Results tagged “Food” from UK and Japan 2010

These last entries are always pretty epic, because of the times and distances involved.  A little over 48 hours ago I was on the other side of the planet!

So woke up in the hotel in London at 6am and got ready.  Tried to get a takeaway breakfast at Maccas but there were like six people in front of me and only one dude serving, so gave up on that idea and just hopped on a train to the airport.  Still have like £10 left on our Oyster cards - doh!

It was pretty foggy, and when we arrived at the airport they had to try and fit us onto an earlier flight, as our scheduled flight was delayed, and we'd miss our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Narita.  So they sorted that, but we both had middle seats :(  Turns out the earlier flight they put us on was also delayed, so it left only just before our other one was meant to.  


Yay going home!
Yay going home!

Got to see a little of London from the middle seat, and stuck random camera out to get a few photos. Didn't see much else after landfall in France, as the continent was clouded over.


City of London from the plane
City of London from the plane

Passing through Frankfurt was pretty painless.  Had to do the long walk between the terminals in reverse to what we did on the way in the first time.


Air traffic control tower at Frankfurt airport
Air traffic control tower at Frankfurt airport

Same seat in the A380, so facing south this time instead of north.  If I travel again on an A380 will see if can get an upper deck seat and see if they're any closer to the windows than the lower deck.


Our A380 - the first one Lufthansa purchased
Our A380 - the first one Lufthansa purchased

I watched a few movies.  Firstly The Spy Next Door, which was a kids movie so a little silly, but had Jackie Chan in it so was kinda fun.  Then Young Victoria which I really enjoyed.  This was filmed around Blenheim Palace which we might have gone and seen on our Oxford day except that we didn't have the time.  Then Prince of Persia, which was utterly ridiculuous (but it was a Bruckheimer film, so you go in with an expectation that it will be thus) but still quite fun.  I also started to watch The Karate Kid, but it made me grunty because they'd cut heaps and heaps out of it - shortening scenes all over the place.  So skipped through to the bit they filmed in the mountains and just watched the second half of it.


Clouds over Europe
Clouds over Europe

A380 wingtip in the sunset
A380 wingtip in the sunset

So arrived in Narita about 11:30pm London time.  It was 7:30am in Narita (Friday 1st), and our next flight wasn't til 8:30.  PM.  So a stoopid thirteen hour layover.  So caught the yellow inter terminal bus around to T2 to see about checking in but nothing was open for Qantas, so we dumped our bags in some lockers (conveniently located right there in the check in terminal) and hopped on a train into Narita.  Took the Keisei line cause we found the machines for that line first.  It having been nineteen hours since our last shower we both felt a little disgusting.  Stopped in maccas first for some breakfast, then got the zombie that was the sweetie moving.  Headed slowly up to the temples/shrines in Narita.  Found a nice spot under a bit of wisteria to just sit for a while, but I couldn't sit still because of restless legs, so paced until my feet hurt from standing.  Stu was having a lie down (there was actually *seating* all around this park, which is unusual for Japan!) but eventually we kept walking slowly.  I was starting to fade at this point too.  Got down to the lake and looked at the fishies and tortoises.  Then kept wandering, even more slowly now.  We were hot again too which didn't help.  


Narita!
Narita!

Cleaner robots at Narita airport
Cleaner robots at Narita airport

Welcome to Narita sign
Welcome to Narita sign

Stone animals in Narita
Stone animals in Narita

Walking down to the temples in Narita
Walking down to the temples in Narita

Walking down to the temples in Narita
Walking down to the temples in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Tortoises!
Tortoises!

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Incense burning
Incense burning

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Gardens in Narita
Gardens in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

The wisteria we rested under
The wisteria we rested under

Gardens in Narita
Gardens in Narita

Gardens in Narita
Gardens in Narita

Gardens in Narita
Gardens in Narita

Gardens in Narita
Gardens in Narita

Tortoise
Tortoise

Koi feeding frenzy
Koi feeding frenzy

Gardens in Narita
Gardens in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

Temple area in Narita
Temple area in Narita

So hopped on another train back to the airport and arrived around 2:15pm.

Except the Qantas terminal (we asked) didn't open til 5pm.  Doh!

So went downstairs and used a shower room each.  Best inventions ever those things, and only 500 yen for half an hour.  Felt a lot more human after that.  Then proceeded to find somewhere to have a beer.  Was quite taken by a place called "Beer and Takoyaki" so headed for that.  Nom! :)  But pretty expensive of course.  Wandered round some more and found somewhere to sit looking at the planes and dozed on the chairs (very uncomfortable tho!)


Beer and Takoyaki!
Beer and Takoyaki!

5pm came round and we went down to check in (and there was a massive queue! What the??)  Presumably lots of other people like us in similar layover situations.  So checked in and went through security and into the Qantas Club.  Found some computers with interwebs and had some snacks and some Moet and Chandon while looking at the planes and using the internet.  Was the best I'd felt all day heh.  We were right next to our departure gate, so could see our plane being brought in and made ready for our flight.


Our plane, seen from the Qantas lounge
Our plane, seen from the Qantas lounge

Dozed on the plane before take off and could barely keep my eyes open to watch the take off.  Forced myself to eat dinner even though I didn't really feel like it.  Then brushed my teeth and attempted to sleep.  Was only moderately successful.  Probably got a couple of hours sleep.  Got to see the moon around the equator, which looked like a big smiling mouth, and horizontal to the horizon too.  And Orion was there too on his side.  As the night progressed the moon returned to its correct orientation (the moon in the northern hemisphere is upside down - a little freaky!).  Got a little bit more sleep but not much.  Breakfast was around 4:30am Narita time, and landed around 6:30 (7:30 Sydney time, Saturday 2nd).  Got the best view of my house I'd ever seen from a plane coming into Sydney airport (in from the north, then out over the National Park and round to the left to land from the south on 34L).  


Sunrise over Australia
Sunrise over Australia

Middle Harbour, Sydney
Middle Harbour, Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney CBD
Sydney CBD

Pyrmont
Pyrmont

Rockdale shops on West Botany Street
Rockdale shops on West Botany Street

Look mum I can see my house from here!
Look mum I can see my house from here!

Caringbah
Caringbah

Immigration and customs were really painful.  The ePassport system wasn't working at all and the other queues were going really slowly.  I of course got the slowest lane in the room and ended up switching when the room was just about empty.  Lame.  Customs was also pretty painful - really long queues and seemingly not very organised (people wandering about all over the place trying to figure out where to be :/ ).  

Finally escaped for a short break in the Qantas Club for a drink and an apple, then onto our Dash 8 (a teeny 300 series one - only 12 rows!).  Surprisingly we took off on 34L as well, rather than the third runway.


Canal, Mascot
Canal, Mascot

Sydney
Sydney

Arrival in Canberra ten minutes late, and then a lift home.


Kevin Rudd at the airport
Kevin Rudd at the airport

Souvenirs and gifts picked up along the way
Souvenirs and gifts picked up along the way

Geotagging - Day 34
Geotagging - Day 34


Geotagging - Day 34
Geotagging - Day 34

Photos on the Canon: 237
Photos on the Sony: 343
Videos on the Sony: 2
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Steps walked: 4268 + 14373
Pounds Spent: ?
Took a whole 68 photos today, 55 of them on Random Camera.

Maccas for breakfast, rinse and repeat.


Stu and the Tardis at Earl's Court Station
Stu and the Tardis at Earl's Court Station

Then tubed it out to Camden Town to have a look at the markets.  Didn't actually make it as far as the stables markets, just as far as the lock.


Camden Market
Camden Market

Plane on the side of a building
Plane on the side of a building

Camden Market
Camden Market

Vespa seats
Vespa seats

Stu and the Camden Lion
Stu and the Camden Lion

Camden Lock
Camden Lock

Camden Lock
Camden Lock

Camden Lock
Camden Lock

Camden Lock
Camden Lock

Camden Lock
Camden Lock

Camden
Camden

Camden
Camden

White chocolate and dark chocolate fountains
White chocolate and dark chocolate fountains

Mind the Gap
Mind the Gap

Then wandered back to Leicester Square for lunch.  Went to this Mexican place Stu thought looked interesting the last time (actually the first time, this was our third time to Leicester Square) we were there.  So we sat down outside but noone came.  Started at the windows hoping someone would pay attention to us.  Finally the woman on the door came out and said oh we're not serving outside today.  Fail.  You could have told us that before instead of letting us sit there.  Had some margaritas and some nice nachos, but my caesar salad was probably the worst caesar salad I've ever had - just a bunch of lettuce and a few croutons with a bit of sauce.  There were a couple of token bits of parmesan cheese but no bacon.  Fail fail fail.

