessed it, it had just closed! So still have not been in that church. We plan to go to see it tomorrow! As that was closed we decided to go see Parliament House and Big Ben. After many photo's of getting the red bus behind us whilst taking a photo of Big Ben we walked to see no.10 Downing Street and the Horseguards. Behind the Horseguards we ventured to St James Park where the lake & fountains looked marvellous with the late sunshine and Lynda got to see her first or many squirrels. So cute but I am sure quite a nuisance to Londonites too! We then decided we would venture back to see Admiral Nelsons statue and visit the National Art Gallery. Once in the Gallery and after visiting a select few rooms we knew it was time we had to go back because we could hardly keep our eyes open. We rang Shefali to let her know that we had 'hit a brick wall' from being so tired, as we had planned to go out for dinner with her being our first night & all. So we decided to have a quick dinner near where she lived, place called Cafe Au Rouge, then left & fell straight to sleep - 8pm Friday night London time but it was really for us 5am Saturday morning Melbourne time! So we were up for a very long time! Looking forward to another sunny London day on Saturday where we are going to meet up with Michelle's daughter Lauren at Harrods for lunch and then finish off by going to see our first London play, Private Lives tonight! (written by Tonia)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Travelling Trio - Georgina, Tonia & Lynda

After almost a week of uncertainty about whether we would actually be able to fly to London due to a huge ash cloud from an erupting volcano in Iceland of all places, we have been told that our flight will leave on schedule Thursday 22nd April at 3:50pm!
Lynda, Tonia and Georgina