Results tagged “Bridges” from UK and Japan 2010

Rain. Rain.

Have I mentioned the rain?

Got up and had breakfast and off we went into the rain.

Rain.

Went under the Menai Bridge to photograph it. Got a crappy one of the Britannia Bridge through the rain. Headed up to Llanfair cause it's just an epic cool place name so took some photos of the place name signs.

Menai Bridge
Menai Bridge

Brittania Bridge
Brittania Bridge

Llanfair station
Llanfair station

Llanfair station
Llanfair station

Then headed out of Wales the way we came in. Dipped into England then back into Wales to see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Which is like the highest and longest aqueduct in Britain or something, and get this - canal boats go across it!! It's epic cool!! Walked part way across then down to look at it side on.

Welcome to Wales!
Welcome to Wales!

Canal boats near Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Canal boats near Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Canal boat going across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Canal boat going across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Turning a canal boat
Turning a canal boat

Canal boats near Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Canal boats near Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Near Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Near Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

On my quest for bridges, the next stop was Iron Bridge to see the iron bridge - the first ever iron arch bridge built.

Iron Bridge
Iron Bridge

River Severn from Iron Bridge
River Severn from Iron Bridge

Iron Bridge
Iron Bridge

Then we returned to Hogwarts - at Gloucester Cathedral. Pretty cool cathedral. Lots if beautiful stonework and lots of little alcoves and doorways to go through and explore. But of course I mainly wanted to see the cloisters where Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets were filmed. Was epic squee. Of course. :) Found a girls bathroom, altho it was downstairs so Moaning Myrtle couldn't have flooded the corridor, and I didn't see her in the toilet either ;)


Funny sign on the M6 near Birmingham
Funny sign on the M6 near Birmingham

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Stained glass in Gloucester Cathedral
Stained glass in Gloucester Cathedral

Interior of Gloucester Cathedral
Interior of Gloucester Cathedral

Organ in Gloucester Cathedral
Organ in Gloucester Cathedral

Quire in Gloucester Cathedral
Quire in Gloucester Cathedral

Altar in Gloucester Cathedral
Altar in Gloucester Cathedral

Roof of Gloucester Cathedral
Roof of Gloucester Cathedral

Stained glass in Gloucester Cathedral
Stained glass in Gloucester Cathedral

Cloisters in Gloucester Cathedral
Cloisters in Gloucester Cathedral

Harry runs out here when the floor is covered in water
Harry runs out here when the floor is covered in water from Myrtle flooding the bathroom 

This is the corner where the kids see Mrs Norris hung and the writing in blood  
This is the corner where the kids see Mrs Norris hung and the writing in blood 
"enemies of the heir beware" 


Me in Gloucester Cathedral cloisters
Me in Gloucester Cathedral cloisters


"It's written in blood!"

This corridor is used in a couple of scenes too 
This corridor is used in a couple of scenes too 

Chapter house of Gloucester Cathedral 
Chapter house of Gloucester Cathedral.  This is McGonnagal's transfigurations classroom.
This room was being used for a function, and I was able to get a quick snap of the room 
before they locked it up.


No Moaning Myrtle in the girl's bathroom though
No Moaning Myrtle in the girl's bathroom though

The kids walk out this door when Harry remembers Hermione doesn't know about the troll
The kids walk out this door when Harry remembers Hermione doesn't know about the troll

Cloister in Gloucester Cathedral 
Cloister in Gloucester Cathedral 

Gloucester Cathedral 
Gloucester Cathedral 

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral
Had KFC for lunch/dinner (it was six pm).

Headed for Swindon to go around the Magic Roundabout and nearly didn't get off it. And it's freaky cause you end up going around the wrong way! After several loops we dove for an exit, no idea if legally or not!

Swindon Magic Roundabout
Swindon Magic Roundabout

Then to Salisbury. GPS didn't quite have the location of the hotel right so had to go around a few blocks trying to get back :/ Pretty funky hotel (The Red Lion). Cloud Internet which is a pain. Wanted to book tomorrow night's accommodation which was stressful cause it took forever to find something :/

Blog. Bed.


Geotagging - Day 23
Geotagging - Day 23

Photos on the Canon: 309
Videos on the Canon: 1
Photos on the Sony: 19
Videos on the Sony: 3
Photos on the Olympus: 53
Photos on the Video: 22
Videos on the Video: 14
Steps walked: 7883
Pounds Spent: ?
Today was probably the worst day of the trip so far.  Failure after failure after failure.  Tempered by 3/4 bottle of Australian chardonnay tonight so maybe this won't sound as bad as it would have.

So this morning started off very slowly.  The pace set by the hotel and the timing and delivery of breakfast.  *Heaps* of food which is always dangerous heh.  I'm sooo going to need to go on a diet or something when I get home heh.  Had a chat to the owners as we were checking out about the bombing/crash 22 years ago.  They actually knew people on the street that was hit (I'm sure I read about them in wikipedia last night) - the parents and daughter were killed but the two boys were out of the house and survived.  They were given a heap of compensation money and had different lives because of it.  And they're both dead now.  One of them had a son who is destined to be worth £23 million when he comes of age.  Went for a quick drive around Sherwood Crescent to see where it all happened.  11, 13 and 15 where the plane hit are just a garden now, they didn't rebuild the houses there.  Perhaps because noone was left to rebuild them..

Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie.  A large part of the plane fell here
Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie. A large part of the plane fell here

So then headed south.  The idea being to stop at Gretna to see the first/last house in Scotland and stand on the bridge over the river that forms the border with England and get a photo.  Except the exit we wanted wasn't marked and we missed it.  And it was about eight miles further south to the next exit so I decided it wasn't worth it and missed out altogether.

Fail.

Welcome to England!
Welcome to England!

So continued south.  Bought petrol.  Oh yes, this country doesn't believe in windscreen squidgees at service stations, so you can't actually clean your windows here.

Fail. 

Then headed out into the Lakes District.  The idea being to drive a loop around Keswick to some of the lakes then past Windermere and out.  Well first let me warn you.  If you're just here for a drive around and some photos, forget it.  The only way to get photos is if you're a hiker.  This country doesn't believe in cars.  And certainly not in parking.  And views of lakes from the road?  Forget it.  Pretty much no such thing.  Didn't get a single photo of Buttermere and a very crap one of Windermere simply because a) there's nowhere to stop and b) there are so many trees between the roads and the lakes that you can't even get photos from the car.  It was pretty much epic..

Fail.

Heading for the Lakes District.  On the A66 near Threlkeld
Heading for the Lakes District. On the A66 near Threlkeld

Bassenthwaite Lake
Bassenthwaite Lake

Heading down B5289 towards Crummock Water
Heading down B5289 towards Crummock Water

Fields off B5289 near Crummock Water
Fields off B5289 near Crummock Water

Fields off B5289 near Crummock Water
Fields off B5289 near Crummock Water

Sheep on the road
Sheep on the road

Crummock Water
Crummock Water

Crummock Water
Crummock Water

South end of Crummock Water
South end of Crummock Water

Buttermere
Buttermere

Heading up Honister Pass
Heading up Honister Pass

Honister Pass
Honister Pass

Honister Pass
Honister Pass

Derwentwater, south of Keswick
Derwentwater, south of Keswick

Thirlmere
Thirlmere

Windermere
Windermere

We were very excited after four and a half hours driving to finally find somewhere with toilets.  Of course it was a pay and display carpark.  So we found someone else's still valid ticket lying on the ground and used that. 

Small win!

Decided to drive on.  Thought we were up for a quick visit to Chester to see the walls and the Roman Amphitheatre.  Even in the pouring rain.  Because it was 3:30pm and we hadn't eaten since breakfast.  So thought we'd go into one of the city parking stations.  Which was gridlock with people trying to get in and out.  We went down one way (after trying to get past someone trying to get out) and found it was actually a dead end.  With nowhere to turn around. 

Epic.  Fricken.  Fail.

So decided "screw you Chester" and got the hell out of there as soon as we could.

Fail.

Part of the wall at Chester
Part of the wall at Chester

So the Welsh border was not far away.  Was watching it coming on the GPS and had the camera ready.  But it was raining so heavily that firstly my camera was focussed on the rain on the windscreen.  And by the time the wipers went, we'd passed the sign.  So missed it.

Fail.

Britannia Bridge near Llanfair
Britannia Bridge near Llanfair

Looking through the rain towards Menai Bridge
Looking through the rain towards Menai Bridge

Island in the water dividing Anglesey from the mainland
Island in the water dividing Anglesey from the mainland

Arrived at the hotel.  Carpark was full.  But someone moved their car so we took their spot.  Checked in ok.  Room is a bit stuffy so we have the window open.  It's raining.  It's actually kinda nice to listen to.

Dinner was in the bistro downstairs.  I just had a starter which was probably a good thing as don't think would have gotten through a main.  There was lots of saladdy stuff, so lots of lovely fibre to counter the meat I've been eating for breakfasts.

8:30pm.  Time to wash hair and go to bed methinks.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow...

Geotagging - Day 22
Geotagging - Day 22


Photos on the Canon: 130
Photos on the Sony: 21
Steps walked: 679 (?)
Pounds Spent: ?
Got up relatively early today.  We had to be out the door by 9am cause that's when our street parking ran out.

Was a pretty *meh* night.  My mattress had big lumps in it from springs poking through, and was lopsided.  This morning I flipped the mattress and told them they might want to replace it.  Also the internet was pretty much dead on our floor, not giving out ip addresses.  We rebooted the router we found in the hallway on the way to breakfast but it didn't help much (at least with the laptop - the phones were ok).

Breakfast was ok, nothing to write home about.  The waitress staff needed to be told to friggen *smile* as they didn't seem that happy to be there.  We actually got a much nicer good morning from one of the cleaning staff.  

So the plan for the day was to head out in about four different directions from Fort William.  We ended up in three.