So I was grumpy and a bit stressed, because my next destination I was going to by myself and didn't know exactly where it was.

The next destination being the Adelphi theatre for a production of "Love Never Dies" - a sequel to Phantom of the Opera.  It had mixed reviews and I didn't know any of the songs, so I was trying to not to expect too much of it.  In the end I really enjoyed it, even though when I recounted the story to Stu it actually sounded really lame (and I suppose it was).  An encore performance with the whole ensemble at the end would have been nice, as the ending was quite sad and quiet.

Then back to the hotel at peak hour.  In the rain.  Have I ever mentioned how much it rains here?

After resting for a bit, we went back to No 10 Chinese again for dinner (spicy chicken this time, which wasn't too spicy unless you had the dried chilies.

And then repacked our suitcases and tried to mentally prepare for the next 48 hours...


Geotagging - Day 33
Geotagging - Day 33

Photos on the Canon: 13
Photos on the Sony: 55
Photos on the iPhone: 6
Photos on the Blackberry: 5
Steps walked: 8053
Pounds Spent: ?
So yeah last night my world fell apart because I looked to find out what time Legoland opened, and found that it doesn't open at all on Tuesdays and Wednesdays :(
Actually a single sad face doesn't even begin to cover my devastation :(

So we slept in late.

Maccas for breakfast - but only just - got there at 10:40 and had the last of their hash browns and two of the last four sausage and egg McMuffins.

Then trained it into Leicester Square.  Stu went and got a haircut and I went to get photos of a couple of Monopoly streets I somehow missed last time.


Kate Winslet's handprints at Leicester Square
Kate Winslet's handprints at Leicester Square

Stu outside the barber shop he got his hair cut at
Stu outside the barber shop he got his hair cut at
Then we went to a couple of book stores - Orbital and Forbidden Planet - the latter being more interesting (for me) and bigger, but Stu bought a couple of books from the former.  


Jareth and Hoggle
Jareth and Hoggle
Carried on walking.  Arrived at Temple Church just before 2pm, which is when it was opening for the day, then had a look around inside.


Telephone boxes
Telephone boxes

Australia House - Gringotts!
Australia House - Gringotts!

Foyer of Australia House
Foyer of Australia House

Bus on Fleet Street
Bus on Fleet Street

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Temple Church
Temple Church

Angry looking pegasus
Angry looking pegasus

Temple Church in stained glass
Temple Church in stained glass
Up to St Pauls to get a few more photos of the exterior (because it was raining last time which made it quite difficult to get photos).  


St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

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

Queen Anne statue outside St Paul's Cathedral
Queen Anne statue outside St Paul's Cathedral
Then headed for St Mary-Le-Bow church, to find the vegetarian cafe (Cafe Below) which Stu had read about in his Secret London book.  Had a bit of lunch there (it was about 3:30pm by now).


Royal Exchange, Bank
Royal Exchange, Bank
Then Stu found a Starbucks to have a coffee in while I went and climbed the 311 steps of the Monument.  Kicking myself I didn't get the chance to go up it when it cost me £1, so I had to pay an additional £3 today - doh!  Was a crap day for a view, but did get to see Tower Bridge open up for a cruise liner to go through it.


Monument
Monument

Looking up the stairs of Monument
Looking up the stairs of Monument

London from Monument
London from Monument

Tower Bridge from Monument
Tower Bridge from Monument

The Shard under construction
The Shard under construction

London Eye and Tate Modern
London Eye and Tate Modern

Golden Hinde and Pickfords Wharf
Golden Hinde and Pickfords Wharf

Strata SE1 (aka Isengard)
Strata SE1 (aka Isengard)

Tower Bride opening
Tower Bride opening

Alexander von Humbolt going through Tower Bridge
Alexander von Humbolt going through Tower Bridge

The Gherkin
The Gherkin

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Gold top of Monument
Gold top of Monument

Top of Monument
Top of Monument
Finally headed up past Liverpool St station to meet Campbell for dinner in a restaurant called Ping Pong hehee.  Was a pretty good yum cha sort of a meal, and it was super awesome to catch up with Campbell.


The Gherkin
The Gherkin
Then headed back to the hotel to try and sort out our finances (we seem to have gone over our travel card limit by £13 so not sure what's going to happen there) and sort out paperwork.


Geotagging - Day 32
Geotagging - Day 32

Photos on the Canon: 194
Photos on the Sony: 103
Photos on the iPhone: 27
Photos on the Olympus: 3
Photos on the Blackberry: 9
Photos on the Video: 9
Videos on the Video: 9
Steps walked: 16521
Pounds Spent: ?
Had another crappy nights sleep.  Was too hot (even with aircon on full) and stressing over my dumb body and then the building started humming.. loud enough for at least one other person on the floor to complain about it.  No idea what it was.

So got up fairly late.

Had breakfast at the local Scottish Restaurant (for £5 for the two of us instead of £30 the hotel would have charged).

Then hopped on a tube train then a regular train out to Charlton to walk up to the Thames Flood Barrier (past a half marathon in progress which closed off the road we walked up).  The flood barrier stuff was pretty cool.  Interesting to see how they built it and how it works.  Had a toasted sandwich in the cafe there for lunch.


Security cameras at Charing Cross station
Security cameras at Charing Cross station

Rows of houses outside Waterloo station
Rows of houses outside Waterloo station

Marathon runners on Woolwich Road, Charlton
Marathon runners on Woolwich Road, Charlton

Thames Flood Barrier 
Thames Flood Barrier 

Thames Flood Barrier 
Thames Flood Barrier 

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Model of the flood control system
Model of the flood control system

Stu ponders the denting caused by stress-testing the scale model
Stu ponders the denting caused by stress-testing the scale model

Scale model of the flood control system used for testing the design
Scale model of the flood control system used for testing the design

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Thames Flood Barrier
Thames Flood Barrier

Instead of walking back to the station and training it two stops, we decided to walk for a while back along the Thames.  You can actually walk all the way along it, but we cut across the Greenwich peninsula (and cut across the end of the half marathon, and even saw the exact same girl wearing an Elmo on her back that we saw the first time two hours ago!).  


Thames Path National Trail tunnel
Thames Path National Trail tunnel

This wall showed the length and height of the Thames as it comes down from its headwaters
This wall showed the length and height of the Thames as it comes down from its headwaters

Thames heights near Runnymede
Thames heights near Runnymede

Looking towards London and the North Greenwich Arena
Looking towards London and the North Greenwich Arena

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

Elmo girl!
Elmo girl!

Buzz Lightyear was also running
Buzz Lightyear was also running

So headed into the park at Greenwich and up to the observatory.  Joined the hordes trying to get their photo taken on the prime meridian.  Also had a look at the old telescope buildings.  And got filled with rage at people taking photos of the telescopes when it says all over the place that photography is forbidden :(:(  Epic grunt.  Should have taken some myself :/  The GPS doesn't actually line up with this, as the meridian for GPS is actually about 102m east of the prime meridian.  Go figure.  Headed back to the station and found another marked location of the prime meridian, with (hurrah) no tourists! Win! :)


Sundial in Greenwich Park
Sundial in Greenwich Park

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum

North Greenwich Arena
North Greenwich Arena

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Shepherd 24-hour Gate Clock and Public Standards of Length
Shepherd 24-hour Gate Clock and Public Standards of Length

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Stu on the Prime Meridian
Stu on the Prime Meridian

Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian

Greenwich Observatory
Greenwich Observatory

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens
Prime Meridian on Park Vista just north of the gardens

Trained it back to the hotel.  Got our washing together and went and put it on, and had Thai for dinner next door.  Two mains, two desserts and a bottle of wine, and suddenly we have a $100AUD bill :(  This country is so expensive it's more than just a little ridiculous.  Put on the drying and had a McFlurry then back to the hotel to research tomorrow..

Oh I forgot to mention.. I got THE BEST value for money deal possible in this country tonight - sixteen 500mg paracetamol caplets for 16p!!  Yes, that's 1 pence per tablet!!  At that rate I considered buying a whole bunch to stock us up for the next few years .. altho customs might have had something to say about that!!


Geotagging - Day 30
Geotagging - Day 30

Photos on the Canon: 163
Photos on the Sony: 24
Photos on the iPhone: 6
Photos on the Olympus: 9
Photos on the Blackberry: 6
Photos on the Video: 21
Videos on the Video: 11
Steps walked: 18641
Pounds Spent: ?
Got up fairly early and the SUN was SHINING!! In our windows and bright blue sky and everything.  So gently encouraged the sweetie to get up so we could go see white cliffs in the SUN!


Sunrise over the English Channel
Sunrise over the English Channel

Headed off around 8:20 and went up to St Margarets Bay.  On the way the clouds started rolling in from the west.  I did the only appropriate thing - burst into tears.  Because I was so completely sick of cloudy and rainy weather.  But the clouds passed a little way north of us, and when we got there it was still a bit sunny on the cliffs.  The view wasn't hugely great - you really need to get out on a boat for the best views.  But hopefully got some ok photos.


Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Entrance to the tunnels at Dover Castle
Entrance to the tunnels at Dover Castle

Buildings under the White Cliffs in Dover
Buildings under the White Cliffs in Dover

White Cliffs of Dover
White Cliffs of Dover

These clouds made me cry
These clouds made me cry

Channel ferry
Channel ferry

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay
White Cliffs of Dover at St Margaret's Bay

Second stop was at Samphire Hoe, which is an area of reclaimed land they created by using the diggings from the Channel Tunnel.  The view wasn't great there either - all the cliffs were covered with plants around there.


Heading down to the tunnel to the Chunnel landfill
Heading down to the tunnel to the Chunnel landfill

Going through the tunnel
Going through the tunnel

White Cliffs of Dover from the Chunnel landfill
White Cliffs of Dover from the Chunnel landfill

Chunnel landfill
Chunnel landfill

Dog Poop bin!
Dog Poop bin!

Heading back out
Heading back out

Reminding Europeans to drive on the left
Reminding Europeans to drive on the left

So then we drove on to London, hoping we'd see a roadside Maccas where we could have breakfast.  Except we didn't find any.  We found a Burger King but bypassed that in hopes of a Maccas.  So suddenly we were in London and we hadn't had breakfast :(  Note to self: don't try to attack driving through crazy busy big city streets on no breakfast.  It makes for unhappy campers :(  Stoopid traffic jams too which added to the stress levels.  We'd allowed heaps of time to return the car, but in the end only *just* made it back in time :/  


Naughty person on board!
Naughty person on board!

Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station

So jumped on a train (15 min wait) to Earl's Court to stay at the *other* Earl's Court Best Western - on the north side this time.  The room wasn't ready so left all the bags with the sweetie and headed into town to see Buckingham Palace.  

It was about a half hour queue to get tickets, then the entry was 45 minutes after that, so wandered around Green Park for a while.  They've also resurfaced the road in front of the palace in the past two weeks.  This spot I've been to three times in three weeks, which is all a little odd.  So went back at 2:45 and accidently ended up in the 2:30 queue .. oops.. didn't mean to.. oh well .. 


Gates open at Buckingham Palace
Gates open at Buckingham Palace

Canadian War Memorial in Green Park
Canadian War Memorial in Green Park

Queen Victoria statue from Green Park
Queen Victoria statue from Green Park

The palace state rooms tour was actually pretty good.  Of course you can't take photos :(  But the audio guide was pretty decent.  Lots of very beautiful rooms and only one thing that was too crowded (too much commentary for such a small space).  Quite enjoyed it overall.  Took around an hour and a half to do the whole thing.  Then headed back to the hotel.  


Rear of Buckingham Palace
Rear of Buckingham Palace

Rear of Buckingham Palace
Rear of Buckingham Palace

Pond in Buckingham Palace grounds
Pond in Buckingham Palace grounds

Security at the back of Buckingham Palace
Security at the back of Buckingham Palace

Went for a wander and had a pint at the Kings Head (one of about a billion Kings Head pubs in England - either that or Red Lions) and then across the road to a French restaurant for a very yummy three course meal for £9.95 each.  


Geotagging - Day 29
Geotagging - Day 29

Photos on the Canon: 142
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Video: 1
Videos on the Video: 7
Steps walked: 10086
Pounds Spent: ?
Fairly standard night and breakfast.  Still think it's probably the best hotel we've had so far this trip.  

I went for a walk down to the beach while Stu was getting ready.  Not a terribly nice beach, and separated every twenty metres or so with walls to stop erosion.  Walked west to get a better look at the circus tent looking thing.  Didn't find out what it was until I looked it up just then - it's a Butlins Holiday Park.


Beach at Bognor Regis
Beach at Bognor Regis

Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis
Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis

Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis
Bathing Boxes at Bognor Regis

So we headed off.  First stop was Brighton to have a look at the pier and the Royal Pavilion.  Was quite surprised that Brighton actually has no sand beach at all - it's all small rocks!!  Bizarre.  Found the place very noisy (from traffic) and not very pedestrian friendly.  Was quite happy to get out of there before our first hour of parking was used up.


Grand Hotel, Brighton
Grand Hotel, Brighton

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

West Pier at Brighton, finally destroyed by fire in 2003
West Pier at Brighton, finally destroyed by fire in 2003

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Brighton Clock Tower
Brighton Clock Tower

Next headed for a view of the Seven Sisters at Beachy Head.  As we pulled up there was sun on the cliffs.  So jumped out with just my camera and headed off down the path to get a better view.  Well of course, that was my first problem.  Five or ten minutes later, just before I got to the cliff, it decided to start raining.  Rather a lot.  So I ran for the cover of a tree (which was actually quite successful I have to admit - an Australian native would offer no such protection from rain).  Waited waited waited.  Finally it stopped so went down a bit closer to take some photos.  As I was heading back, the sun started to come out on the cliffs.  But this was of course after I'd left the best position to document them.  It was just fail on so many levels.


Seven Sisters at Beachy Head
Seven Sisters at Beachy Head

Seven Sisters at Beachy Head
Seven Sisters at Beachy Head

Decided to skip another view of the cliffs and a drive through Eastbourne in favour of getting to Dover at a reasonable hour.  Actually went past the Long Man of Wilmington which I'd not listed in the day's activities thinking we'd be going around the coast.


Long Man of Wilmington
Long Man of Wilmington

Drove drove drove.  Stopped at a Scottish Restaurant for lunch.  


Getting stuck behind flocks of sheep is a minor hazard travelling in England
Getting stuck behind flocks of sheep is a minor hazard travelling in England

Saw France on the way into Dover :)

And finally made it to Dover Castle just after 4pm.  The place closes at 6pm.  And it was raining.  Have I mentioned how much it rains here?  Decided to go in anyway.  £13.90 each.  We definitely should have gotten English Heritage membership :/ They asked us if we wanted to go on the 5pm secret war tunnels tour and we said yes.  But that was way at the bottom of the castle, and the tower etc were way up the top.  Which meant we had a grand total of half an hour to explore the castle :(:(:( Which was a shame because it was a very cool castle to explore.  Rather than directing you in one way and out another, you can go in and just explore little nooks and crannies and rooms and stairways and corridors.  It was a lot of fun, but we just didn't have the time to do it justice :(  In fact I actually managed to lose the sweetie which was quite stressful because we had to get down to the tunnels. 


Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Entrance gate at Dover Castle
Entrance gate at Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Interior of Dover Castle
Interior of Dover Castle

Interior of Dover Castle
Interior of Dover Castle

Corridor in Dover Castle
Corridor in Dover Castle

View of Dover from the top of the castle
View of Dover from the top of the castle

Top of Dover Castle
Top of Dover Castle

Top of Dover Castle
Top of Dover Castle

English Channel from Dover Castle
English Channel from Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Dover from Dover Castle
Dover from Dover Castle

St Mary in the Castle church
St Mary in the Castle church

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

Interior of Dover Castle
Interior of Dover Castle

Dover Castle
Dover Castle

After much stress, we both made it to the tunnels by 5pm. But of course you can't take photos :(:(:(  So was really stressed out and then grumpy as well.  Blah!!  But it was pretty cool to see the tunnels anyway.