So the first stop was Loch Ness.  Which turned out to be an epic waste of time.  There's a small visitors centre at Fort Augustus (complete with pay and display car park).  Skipped that cause there was no Nessie.  Then drove and drove along the northwest side of the lake looking for one of the Nessies my parents found, or at the very least a parking area with a decent view of the lake.  No such luck.  The was absolutely nothing.  And it was a pretty boring loch anyway.  And you couldn't even see it for the entire drive because it was all behind trees.  We went way past our turnoff trying to find a Nessie but never found one.  We stopped to take a photo at Urqhart Castle (a ruin, but they still wanted £7 entry).  And continued to the visitors centre.  But still no Nessie.  Have no idea where the parents found all the Nessies they did.  So declared that mission a failure and headed back.

Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge
Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge

Loch Lochy
Loch Lochy

Hills next to Loch Lochy
Hills next to Loch Lochy

Loch Lochy
Loch Lochy

Loch Ness
Loch Ness

Loch Ness
Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle

This photo taken at Drumnadrochit is the furthest north I've been on the planet
This photo taken at Drumnadrochit is the furthest north I've been on the planet

Next headed out west to Eilean Donan Castle.  The drive between Loch Cluanie and Loch Duich was really pretty, but of course it rained for most of it, so little documentation.  Didn't go into Eilean Donan either, but I mainly wanted to see the exterior, which was used in Highlander and The World is Not Enough.  So that was pretty cool.

Dam creating Loch Cluanie
Dam creating Loch Cluanie

Hills around Loch Cluanie
Hills around Loch Cluanie

Hills on the A87
Hills on the A87

Hills on the A87
Hills on the A87

Loch Duich near Invershiel
Loch Duich near Invershiel

Loch Duich near Invershiel
Loch Duich near Invershiel

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

The MacLeod clan went to battle across this bridge
The MacLeod clan went to battle across this bridge

Came back via Fort William and then west out to Glen Finnan.  Found the viaduct (was a bit bummed that you can't drive up the road that goes underneath it, so had to walk).  Found some people that said there was a train coming at 3pm (it was 2:40), so we walked up to the far side of the viaduct for some crappy back-lit photos then came back to wait.  In the meantime it went from sunny to rainy to rainbows to sunny again.  The train came along (twenty minutes late) and it was very squee, but the loco was going backwards ;)  Then went back to the visitors centre to have some lunch.  I climbed the little hill behind the visitors centre to see where they filmed a cut scene from Chamber of Secrets and also get a better view of the viaduct and the loch.  Was pretty cool.

Loch Garry
Loch Garry

Coal
Coal

Coal was a pretty depressing little town
Coal was a pretty depressing little town

Fort William from Caol
Fort William from Caol

Glenfinnan viaduct
Glenfinnan viaduct

Glenfinnan viaduct
Glenfinnan viaduct

Glenfinnan viaduct
Glenfinnan viaduct

The Hogwarts Express?  Not quite!
The Hogwarts Express? Not quite!

Train going over the Glenfinnan viaduct
Train going over the Glenfinnan viaduct

Glenfinnan viaduct
Glenfinnan viaduct

Loch Shiel from the lookout
Loch Shiel from the lookout

Glenfinnan Monument to the Jacobites
Glenfinnan Monument to the Jacobites

Kept heading west to find Loch Eilt.  A little island of trees there was used in Prisoner of Azkaban.  Found a little path of sorts next a pullout, so it's obvious other Potterphiles have been there before.  Got my photos, and even some of a train going by right next to the loch.

Island in Loch Eilt featured in Prisoner of Azkaban
Island in Loch Eilt featured in Prisoner of Azkaban

Loch Eilt
Loch Eilt

Harry and Lupin came down here and talked
Harry and Lupin came down here and talked

Train near Loch Eilt
Train near Loch Eilt

We thought we might just head back to the hotel at that point, but Ben Nevis was all shiny in the setting sun, so we headed up the Glen Nevis road.  Was a cool little road full of bumps and bends.  And a nice view of the mountains too.  Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles, at 1344m.  Of course, the base is at sea level, so the whole thing just goes straight up in front of you - very cool!

Hills near Loch Linnhe
Hills near Loch Linnhe

Street in Fort William
Street in Fort William

Hills in Glen Nevis
Hills in Glen Nevis

Hills in Glen Nevis
Hills in Glen Nevis

Hills in Glen Nevis, featured as backdrops for Quidditch in Philosopher's Stone
Hills in Glen Nevis, featured as backdrops for Quidditch in Philosopher's Stone

Got back to the hotel then headed out for dinner.  Decided to eat at the "Grog and Gruel" for some very nice beer, an Angus burger for me and curly fries.  The angus burger was a little odd - just meat and cheese on a fairly doughy bun.  Added the supplied relish and a bit of the salad and it was a bit better.

Street in Fort William
Street in Fort William

Then hotel and crashing time :)

addition:
Heading north east first up, as we were driving by Loch Lochy, this jet flew down the valley at low altitude making a lot of noise.  I actually had the camera out so got a couple of pictures of it.  As we came back along the same loch, another jet flew by in the opposite direction.  Unfortunately too many trees obscured it.  Just now (9:42 pm) I heard another one fly by Fort William!  I'd read in one of the Highlander film location pages (a jet does a flyby at the end of that movie) that there's an airbase or something near here, will have to try and figure out where it is.