Entrance to the tunnels
Entrance to the tunnels

So left when the tour was done and headed for the hotel.

Stopped at the Battle of Britain Memorial.  It was raining.  A lot.  And windy.  Which was bad for my camera but in one way it was good because there was noone else there.  Had the place to myself.  Managed a couple of photos, with and without rain on the lens.  


Battle of Britain Memorial
Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial
Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial
Battle of Britain Memorial

Supermarine Spitfire Mark I replica at the Battle of Britain Memorial
Supermarine Spitfire Mark I replica at the Battle of Britain Memorial

Battle of Britain Memorial sign
Battle of Britain Memorial sign

Got to the hotel.  Internet access is a pain cause you really need a wifi username and password for each device.  And the fire alarm has gone off for ten seconds tonight.  Yay.  But the nicest thing about this hotel is its location, with an outlook to the English Channel.  Can see France! :)  The moon over the water was amazing before.

Went out to get a pizza for dinner.  At the local Pizza Hut.  Most expensive pizza I've ever eaten.  £11.99 - which is $25AUD for a standard size pizza!! Gah!!!! Just a plain old pepperoni pizza.  Insane, totally insane :(  Still, it was actually quite nice.

Hoping for five minutes of sunlight tomorrow morning to see the cliffs, that's all I'm asking.  It can rain the rest of the day, but some sun on the cliffs would be nice... kthxbai!

Photos on the Canon: 242
Photos on the Sony: 7
Photos on the Video: 6
Videos on the Video: 10
Steps walked: 15414
Pounds Spent: ?
Another small B&B last night so a lot more personal.

Had a bit of a slow start, then headed into town to do our washing.  While the washing was on we went for a walk down to the beach, and while the drying was on we went for a coffee.  Well the sweetie did, I had an OJ :)


Tourist train in Newquay
Tourist train in Newquay

Newquay
Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Cool house on top of rocks in Newquay
Cool house on top of rocks in Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Beach at Newquay
Beach at Newquay

Bridge to the isolated house at Newquay
Bridge to the isolated house at Newquay

Fountain at Newquay
Fountain at Newquay

Having lots of weather here on holiday - yeah, story of our holiday!
Having lots of weather here on holiday - yeah, story of our holiday!

Came back to the hotel and repacked our suitcases then headed out.

First stop was Padstow because Stu was interested in Rick Stein's restaurants.  We had trouble with parking.  The first car park was full, which mean a drive through pedestrian-infested streets trying to get out.  Then the second car park was also full, with about ten cars in front of us trying to find parking.  So tried for the top car park.  Got a park there but the machine wouldn't take money (for me or the people in front of me).  A city car park person came by and had a look and said yep, machine is broken (often happens in the rain)  (did I mention it was raining?).  So we got free parking!  Do you have any idea how exciting that is in this country??  Anyways, so wandered down the hill in the rain.  Had a bit of a wander around.  Found Rick Stein's "The Seafood Restaurant" but they didn't have any tables.  So went and found his cafe which is a bit more casual.  Had some lovely seafood there.  Our most expensive meal so far, but that was the point of going there.


Port at Padstow
Port at Padstow

The Seafood Restaurant at Padstow
The Seafood Restaurant at Padstow

Port at Padstow
Port at Padstow

Cornwall
Cornwall

So then headed south west and went out to the tourist trap known as Land's End.  We got there at 5pm, but paid a pound too much for parking (£3 instead of £2 if we'd just waited two minutes for 5pm).  Went down to the cliff edge and thought well that's lovely.  Took photos of ourselves with the "overnight" Land's End sign that they put up after 5pm and don't charge £9.95 to stand in front of.


Stu at the entrance to Land's End
Stu at the entrance to Land's End

Lighthouse at Land's End
Lighthouse at Land's End

Rocks at Land's End
Rocks at Land's End

Rocks at Land's End
Rocks at Land's End

Signpost at Land's End
Signpost at Land's End

Stu at Land's End
Stu at Land's End

Karen and Cutie at Land's End
Karen and Cutie at Land's End

Then headed back past Penzance (and the pirates thereof?) to St Michael's Mount to attempt to photograph it in the horizontally blowing rain (horizontally blowing *into* the direction of my camera, not away from it :( ).


St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

At least the parachute wind surfers were having fun
At least the parachute wind surfers were having fun

Then back to the B&B.

It's raining here.  Severe weather warnings and everything.

Have I mentioned the rain?


Geotagging - Day 26
Geotagging - Day 26

Photos on the Canon: 168
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Photos on the Video: 3
Videos on the Video: 11
Steps walked: 8479
Pounds Spent: ?
Being a B&B the place was tiny.  There were four tables in the breakfast room and only two were set, so I assume there was only one other room taken last night.  Breakfast was decent enough though.

So checked out and headed into Bath, parking at the big "Pay on foot" parking area off Charlotte St.  


Street in Bath
Street in Bath
Headed into the main bit of town first.  On the way passed lots of decorated lions, setup as a public art project, much like the Bears of Berlin some years ago.  Some of them were pretty cool!  I think my favourite was a gold-foil wrapped chocolate lion :) Or the QR code one or the scrabble letters one.  


Lindt Gold Lion? :)
Lindt Gold Lion? :)

Scrabble Lion
Scrabble Lion

Starry Night Lion
Starry Night Lion

Got into the middle of town and Stu stopped for a coffee so I went to find an ATM.  The first two I found were broken, so had to walk like a mile just to find a working one and then back to Stu.  

Went into the roman baths first.  I'd only ever seen pictures of the outdoor bit of the bath (which used to be indoors) so didn't realise the place was so extensive.  Was actually really cool and spent nearly two hours wandering around the place.  Took one look in the Pump House and thought it looked too fancy for the likes of us, so took a picture of the room and left.


Entrance to the baths 
Entrance to the baths 

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Statue
Statue

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

This is where the hot water spring surfaces
This is where the hot water spring surfaces

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Roman Bath buildings
Roman Bath buildings

Roman Bath
Roman Bath

Lead pipes
Lead pipes

For some reason they drained out where the spring surfaces
For some reason they drained out where the spring surfaces

Pump House
Pump House

Then went next door to have a look in the abbey.  As Dave2 had shown, it was indeed quite beautiful.


Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Organ in Bath Abbey
Organ in Bath Abbey

Ceiling of Bath Abbey
Ceiling of Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey

It was getting late by this point, so we headed up to The Circus (and couldn't get "Who will buy?" from Oliver! out of my head - you can see where they got the inspiration for the scene (which was actually filmed on a set - they built the whole thing from scratch)).  And then onto the Royal Crescent, where we saw our first rays of sun for the day.


The Circus
The Circus

The Circus.  Who will buy this beautiful morning?
The Circus. Who will buy this beautiful morning?

Royal Crescent
Royal Crescent

Left a couple of minutes before four hours for parking and saved a pound, hurrah .. only to find the boom gate was broken and we could have left without paying the 5.40 at all - doh!!

So we didn't have time for the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, or the Cheddar Gorge and town.

Just went straight onto Wells.  I'd seen a documentary some months back about the Wells Cathedral - and how the unique "scissor" arches were actually to stop the whole thing collapsing after they put on a tower extension.  So of course I had to see it :)  It was pretty cool.  Although seeing a cathedral and an abbey on the same day has not helped with remembering the details of each one.. hrmm.. :)


Glastonbury Tor from the A39 north of Wells
Glastonbury Tor from the A39 north of Wells

Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral

Ceiling of Wells Cathedral
Ceiling of Wells Cathedral

Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral
Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral

Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral
Scissor reinforcing in Wells Cathedral

Altar of Wells Cathedral
Altar of Wells Cathedral

Organ of Wells Cathedral
Organ of Wells Cathedral

Quire of Wells Cathedral
Quire of Wells Cathedral

Stairs to the Chapter House
Stairs to the Chapter House

Chapter House.  Stunningly beautiful, but I needed a wider lens!
Chapter House. Stunningly beautiful, but I needed a wider lens!

Chapter House
Chapter House

Wells Cathedral
Wells Cathedral

And finally south west.  Stopping at a Burger King on the motorway for Linner.  And onto Newquay, arriving around 7:15pm.  We were just a little too late going up to the headland to see the sunset but had a nice walk anyway.  Then into town to have a look around and find the laundromat opening times.


Welcome to Cornwall!  Stu was pretty excited to see this
Welcome to Cornwall! Stu was pretty excited to see this

Cornwall
Cornwall

Sunset at Newquay
Sunset at Newquay

Came back to the B&B via a supermarket to pick up snacks and drinks.

Then watched some telly (including Australian Border Security!) and used the internet.  

Hopefully will get a sleep in tomorrow.. unless I get hungry .. prolly a good thing too, it being 11:15pm and all.. :/


Geotagging - Day 25
Geotagging - Day 25

Photos on the Canon: 492
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 9
Photos on the Blackberry: 6
Photos on the Video: 23
Videos on the Video: 43
Steps walked: 15432
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: ?
Well the mattress I flipped yesterday was marginally better for being flipped - at least it wasn't lumpy but it was still lopsided.  But the real kicker was a cold shower.  There's not enough water pressure in the hotel for everyone to be having showers at once.  Not if they want hot water anyway.  I waited and waited and waited but nothing.  Attempted to have a cold shower but it was too cold so had a sponge bath in the sink instead.

And then complained to the hotel and Best Western customer support.  Because that is just ridiculous.  Got an answer from customer support, but not from the hotel yet.  Lame.

So headed out to Glencoe first up.  Found the hill behind Clachaig Inn where they built Hagrid's Hut for Prisoner of Azkaban.  Even walked up it too.  But not in the exact right location - I was a bit too far round the hill but it was too hard to get to the right bit.  So I satisfied myself with a view of the valley that was in the movie.  Although I did wait around for some sunlight that never came.  In fact the clouds closed in and it started raining.  Again.  

Loch Leven
Loch Leven

Hills near Glencoe
Hills near Glencoe

Creek behind Clachaig Inn
Creek behind Clachaig Inn

Hill behind Clachaig Inn where Hagrid's Hut was built for Prisoner of Azkaban
Hill behind Clachaig Inn where Hagrid's Hut was built for Prisoner of Azkaban

Hill behind Clachaig Inn where Hagrid's Hut was built for Prisoner of Azkaban
Hill behind Clachaig Inn where Hagrid's Hut was built for Prisoner of Azkaban

Hagrid's Hut was probably over there a bit
Hagrid's Hut was probably over there a bit

Clachaig Inn
Clachaig Inn

This shot of the highlands is clearly visible in the movie
This shot of the highlands is clearly visible in the movie

So continued up Glencoe, stopping at every P and taking photos.  Then got to the end and turned around and came back :)

Heading up in to Glencoe
Heading up in to Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Waterfall in Glencoe
Waterfall in Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe

St John's Church, Ballachulish
St John's Church, Ballachulish

Loch Leven
Loch Leven

Next up was the Castle Arrggghhhh! (aka Castle Stalker) near Appin.  Stopped at the Castle Stalker View cafe and ended up having lunch there.  Nice, but expensive.  The cheeses weren't as awesome as the ones we had the other day but were still pretty nice.  Then we went past Appin to find a view from the other face.  

Castle Stalker
Castle Stalker

Castle Stalker
Castle Stalker

Mooo
Mooo

And then suddenly it's like 2pm.  Like how did that happen?

So we just drove and drove and drove.  And stopped in heavy traffic around Glasgow.  And drove lots more.

Connel Bridge, Loch Etive
Connel Bridge, Loch Etive

Hills near Loch Awe
Hills near Loch Awe

Wind turbine south of Glasgow
Wind turbine south of Glasgow

Stopped in Lockerbie.  I wanted to find the memorial for the Lockerbie Air Disaster of Pan Am 103.  Didn't have much detail to go on, just that it was west of town.  Found a sign to the Garden of Remembrance, which turned out to be it.  It's in Dryfesdale Cemetary and was a really beautiful spot, especially in the light of the setting sun.  Was a little strange looking up at the planes flying overhead and their contrails.  Can't explain why I wanted to see this.  I don't think I really even remember the event happening in 1988.  I don't know, I have this thing about air disasters.  

Dryfesdale Cemetery
Dryfesdale Cemetery

Aircraft flying overhead
Aircraft flying overhead

Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance
Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance

Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance
Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance

Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance
Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance

Contrails overhead
Contrails overhead

Sunset at Dryfesdale Cemetery
Sunset at Dryfesdale Cemetery

So then had to find a hotel.  The Best Western was booked out with a wedding (who gets married on a Friday, sheesh ;) ).  Drove out to another hotel that was a big old manor house, but the car park was completely deserted.  No idea if it was open or not, there were no signs.  But it looked a little scary so we didn't look any closer.  Drove through town and saw a couple of B&Bs including one that looked like an ordinary suburban house but they looked too small (where the owners would want to *talk* to us! Can't have that! ;) ).  So found another one that I'd see on the way out to the Garden of Remembrance.  It's a small hotel but they had this massive dinner thing happening.  And, it being our last night in Scotland, and the fact that I haven't had any yet (!!!) I had to try a couple of the single malts they had.  The first was a Ledaig which was quite peaty but very easy to drink.  So had another - a Laphroaig (10) which was even peatier.  Rather enjoyed this one :) So the dinner was this massive buffet of food.  For three couples.  Very very weird.  I had this enormous lamb shank with tonnes of veggies.  Needed the sweetie to help me finish it ;)

The internet here is a little flaky but at least it's here.  Very late night again .. doh!

Geotagging - Day 21
Geotagging - Day 21


Photos on the Canon: 417
Photos on the Sony: 15
Photos on the iPhone: 4
Photos on the Olympus: 53
Photos on the Blackberry: 6
Photos on the Video: 10
Videos on the Video: 9
Steps walked: 8051
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: ?
Breakfast was a little different in York - we actually had to order off a menu.  I had a chefs special which was a croissant with bacon, tomato, cheese and mushrooms, with scrambled egg on the side - but it was huge! Had trouble finishing it (I didn't).

The internet also died overnight which was a big pain as I hadn't blogged, or booked Edinburgh accommodation, or sorted out our day's itinerary.  Poo.

Anyways.  

We decided to skip a drive through the Yorkshire Dales as it wasn't going to fit in timewise.  So first stop was Thirsk. (Thirsk was the town that vet/author James Herriot was from). Found the Darrowby Inn on a drive by and then found parking nearby.  There was a tourist information office next door to the Darrowby Inn so went in and asked where the museum was.  So had a wander through that.  It was the building that Herriot used to live/work in, so some of the things in there (like the phone in the hall) were very squee to see.  It was quite well done, and was a good snapshot of a vet's working life in the 1940s etc.  Even Stu enjoyed it :)

Kilburn White Horse
Kilburn White Horse

The Darrowby Inn, Thirsk
The Darrowby Inn, Thirsk

James Wight's practice
James Wight's practice

Front room of the house
Front room of the house

Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki Woo
Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki Woo

The hall phone
The hall phone

Family room
Family room

Dispensary
Dispensary

Kitchen
Kitchen

Austin Seven car
Austin Seven car

Back garden
Back garden

Back shed/garage
Back shed/garage

Next door they've recreated the sets of the TV show All Creatures Great and Small
Next door they've recreated the sets of the TV show All Creatures Great and Small

Recreation of the TV set
Recreation of the TV set

Dining room of the TV set
Dining room of the TV set

Recreation of the TV set
Recreation of the TV set

Dispensary of the TV set
Dispensary of the TV set

Kilburn White Horse in stained glass
Kilburn White Horse in stained glass

Next we headed for Goathland (Hogsmeade Station).  Yes, much squeeing was had on my part :)  But what was also nice was driving through the North Yorkshire Moors to get there and out.  Unfortunately the wind was blowing hard and it was raining a bit, so photographing it proved tricky.  The drive was pretty awesome though.

North York Moors
North York Moors

The moors are all in flower, turning them pink
The moors are all in flower, turning them pink

Closeup of some of the flowers
Closeup of some of the flowers

Closeup of some of the flowers
Closeup of some of the flowers

Train passing through the moors
Train passing through the moors

Goathland Station - aka Hogsmeade!
Goathland Station - aka Hogsmeade!

Goathland Station seat
Goathland Station seat

First years! Follow me!
First years! Follow me!

Goathland Station from the overpass bridge
Goathland Station from the overpass bridge

North York Moors
North York Moors

Tiny little road on the moors
Tiny little road on the moors

Found lunch at a road-side Subway, that was actually drive through! Freaky!