Military jet flying over Loch Lochy
Military jet flying over Loch Lochy

Geotagging - Day 20
Geotagging - Day 20


Photos on the Canon: 378
Photos on the Sony: 25
Photos on the iPhone: 3
Photos on the Blackberry: 2
Photos on the Video: 16
Videos on the Video: 14
Steps walked: 8575
Pounds Spent: ?
Was a little bit warm in the hotel room last night (even with aircon on) so didn't sleep as well as could be expected.

No hotel breakfast, and the Laundrette opened at 8am, so we just got up and lugged our washing down the road to the Laundrette.  Set it running then went across the road for breakfast.  I had a "Scottish Breakfast" which included an awful lot of food, including haggis, which I've never had before.  After having tried a little black pudding the other day (which I didn't much fancy), haggis was actually quite nice .. :)  Went and had Starbucks while the washing was in the dryer, then wandered back to the hotel to checkout.  We didn't end up getting charged for the under the hotel parking - win!!

Looking up Montague St, Ediburgh
Looking up Montague St, Ediburgh

So we'd decided last night that we weren't going to try and see anything in Edinburgh.  To do this place justice you'd really need to spend a few days here.  Plus there were so many other things to see out of town.  So we decided just to leave, and come back and spend a few days here on another trip, perhaps when we go to Ireland or other parts of Northern Europe.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

So first stop was Firth of Forth, and the bridges thereover.  Had to wait for little patches of sunlight to shine through between all the clouds.  

Firth of Forth railway bridge
Firth of Forth railway bridge

Firth of Forth railway bridge
Firth of Forth railway bridge

Forth road bridge
Forth road bridge

Then headed north west.  Our next stop being Doune Castle.  Read: Swamp Castle and a couple of other castles from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (but not Camelot - it's only a model - shhh!!).  Had a wander around the castle exterior and squeed quite a bit :)  Also had a look at the river Teith behind the castle which was flowing very high - there must have been heaps of rain around here recently!

Doune Castle
Doune Castle

Doune Castle
Doune Castle

Doune Castle
Doune Castle

Trojan Rabbit was just there
Trojan Rabbit was just there

River Teith at the back of the castle
River Teith at the back of the castle

Continued heading north west and did a little detour out to Duke's Pass to see if we could find the quarry of Tim the Enchanter.  Well we found it, but it was a twenty minute hike up the hill to where the filmed it - grunt! So got my photos and ran back down the hill again (before it started raining).

Quarry off Duke's Pass near Aberfoyle
Quarry off Duke's Pass near Aberfoyle

There are some who call me.. Tim
There are some who call me.. Tim

Stopped for lunch at a little cafe on Loch Venacher.  It was pretty awesome.  The cheeses Stu got were epic awesome!

Loch Achray Hotel
Loch Achray Hotel

We had lunch at this cafe on Loch Venachar
We had lunch at this cafe on Loch Venachar

Continued on.  Getting up to Glencoe was exceedingly cool.  The mountains were sooo pretty.  But really hard to document in the failing light and dirty windows.  And then the petrol light came on in the car so didn't want to risk stopping in case we didn't make the town of Glencoe. We'll just have to go back! ;)

Loch Lubnaig
Loch Lubnaig

Loch Lubnaig
Loch Lubnaig

Hills near Kingshouse
Hills near Kingshouse

Hills near Ardveich
Hills near Ardveich

Viaduct near Glenogle
Viaduct near Glenogle

Restaurant near Ardchyle
Restaurant near Ardchyle

The Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum
The Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum

Hills near Clifton
Hills near Clifton

Hills near Auch
Hills near Auch

Hills near Auch
Hills near Auch

Lochan na h-Achlaise
Lochan na h-Achlaise

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

So got to Fort William around 6pm-ish and checked in.  Got quite amused by the crazy path we had to take to get to our room.  Had some time to catch up on news feeds, and do some photo stuff.  Went out around 8:30pm to get some snacks and ended up with a bottle of pinot grigio, cheese balls, toffee popcorn and ice cream.  Yeah real healthy .. hrmm..   Not all consumed, some will carry on to other days...

Bleak looking Loch Linnhe
Bleak looking Loch Linnhe

Geotagging - Day 19
Geotagging - Day 19


Photos on the Canon: 310
Photos on the Sony: 16
Photos on the Olympus: 5
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Photos on the Video: 23
Videos on the Video: 21
Steps walked: 11060
Pounds Spent: ?
Woke up by Stu's phone buzzing at 5:30 and couldn't get back to sleep :/

Breakfast - same.

Today we decided to go our own separate ways for the day. The sun was out so I wanted to do some touristy things while Stu had a relaxing day off.

So my first stop was Buckingham Palace. I considered going in, but the sun was out! So decided to go down past Westminster station to photograph the barriers (a la Order of the Phoenix), across the Westminster bridge, and up the London Eye.