At this point we'd had planned to go to Durham to see the cathedral (Hogwarts) but changed our plans earlier in the day and decided to go see Hadrian's Wall and do Durham in the morning.  So trekked out (past the Angel of the North) to Housesteads Roman Fort.  By this stage the wind was blowing a gale, and it was raining fairly heavily.  So we got out our jackets and went up anyway!  It fell into the category of "you don't have to be mad but it helps" :)  So paid the £3 parking, and the £4.80 entry each, and went and had a look at the fort.  And it was super awesome!!  Even in the pouring rain.  I had to use random camera as it was much easier to shield from the rain.  But walking around this two thousand year old fort was very squee :)

Angel of the North
Angel of the North

Hadrian's Wall (this was the only part of it we saw)
Hadrian's Wall (this was the only part of it we saw)

Model of Housesteads fort
Model of Housesteads fort

Baaaa!
Baaaa!

Housesteads Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort

Stu on the fort wall looking out at Hadrian's Wall
Stu on the fort wall looking out at Hadrian's Wall

Housesteads Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort

Housesteads Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort

Housesteads Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort

Barracks
Barracks

We got drenched.  The photos don't show it.
We got drenched. The photos don't show it.

Housesteads Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort

Watchtower
Watchtower

The fort toilets with flushing water
The fort toilets with flushing water

Housesteads Roman Fort
Housesteads Roman Fort

Part of the commandant's house or headquarters building
Part of the commandant's house or headquarters building

Base of a column
Base of a column

Well-worn steps
Well-worn steps

Base of a floor
Base of a floor

This is where I sheltered while Stu stood out in the rain for ages
This is where I sheltered while Stu stood out in the rain for ages

So we were completely drenched from the waist down, and headed back into Durham.  Found the hotel, got changed and went to have some dinner in the hotel bar.  Then stayed up entirely too late trying to find accommodation in Edinburgh (internet/parking/laundry were all factors that had to be considered).

Geotagging - Day 17
Geotagging - Day 17


Photos on the Canon: 298
Photos on the Sony: 137
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Photos on the Video: 7
Videos on the Video: 14
Steps walked: 6835
Pounds Spent: 101.51
Woke up relatively early (with slight hangover headache) so got up and did computery stuff.

First stop was the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.  The GPS took us around the long way to the road we needed to be on (lame), so actually went past it on the first loop because it brought us in from the north instead of the south that we were expecting.  #grunt.  Anyways so went in (£3 parking) and of course there's a whole visitors centre setup with bows and arrows etc for sale.  Went for a walk to find the tree, which would have been quite pleasant, except for all the screaming kids.  The tree itself is huge - well at least in girth anyway. :)

Robin Hood and Little John fighting
Robin Hood and Little John fighting

Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest

The Major Oak
The Major Oak

The Major Oak
The Major Oak

Next we went a little out of the way to Chesterfield to see the church with the crooked spire.  Cute and all, but it did take at least half an hour out of our day.  

Chesterfield's Crooked Spire
Chesterfield's Crooked Spire

Bolsover Castle
Bolsover Castle

And then onto York.  I was hoping to get there around lunch time, but everything else took so long we didn't arrive til around 2:30pm and didn't get into the town to start exploring til after 3pm :(  So I was a bit stressed that I wouldn't be able to do the couple of things I wanted to.  In the end Cliftons Tower got dropped off.  So wandered in through the west gate and through the old town up to the minster.  It was enormous!  Obviously not as an enormous as Cologne's (we've been totally spoilt by that cathedral!!) but still pretty huge.  Paid the £8 each to go in, and I paid £5 to go up the tower.  Wandered around inside (you can take photos in this one hurrah!) then went up the tower at 3:45pm.  The tower was pretty cool, I enjoyed that.  After that I went back down and found the sweetie and we wandered off again.

St Pauls Church, York
St Pauls Church, York

Micklegate
Micklegate

River Ouse
River Ouse

All Saints Church
All Saints Church

Newgate Market
Newgate Market

Roman Bath Museum
Roman Bath Museum

Stained glass windows inside York Minster
Stained glass windows inside York Minster

Ceiling of York Minster
Ceiling of York Minster

Ceiling of York Minster
Ceiling of York Minster

York Minster
York Minster

York Minster
York Minster

York Minster
York Minster

Beautiful stonework
Beautiful stonework

York Minster
York Minster

York Minster
York Minster

View from York Minster
View from York Minster

View from York Minster
View from York Minster

View from York Minster
View from York Minster

York Minster
York Minster

York Minster
York Minster

The next stop was the National Railway Museum.  I wasn't counting on the Hogwarts Express still being there, but I asked when we went in and she said it was! So did a wander through the Great Hall, and up there back was the Hogwarts Express!!!!!  There was much squeeing on my part :)  

Guy Fawkes Inn - birthplace of Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes Inn - birthplace of Guy Fawkes

High Petergate Road
High Petergate Road

River Ouse
River Ouse

Tunnel through to the National Railway Museum
Tunnel through to the National Railway Museum

Loco 737
Loco 737

Duchess of Hamilton
Duchess of Hamilton

Hogwarts Express!
Hogwarts Express!

Hogwarts Express!
Hogwarts Express!

Hogwarts Express!
Hogwarts Express!

Hogwarts Express!
Hogwarts Express!

Me and the Hogwarts Express!
Me and the Hogwarts Express!

Hogwarts Express!
Hogwarts Express!

Stu and an early bullet train
Stu and an early bullet train

Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine

Channel Tunnel cross section
Channel Tunnel cross section

The Warehouse was filled with all sorts of cool railway artifacts
The Warehouse was filled with all sorts of cool railway artifacts

Platform 9 3/4
Platform 9 3/4

Victoria Line cross section
Victoria Line cross section

Finally, around 5:30, we went looking for food.  Wandered back into York and found an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet, so went in there for a decent variety of food.  

York city wall
York city wall

Looking towards the minster from Station Road
Looking towards the minster from Station Road

Micklegate
Micklegate

York city wall
York city wall

Sunset from the city wall
Sunset from the city wall

Then back to the hotel to collapse.

Geotagging - Day 16
Geotagging - Day 16


Photos on the Canon: 391
Photos on the Sony: 27
Photos on the iPhone: 1
Photos on the Video: 4
Videos on the Video: 13
Steps walked: 15008
Pounds Spent: 64.23
Well the blinds in the hotel at Aylesbury were super awesome.  The sweetie got up to go to the loo and I asked him what the time was and he said 8:00 and I'm *gah* we have to go! heh

So got up and ready fairly quickly and had breakfast (very similar to last hotel but with actual real bacon instead of some weird pressed ham thing).

Headed out, our first stop being Stratford-upon-Avon.  Cute, if very touristy, little town.  Wandered up to see Shakespeare's birthplace building, but at £12.50 each ($50aud for the two of us to go in) we decided to give it a miss, as we weren't all *that* interested anyway.  Instead we went for a little walk down to the Avon river and saw a boat going through a lock and lots of birds and that was actually really quite nice.

Hedge trimming - large scale
Hedge trimming - large scale

Medieval buildings in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Medieval buildings in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Morris Dancers
Morris Dancers

Birthplace of Shakespeare
Birthplace of Shakespeare

Stratford-Upon-Avon is a canal town, so even the ice creams are sold from barges!
Stratford-Upon-Avon is a canal town, so even the ice creams are sold from barges!

Distances via canals and rivers to other towns
Distances via canals and rivers to other towns

Lock
Lock

Canal boat in the lock
Canal boat in the lock

Feeding a goose
Feeding a goose

Swan Water Fountain in Bancroft Gardens
Swan Water Fountain in Bancroft Gardens

Avon River
Avon River

Our next stop was Warwick, as we wanted to see the castle.  Found parking in the castle grounds by accident (although £5 which was a little steep we thought).  Castle itself was also pretty pricey (we got the cheapest option of £17.95 - as the dungeon looked pretty kitschy - and probably a good thing we didn't get it anyway as we were pressed for time enough as it was).  Had a bit of a wander around the outside of the main castle, down to the mill house and around the back to see the trebuchet (didn't get to see it in action though).  Watched the falconry show which was very cool, although I might have taken way too many photos ;) Then went into the castle and around the towers and battlements, which I really enjoyed but Stu nearly died on all the steps.  Then through the chapel, great hall and state rooms, making this one of the rare castles/palaces I've been into that let you take photos!! So quite enjoyed that.