Buckingham Palace in sunlight
Buckingham Palace in sunlight

Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight
Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight

Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight
Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight

Westminster Station, as seen in Order of the Phoenix
Westminster Station, as seen in Order of the Phoenix

London Eye
London Eye

London Eye
London Eye

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Had about a fifteen minute wait in the queue to get tickets, then a fifteen minute wait to get on. There were some pretty annoying people (a couple of girls and also a bunch of guys that just wanted to pose for each other non stop through the whole ride). The view was decent enough and the clouds parted enough for me to get some ok photos.

Charing Cross station
Charing Cross station

The Thames
The Thames

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

At the top of the London Eye
At the top of the London Eye

Guys taking photos of themselves
Guys taking photos of themselves

Government buildings including 10 Downing Street and Treasury
Government buildings including 10 Downing Street and Treasury

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Tower of Big Ben
Tower of Big Ben

Clock tower and Westminster Abbey
Clock tower and Westminster Abbey

Hopped on a train (when I eventually found the right line at Waterloo station) to London Bridge. And from there went across and up Tower Bridge. You go up in a lift in the north tower, then you walk across to the south tower across the top. There are all these info boards setup to read. Then you can go across the top on the other half as well - this part was only opened a few months ago. Then you take steps most of the way down the south tower (there is a toilet near the top of the south tower you can use - this would be one of the cooler places I've gone to the toilet :) ).  After the bridge tour you can also go see the old steam engine rooms that were in use until 1976. They were pretty cool to look at with lots of useful info.

Waterloo Station
Waterloo Station

Crossing Tower Bridge I had to stop because it was opening!
Crossing Tower Bridge I had to stop because it was opening!

Interior of Tower Bridge
Interior of Tower Bridge

Tower of London
Tower of London

London office buildings
London office buildings

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Looking up the Thames
Looking up the Thames

Inside the top of Tower Bridge
Inside the top of Tower Bridge

Looking down on the road
Looking down on the road

Furnaces
Furnaces

Engine room
Engine room

It was pouring with rain at this point. !? So walked across the bridge and it was already clearing up again.

Tower Bridge, with tide as high as I ever saw it
Tower Bridge, with tide as high as I ever saw it

At this point I didn't know what to do next. Stu would have been interested in the Tower of London. But it was just there. Or I could have gone into Buckingham Palace. Either way I was going to miss out on the Monument because it was getting too late in the day. Even considered doing the Monument and the Belfast. So sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide what to do. In the end I went to Tower of London.

Went in around 3pm and stayed til closing at 5:30. And probably only saw half of it - and a lot of that was rushed :/ The place generally works pretty well in terms of crowd control - everything has an entrance and an exit so you're not battling through people going the other way. However some of the rooms are quite small so it's still a people battle that I find quite stressful. And that was late in the afternoon when the numbers were dwindling - I'd hate to see the place in the morning!! Anyway the main thing I wanted to see were the crown jewels. Which are spec-fricking-tacular :) The Cullinan I diamond in the sceptre is truly a sight to behold. Would loved to have been able to take photos, but alas not. Did a bit more wandering until closing time.

Tower of London
Tower of London

Traitors' Gate from the outside
Traitors' Gate from the outside

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Traitors' Gate from the inside
Traitors' Gate from the inside

State room
State room

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Buildings in the Tower of London
Buildings in the Tower of London

Buildings in the Tower of London
Buildings in the Tower of London

The Crown Jewels are in there!
The Crown Jewels are in there!

Model of the Tower of London
Model of the Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

The Rack!  Part of the torture exhibition
The Rack! Part of the torture exhibition

Canons
Canons

Tower of London
Tower of London

Obligatory me in front of Tower Bridge shot
Obligatory me in front of Tower Bridge shot

Last stop of the day was The Leaky Cauldron!!! This was the first one in Leadenhall Markets. Extremelly squee :):):)

The Leaky Cauldron!
The Leaky Cauldron!

Harry and Hagrid walk here in the Philosopher's Stone
Harry and Hagrid walk here in the Philosopher's Stone

And then back to the hotel to collapse.

Last night of guaranteed internet for who knows how long.  So I've been trying to do things that require internet.  And not succeeding very well and doing any of it :/

Geotagging - Day 13
Geotagging - Day 13


Photos on the Canon: 443
Photos on the Sony: 40
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the iPhone: 2
Steps walked: 16056
Pounds Spent: 148.57
Woke up very early this morning. Like maybe 4am or something. That'll learn us to go to bed at 9pm. Lay there for ages and finally got up at 6am to use the puta.

Breakfast the same as last two days. Out the door a bit after 9am.

Checked out a local laundromat on the way to the station which should work for us later in the week.

Bicycles for hire in Earl's Court
Bicycles for hire in Earl's Court. They had these all over the place. We might have
used them except the process seemed overly complicated so thought it was all too hard.


So headed into town.

Our first stop (after passing Piccadilly, Mayfair and Vine St) was the Apple Store on Regent St.  Unfortunately they don't do iPhone unlocking.  So I am royally screwed :( $20000/gb because Optus and/or Apple couldn't get their act together.  Bastards.  Epic hate. So switched off data and will only use data in emergencies. 

Toilet at Mayfair
Toilet at Mayfair. Yes even the toilets are fancy in this part of town!

Ritz Hotel
Ritz Hotel

Burlington House
Burlington House

Old building on Great Marlborough St
Old building on Great Marlborough St

Apple Store on Regent St
Apple Store on Regent St

Continued up Regent St and along Oxford St, past Park Lane to Hyde Park.  Had a bit of a meander through the park and took lots of photos of gooses and stuff.  

Clock on Selfridges
Clock on Selfridges

Marble Arch, Hyde Park
Marble Arch, Hyde Park

Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park
Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park

Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park
Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park

Hyde Park deckchairs
Hyde Park deckchairs

Hyde Park deckchairs can be hired - £1.50 an hour!
Hyde Park deckchairs can be hired - £1.50 an hour!

Reformer's Tree mosaic
Reformer's Tree mosaic

Geese on the march!
Geese on the march!

Heron
Heron

Flowers
Flowers

Monkey Puzzle Tree
Monkey Puzzle Tree

Flowers
Flowers

Gum tree outside a toilet block
Gum tree outside a toilet block

Queen Elizabeth Gate, aka The Queen Mother Gates
Queen Elizabeth Gate, aka The Queen Mother Gates

Grand Entrance gates
Grand Entrance gates

Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch

Then hopped on a train to Temple.

Got out and wandered up to the Temple Church, but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance.  Was very cool walking amongst the buildings around the church - little passageways between and through the buildings - very cool!

Entrance to Pump Court
Entrance to Pump Court

Cloisters
Cloisters

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Column dedicated to the Knights Templar
Column dedicated to the Knights Templar

Column dedicated to the Knights Templar
Column dedicated to the Knights Templar

Walking up Inner Temple Lane
Walking up Inner Temple Lane

Came out onto Fleet St and saw the Royal Courts of Justice, which I'd never seen before.  It was a pretty spectacular building too.  Walked down and back past that.

My attempt to get a red double decker bus, a black taxi, a pillar box and a phone box all in one shot.  Sorta worked.
My attempt to get a red double decker bus, a black taxi, a pillar box and a
phone box all in one shot. Sorta worked.


Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Courts of Justice

Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Courts of Justice

Continued up Fleet St.  Stopped for lunch and a pint at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which is a funky little pub rebuilt 1667 (after the great fire of London).  It had a whole series of little rooms and bars, which would make it a bit of a fun place to explore.  We found a room with a free table and I had bangers and mash (which had to be done being in England and all :) ).  Also had a couple of Samuel Smith beers - I had an alpine lager and Stu had a brewers bitter.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Continued on.  Had a quick detour up past the Old Bailey (which has been restored nicely after being blown up in V for Vendetta ;) ) and continued on to St Paul's Cathedral.  It was raining at this point which made photography somewhat tricky.  Went into the entrance of the cathedral.  It's £12.50 to go in but of course there is no photography permitted. Stu has been in this one before, so if we're going to shell out that much money with no photos to show for it, we might do Westminster Abbey.

The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey

The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Queen Anne statue outside St Paul's
Queen Anne statue outside St Paul's

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Then we walked across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern, to see an exhibition - "Exposed - Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera".  Some of it was pretty interesting.  Some of it was a bit meh.  My favourite thing was a serious of webcam grabs of Linz in Austria.  A dude had gone down the plaza in front of the webcam at the same time each day and taken a grab of the webcam at the time.  There were a series of short comments as well.  For some reason I really liked this display :)  By the time we'd finished looking at this it was nearly 6pm, so we walked back across the bridge, up to Mansion House station and back to the hotel (via Burger King for a snack dinner).

Heading down to the Millennium Bridge
Heading down to the Millennium Bridge

Seagull on the Millennium Bridge
Seagull on the Millennium Bridge

Looking down the Thames
Looking down the Thames

Crossing the Millennium Bridge
Crossing the Millennium Bridge

Jurgita & Peter Forever.  Says so on the label.
Jurgita & Peter Forever. Says so on the label.

St Paul's from the Millennium Bridge
St Paul's from the Millennium Bridge

South end of the Millennium Bridge
South end of the Millennium Bridge

St Paul's and the Millennium Bridge
St Paul's and the Millennium Bridge

Interior of Tate Modern
Interior of Tate Modern

Millennium Bridge
Millennium Bridge

Looking up the brick tower of Tate Modern
Looking up the brick tower of Tate Modern

Geotagging - Day 10
Geotagging - Day 10


Photos on the Canon: 297
Photos on the Sony: 163
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Blackberry: 3
Photos on the Video: 13
Videos on the Video: 22
Steps walked: 16133
Pounds Spent: 58.31

We went to bed quite early last night (like 8pm or something). Slept quite well until 2:39am when the hotel fire alarm went off #grunt. Had almost finished getting dressed when it stopped. Then it started again. And stopped/started/stopped again :/ Went out and some people had gone down to find out what was up. Yup false alarm. Was worried that I wouldn't get back to sleep but think I must have eventually. Woke up a little while later maybe around 4am but couldn't get back to sleep so got up early and did computery stuff.