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

Entrance to Warwick Castle
Entrance to Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

Avon River and turbine room of the castle
Avon River and turbine room of the castle

Trebuchet outside the castle
Trebuchet outside the castle

Victoria, the Crowned Eagle, a new arrival at the castle
Victoria, the Crowned Eagle, a new arrival at the castle

This Golden Eagle is having a bath
This Golden Eagle is having a bath

Young Palm Nut Vulture in the falconry show
Young Palm Nut Vulture in the falconry show

Young Palm Nut Vulture in the falconry show
Young Palm Nut Vulture in the falconry show

Young Palm Nut Vulture in the falconry show
Young Palm Nut Vulture in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show
Peregrine Falcon in the falconry show

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

Inner part of Warwick Castle
Inner part of Warwick Castle

Inner part of Warwick Castle
Inner part of Warwick Castle

Kids in the stocks
Kids in the stocks

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

My parents have a photo exactly like this one from when they went
My parents have a photo exactly like this one from when they went

Inside the castle there's all these mockups of castle life
Inside the castle there's all these mockups of castle life

Princesses and Knights toilets
Princesses and Knights toilets

No Drinking Brew, or Eating Gruel
No Drinking Brew, or Eating Gruel

Model of Warwick Castle
Model of Warwick Castle

Chapel in Warwick Castle
Chapel in Warwick Castle

State rooms in Warwick Castle
State rooms in Warwick Castle

Armaments
Armaments

Knight on horseback
Knight on horseback

State rooms in Warwick Castle
State rooms in Warwick Castle

Bedroom in Warwick Castle
Bedroom in Warwick Castle

Entrance to the dungeons
Entrance to the dungeons

Entrance to Warwick Castle
Entrance to Warwick Castle

It was getting a bit late by then (4pm) so left and headed for Nottingham.  Did ok until we got into town where we kept getting stuck in the wrong lane and not able to follow the GPS, or having the GPS try and send us the wrong way down one way streets.  Went round in circles just trying to get to the hotel :(

So got in eventually.  The hotel (the Britannia) is a bit of a dump - we got a smoking room so it smells, everything is a little old and sad, no aircon to speak of, security on the door doesn't work at all, parking and access a pain in the posterior.  But it was cheap (£49 including breakfast) so can't complain too much.  It's only saving grace is free wifi, which sort of works if you look the right way at it.

So dumped our stuff and headed out again to go to Di's.  Again we had issues with the GPS and getting stuck in the wrong lane for where it wanted us to go.  Again we went around in circles :(  Was very frustrating.  But escaped eventually and got away without any further dramas, even getting a FREE parking spot right outside their door (first free parking we've had in this country! Unless you count the half hour we got near the hotel when dumping our stuff).  So went out to the local (the Stratford Haven) for a couple of pints, then back to their place for nibblies while Nick cooked up a storm.  Dinner was a high-class bangers and mash - absolutely delicious sausages, a herby mash potato that was lovely, and heaps of delicious gravy .. nom nom nom :) Chatted the whole evening, about all sorts of stuff .. a lot about travel, Paul had to get a mention, their recent dramas with M's mother, cameras etc etc.  Was a really lovely evening and I have a slight hangover headache to prove it :)

Di
Di

Nick
Nick

Kitty! Taken on one of Di's lenses
Kitty! Taken on one of Di's lenses

Made it back to the hotel in one go and collapsed into bed without blogging.

Geotagging - Day 15
Geotagging - Day 15


Photos on the Canon: 549
Photos on the Sony: 6
Photos on the Video: 69
Videos on the Video: 81
Steps walked: 12838
Pounds Spent: 69.29
Got to have a slightly slow start today as we didn't need to pick the car up til middayish and checkout was 11. So caught up on as much internetty stuff as we could before we left.

Hopped on a train to the car rental place and found it quite easily and got all the paperwork sorted. Unfortunately the automatic had a big crack in the windscreen so we got stuck with a manual. We can drive manuals (we both own manuals) but when you're dealing with driving in a foreign country, not having to worry about gears makes a huge difference. The big difference between this trip and our honeymoon of course is that at least here they drive on the *correct* side of the road. The suckiest thing about the car is that the blinkers and windscreen wipers are backwards to most Australian cars. This sux *a lot* as when you want to indicate in a hurry the reflex action will turn on the windscreen wipers :( (indicating when you plenty of time is not such an issue because you have time to remember to hit the opposite lever).

So anyway, after getting honked at by impatient drivers two minutes into the trip, we managed to escape London and headed for Windsor. Didn't get to see the castle except for glimpses of it, and drove past Legoland (coming soon!) with a final destination of Runnymede and the Magna Carta memorial. £1 pay and display parking even in the middle of nowhere.

Teenage swans on the Thames at Runnymede
Teenage swans on the Thames at Runnymede

Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede
Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede

Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede
Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede

Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede
Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede

Under the roof of the Magna Carta Memorial
Under the roof of the Magna Carta Memorial

Runnymede
Runnymede

Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede
Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede

Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede
Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede

Blackberries - yum!
Blackberries - yum!

Runnymede
Runnymede

From there headed back into Windsor to find some lunch. Found a pay and display parking station and a Subway nearby. Then fought with the Tomtom which didn't have a couple of the places in it I wanted to go to. Well it did, but under different location names.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Itty bitty parking spots in a parking station in Windsor
Itty bitty parking spots in a parking station in Windsor

So the next place I wanted to see was Picket Post Close in Martins Heron (actually Bracknell). Because it also happens to be 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging. (!!!) I squeed lots and lots. Didn't get out of the car though cause it's a tiny culdesac and I didn't want to look toooo much like a stalker ;) There was a van and a skip out the front which didn't help either. So basically did a drive by shoot and headed off again.

Picket Post Close - aka Privet Drive Little Whinging!
Picket Post Close - aka Privet Drive Little Whinging!

Privet Drive Little Whinging
Privet Drive Little Whinging

Privet Drive Little Whinging
Privet Drive Little Whinging

Number 4, Privet Drive Little Whinging - Harry's house!
Number 4, Privet Drive Little Whinging - Harry's house!

Next we headed for Henley on Thames. Just to have a quick look really. We found a shopping centre carpark and walked down to the river and had a half pint of a couple of Brakspeare ales.

Henley on Thames
Henley on Thames

Thames River
Thames River

The Angel pub
The Angel pub

Bridge over the Thames
Bridge over the Thames

Crazy medieval buildings in Henley on Thames
Crazy medieval buildings in Henley on Thames

Next up was Privet Drive number 2, used in the Prisoner of Azkaban. This was Dowding Way, Leavesden, altho the Tomtom couldn't find that so we had to put in Watford. Approaching this I could see the purple Knight Buses across the road in the Leavesden Studios backlot. As you can imagine there was much squeeing on my part :) Got out this time and walked up the same bit of road that Harry did. There's not any swings in the little park where he first sees Padfoot but the grass is there. Also went to the end of the road and could see across into Leavesden studios and the top of the row of houses they used as Privet Drive for movies two and onwards. And one of the hangers (the great hall was built in one if the hangers and was used for all the movies).

Street in Leavesden where Harry walks before seeing Padfoot
Street in Leavesden where Harry walks before seeing Padfoot

There was a roundabout and swings setup for the movie but they're not there anymore
There was a roundabout and swings setup for the movie but they're not there anymore

Where Harry catches the Knight Bus
Where Harry catches the Knight Bus

Leavesden Studios - where Harry Potter was filmed
Leavesden Studios - where Harry Potter was filmed

Possibly sets for the Deathly Hallows movies
Possibly sets for the Deathly Hallows movies

Privet Drive set built for Chamber of Secrets
Privet Drive set built for Chamber of Secrets

Knight buses!
Knight buses!

So then we headed north-west thinking we might stop at Aylesbury or keep going depending how we felt. Just outside of Aylesbury we saw a Holiday Inn so decided to stop. After the London hotel we were very impressed at how much *space* this one has!  I completely repacked my suitcase which made me feel a bit better. The big downer is that the Internet is £15/day.. WTF?? They can take that and shove it :(

Had a beer and a snack dinner at the onsite pub, sharing the area with a wedding reception's pre dinner drinks. And spent the evening repacking suitcases and selecting images to resize for twitpics.