Around 8 we went down for breakfast. It was actually pretty good with a decent selection of cooked and other food.

The Tardis!! At Earl's Court
The Tardis!! At Earl's Court

Then we headed out for the day. I thought that it might be good to do a bit of a walk around the place to get a feel for the place, and we could plan the rest of the days at night. So started by getting off at St James Park (Victoria station was closed due to a security alert). This was around 9:30-10am.

So the day turned out to be a nine-hour long walk with pitstops :) We didn't go into anything, this was just a walk by with photos.

Started with New Scotland Yard, then Westminster Abbey (huge), Houses of Parliament (I was squeeing lots at being in London at this point), across the Lambeth Bridge, then meandered slowly north then east along the southbank walkway seeing lots of bridges and buildings and stuff. Ended up crossing Tower Bridge around 4pm. Was a super awesome day of seeing stuff and finally getting to see stuff I'd only ever seen in pictures/tv/movies.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Clock face of Big Ben
Clock face of Big Ben

Westminster Abbey
Back of Westminster Abbey

I think this lion on the Houses of Parliament is poking its tongue out at me!
I think this lion on the Houses of Parliament is poking its tongue out at me!

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Buxton Memorial
Buxton Memorial

Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge

Looking down the Thames
Looking down the Thames

Bus on the Lambeth Bridge
Bus on the Lambeth Bridge. This is where the Knight Bus passed between two regular buses in Prisoner of Azkaban

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Photo by Stu


South Bank of the Thames
South Bank of the Thames

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Me in London!!
Me in London!!

The Southbank Lion, and the London Eye
The Southbank Lion, and the London Eye

Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament
Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament

London Eye
London Eye

Queues for the London Eye
Queues for the London Eye

Hungerford Bridge
Hungerford Bridge

Blue Morris Dancers
Blue Morris Dancers

Underground Skate Park
Underground Skate Park

St Paul's
St Paul's

London CBD across the Thames
London CBD across the Thames

St Paul's
St Paul's

Millennium Bridge and St Paul's
Millennium Bridge and St Paul's

Tate Modern
Tate Modern

Shakespeare's Globe (it's only a model! shh!)
Shakespeare's Globe (it's only a model! shh!)

Southwark Bridge
Southwark Bridge

Borough Markets
Borough Markets

Location of the Leaky Cauldron in Prisoner of Azkaban.  It's now a florist.
Location of the Leaky Cauldron in Prisoner of Azkaban. It's now a florist.

Winchester Palace - the remains of
Winchester Palace - the remains of

The Golden Hinde
The Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde
The Golden Hinde

London Bridge
London Bridge (boring!)

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

City Hall
City Hall

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Tower of London
Tower of London

Decided to get some food at this point, so stopped at a fancy(ish) Italian place at St Katherine Dock.

Didn't think we had much energy left so decided to see Fenchurch St station and then Liverpool St station. Found those so decided to head for home. But home had the option of going via Kings Cross so that's what we did. First I found Euston Road but went the wrong direction to find Pentonville Road so had to go back, after photographing the outside of St Pancras station (trees have grown a bit since Chamber of Secrets was filmed). Then of course was the mission to find platform 9 3/4. They're making a real mess of the station at the moment, and sadly the little bridge where Hagrid gives Harry his ticket has been pulled down (at the end of 2008). I didn't even try to find the waiting room from Order of the Phoenix.  But back to 9 3/4. Well it seems they filmed this between platforms 6 and 7. Or maybe it was between 2 and 3. Not quite sure now, will need to go back to check. Anyways. The trolley they have set into the wall is actually just past the bike racks 2/3 the way along platform 8.

Old London red bus
Old London red bus

St Pancras Station - recognise this from Chamber of Secrets?
St Pancras Station - recognise this from Chamber of Secrets?

King's Cross station
King's Cross station

All that's left of the bridge across the platforms where Hagrid gave Harry his ticket for the Hogwarts Express
All that's left of the bridge across the platforms where Hagrid gave Harry his ticket for the Hogwarts Express

Platform 9 3/4!!  This has been moved as of 2012 apparently
Platform 9 3/4!! This has been moved as of 2012 apparently

The brickwork between platforms 4 and 5 where they filmed the entrance to Platform 9 3/4
The brickwork between platforms 4 and 5 where they filmed the entrance to Platform 9 3/4

Finally got out of there, and went via the supermarket to get a snack so we won't need dinner.


Geotagging - Day 8
Geotagging - Day 8

Photos on the Canon: 578
Photos on the Sony: 30
Photos on the Olympus: 65
Photos on the Blackberry: 11
Photos on the Video: 11
Videos on the Video: 22
Steps walked: 21557
Pounds Spent: 55.65
Woke a bit before 8am. Only remember waking up once in the middle of the night so think I slept fairly well.

Got ready and went down for breakfast. This hotel does awesome breakfasts. They even had takoyaki!! Win!! (that's octopus balls for the uninitiated - an Osaka specialty.  Stu first introduced them to me the day I stayed home sick in this hotel last time.  And burnt my mouth on them last night when the locals brought us some to share with them heh).

Takoyaki for breakfast!
Takoyaki for breakfast! 

Small carparks, Japan style
Small carparks, Japan style, near Shin-Osaka station 

Came back upstairs to have a look at the Kyoto map I had done last time. Decided we'd head for the monkeys first and Kiyomizu-dera temple near Gion. And the tower.

So we caught the 10:13 hikari to Kyoto. Just about melted into a puddle waiting though. Have I mentioned how bad the heat is here? The train trip is so short (~15min) that I hadn't finished cooling off before we arrived.

Interior of Kyoto Station
Interior of Kyoto Station 

Astroboy!
Astroboy! 

Kimba!
Kimba! 

Decided we'd go up the tower first. It was actually pretty cool, and it was a lovely clear day for it. Could see all the way to Osaka in the distance. There were too many bits of the tower in the way to do a decent panorama - at least on the top level - the lower level was better - and no people in the way there either heh. Nowhere really to sit though (I've mentioned before the lack of seatage is one major gripe I have with this country).

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

View north-west from Kyoto Tower
View north-west from Kyoto Tower 

View west from Kyoto Tower
View west from Kyoto Tower 

View towards Osaka from Kyoto Tower
View towards Osaka from Kyoto Tower - you can see Osaka in the distance! 

Taxis outside Kyoto Station
Taxis outside Kyoto Station 

Kyoto Station
Kyoto Station 

So headed back down and back across to the station to find a map (I like having them on paper, and I'd stoopidly left the one I got last year at home. Went to the tourist information office (which had moved) and got some maps and the exact location of the Iwatayama monkey park.

Waited about fifteen minutes for a train, which thankfully was air conditioned.

Old steam train near Arashiyama station
Old steam train near Arashiyama station 

Wandered slowly down from the station to Togetsukyo Bridge. Then across it and wandered east along the Oi River. That was actually relatively pleasant as it was shady and there was a bit of a breeze.

Ōi River at Arashiyama
Ōi River at Arashiyama 

Togetsukyō Bridge
Togetsukyō Bridge 

Walk along the river at the base of Iwatayama
Walk along the river at the base of Iwatayama 

Canoeing on the river
Canoeing on the river 

Ōi River
Ōi River 

Canoes by the river
Canoes by the river 

Spent a little while there and had to decide whether or not to climb up to see the monkeys. Because, you know, EPIC HEAT!! In the end we decided we would make the climb. And it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was all in the shade in the forest, and definitely cooler than outside the forest. And when you get to the top they direct you to a "rest room" where they hand out refresher towels! Very cool :)

Walking up Iwatayama
Walking up Iwatayama 

So anyway, inside the building you can buy nuts to feed the monkeys and they sit around the outside with their arms stretched in through the fencing expecting a handout. Some of them took the nuts very gently, others a bit rougher heh.

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

After we cooled down a bit we went outside to look at the view. They also did a feeding and all the monkeys came from all over to feed.

Cooling off in the pool
Cooling off in the pool 

Looking across to Kyoto
Looking across to Kyoto 

Looking across to Kyoto
Looking across to Kyoto 

Baby monkey
Baby monkey 

Feeding time!
Feeding time! 

Feeding time!
Feeding time! 

Was a very cool place, glad we decided to go. Nat would definitely have gone nuts with photos there hehe :)

So headed back down. It was nearly 3pm by this point and we'd pretty much had enough. So found an airconditioned restaurant on the main road and had some nice food and a couple of very big Sapporo beers (633mL- yipe!).

We decided we didn't have the energy to go to Kiyomizu-dera so just did a bit of a wander up to the bamboo grove. It was very still air though which was a bit unpleasant. I was feeling utterly miserable by this point. I really don't like heat :(

Sagano bamboo forest
Sagano bamboo forest 

Train at a level crossing in the middle of the bamboo grove
Train at a level crossing in the middle of the bamboo grove 

So we hopped in a train back into Kyoto and a hikari back to Osaka and into a cold shower.

Three drivers?
It amused us that there were not one, not two, but three JR staff in the Kyoto trains 

Had some snacks for dinner. Then was quite distressed to find that Stu's laptop has an iec cable which we don't have a dongle for. So only a couple of hours of battery left on it, which is most annoying since I wanted to do some photo stuff on it.

Early night tonight!

Oh, I also fixed the comments on this blog.. so please leave a comment if you're reading :)


Geotagging - Day 2
Geotagging - Day 2 

Geotagging - Day 2
Geotagging - Day 2

Photos on the Canon: 323
Photos on the Sony: 115
Videos on the Sony: 2
Photos on the Olympus: 5
Photos on the Video: 1
Videos on the Video: 44
Steps walked: 16610
Yen Spent: 7400