Geotagging - Day 14
Geotagging - Day 14

Photos on the Canon: 139 
Photos on the Sony: 2
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Photos on the Video: 2
Videos on the Video: 8
Steps walked: 6999
Pounds Spent: 29.58
Sleep - same
Breakfast - same

So there was a tube strike planned for today.  While there were some services still running, we decided we'd have a day of "local" to the hotel things. ie, things we could walk to from the hotel.  

So we headed in the general direction of what we thought was the Natural History Museum, but the road curled around to the north instead of staying going north east, so we decided to have a look at Kensington Palace first up. Just the exterior, didn't go in.  Went down to the pond where The Birds were gathered.  Got some way cool photos of some starlings on a dude's hand.

Doggy poop bins in Kensington Gardens
Doggy poop bins in Kensington Gardens

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace gardens
Kensington Palace gardens

Geese in Kensington Gardens
Geese in Kensington Gardens

Swan in Kensington Gardens
Swan in Kensington Gardens

Starlings in Kensington Gardens
Starlings in Kensington Gardens

Starlings in Kensington Gardens
Starlings in Kensington Gardens

Starlings in Kensington Gardens
Starlings in Kensington Gardens

Swan in Kensington Gardens
Swan in Kensington Gardens

Feeding the geese
Feeding the geese

Kensington Palace gates
Kensington Palace gates

Then we meandered through Kensington Gardens, and had a look at the Albert Memorial, and the Royal Albert Hall.

South Flower Walk
South Flower Walk

Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial

Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall

Albert Memorial
Albert Memorial

And then down to the Natural History Museum.  It wasn't as good as I thought it would be.  Maybe it was trying to cover too much.  I was expecting it to be choc-full of stuff, but it was a little bit spartan, representing whole swathes of things (eg all of mammals or all of fish) with just a few cabinets.  Actually one of the best displays in terms of sheer volume was the mineral displays.  It took up a whole big room!  Stu also liked the contents of the cocoon (some detail on the scientific and museum process), but by that time we were exhausted on our feet and didn't really have the energy to look at it on more depth.

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

Amazing stone carvings were all over the building - inside and out!
Amazing stone carvings were all over the building - inside and out!

Central Hall
Central Hall

Moose I think
Moose I think

Whales
Whales

Whale
Whale

Sensory and Motor models of the body
Sensory and Motor models of the body

Dinosaur
Dinosaur

Dinosaur
Dinosaur

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

Central Hall
Central Hall

Giant Sequoia cross section
Giant Sequoia cross section

Giant Sequoia cross section
Giant Sequoia cross section

Mineral hall
Mineral hall

Iridescent Stalactites
Iridescent Stalactites

Mocha Stone
Mocha Stone

Fluorescent diamonds
Fluorescent diamonds

Agate
Agate

This looks like a cityscape or something
This looks like a cityscape or something

Side of the cacoon
Side of the cacoon

Genes V!  I had this book in uni!
Genes V! I had this book in uni!

Petrified wood
Petrified wood

So at this point Stu headed back to the hotel and I decided to go to Harrods (just to say I'd been).  Oh. Fricken. Dear.  First of all you need a map to find your way around (and even then you still got turned around and upside down).  I was constantly trying to figure out how to get out of where I was.  The whole bottom floor of course is the super exclusive perfumes and handbags.  With an Egyptian theme (!).  Went up to the fourth floor to look at toys.  Had to walk through the childrenswear section.  £300 for an outfit?? hrmm.  They did have RC which I'd not seen in stores (only online) for £79.  Lego was comparable to our pricing (perhaps more with the dollar the way it is).  Went downstairs to have a look at electronics stuff, but if they had memory sticks I didn't find them.  TinTin books were £7. The coolest part of the whole store (that I saw) was the fossil and mineral gallery.  Having literally just seen some of this stuff at the museum, to see it for sale was super cool.  Horrendously expensive, but super cool :)  I didn't find the statue my parents found last year, or the Dodi and Diana one (I didn't even know it existed til just then), but did find a gold Egyptian thing.  At this point I figured any exit was a good exit, so bolted for the door before I got lost again!

Harrods
Harrods

Rhodocrosite
Rhodocrosite

Petrified wood
Petrified wood

Shells
Shells

Gold Egyptian thing
Gold Egyptian thing

Harrods
Harrods

Twenty five minute walk back to the hotel, then went out again to get dinner (KFC - I know, lame) and back to *sit*.  Another ten kilometre walking day today, not including walking around the museum or Harrods or the walk to KFC and back.  Feet. Very. Sore.

Geotagging - Day 11
Geotagging - Day 11


Photos on the Canon: 320
Videos on the Canon: 5
Photos on the Sony: 88
Photos on the Blackberry: 2
Videos on the Video: 13
Steps walked: 18836
Pounds Spent: 28.53
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

Had a pretty good sleep last night. Woke up at 7am :)

Breakfast much the same as yesterday. Got out the door closer to 9:30, slightly later than I wanted.

Headed to Victoria (the station was open today). Had a quick look at Westminster Cathedral (not the abbey).

Victoria Station
Victoria Station

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral

Then headed to Buckingham Palace. There was the mayor's bike ride so The Mall and the roads in front of the palace were closed to traffic. This meant we were able to wander around the whole area that would normally be teeming with cars. Was very cool.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Beefeater
Beefeater

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Palace gates
Palace gates

Victoria Memorial
Victoria Memorial

Looking down The Mall
Looking down The Mall

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Canada Gate
Canada Gate

Victoria Memorial through the Australia Gate
Victoria Memorial through the Australia Gate

Next we had a bit of a wander through St James's Park and saw lots of birds and SQUIRRELs.

Flowers in St James's Park
Flowers in St James's Park

St James's Park
St James's Park

St James's Park
St James's Park

Geese in St James's Park
Geese in St James's Park

Heron in St James's Park
Heron in St James's Park

Seagull in St James's Park
Seagull in St James's Park

Swan in St James's Park
Swan in St James's Park

Seagull in St James's Park
Seagull in St James's Park

St James's Park
St James's Park

Squirrel!
Squirrel!

Got to the end of The Mall to Trafalgar Square.

Looking up The Mall
Looking up The Mall

Duke of York Column
Duke of York Column

Admiralty Arch
Admiralty Arch

Looking up The Mall
Looking up The Mall

Mounted police coming through Admiralty Arch
Mounted police coming through Admiralty Arch

Nelson's Column
Nelson's Column

Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson

Then down Whitehall and across to the Ministry of Magic's visitor's entrance (they've repaved the bit of footpath they used in the movie and the rest of the street is a bit of a mess too). Up past Northumberland to Strand then around the back of the National Gallery to Leicester Square.

Visitor's entrance to the Ministry of Magic
Visitor's entrance to the Ministry of Magic

Me standing where the visitors entrance was located
Me standing where the visitors entrance was located

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square
Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square

At this point we decided to stop for a pint and a rest.

Decided to go to Notting Hill and the Portobello Markets, thinking it might be better on a weekend.

It took five trains to get there due to line closures :/

The poms are mental.  You have to keep left basically everywhere *except* on elevators.
The poms are mental. You have to keep left basically everywhere *except* on escalators 

Same station, but keep left on the paths.  Make up your mind England!
Same station, but keep left on the paths. Make up your mind England!

When we got to Notting Hill I saw an O2 store so went in to see if I could get a sim (and see if my phone was unlocked). Well surprise surprise it's not unlocked. Whether it's Optus or iTunes I don't know but it made me pretty depressed :/

Wandered up Portobello Road and had some lunch (nice lunch but $60aud :/ ). Then basically just came back to the hotel to try and do some planning for the rest of the week.

Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill
Coronet Cinema, Notting Hill

I thought this might have been some dealer in antique sewing machines, but no actually it's a clothing store!
I thought this might have been some dealer in antique sewing machines, but no actually it's a clothing store!

Earl's Court Station
Earl's Court Station

Geotagging - Day 9
Geotagging - Day 9


Photos on the Canon: 329
Photos on the Sony: 60
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the Blackberry: 1
Videos on the Video: 23
Steps walked: 12594
Pounds Spent: 66.39
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