Results tagged “Restaurants” from UK and Japan 2010

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: ?
So was awake for two and a half hours in the middle of the night cause it hurt *sigh*

Got up around 7:20 and convinced the sweetie to get up too.

Had a repeat of Maccas breakfast and then headed for Paddington.  Discovered the different ticket machines give different priced tickets - go figure.  Found one that did a return for the same price as a single (again, go figure) and booked it.  9:21 to Oxford.

Had a pretty good day in Oxford.

It rained nearly all day.

First headed for the Bodleian Library to get on a tour of the Divinity School and the Duke Humfrey's Library.  Had twenty minutes to spare so wandered around and got the sweetie a coffee.


Sheldonian Theatre
Sheldonian Theatre

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs

The Bodleian Library tour went for an hour and was quite interesting.  I would have enjoyed it even if it wasn't a Harry Potter location ;)


Divinity School
Divinity School

Convocation House, next to the Divinity School
Convocation House, next to the Divinity School

The Tower of the Five Orders
The Tower of the Five Orders

Silence Please!
Silence Please!

Went and climbed the University Church tower for some nice views

Radcliffe Camera from the University Church
Radcliffe Camera from the University Church

Looking into All Souls College
Looking into All Souls College

Looking into Brasenose College
Looking into Brasenose College

The University Church of St Mary the Virgin
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin

The University Church of St Mary the Virgin
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Next went to find some lunch.  As we were both low on energy levels it took us a little while to find something suitable.


The Saxon tower of St Michael at the North Gate
The Saxon tower of St Michael at the North Gate

After lunch wandered back up to where we'd seen a walking tour advertised.

The walking tour turned out to be really good.  The dude took us into four colleges (Jesus, Exeter, Lincoln and New), and we saw quadrangles and dining halls and chapels for most of them.  It was just nice cause he took us behind doors and down paths we probably would not have thought to have gone down if we were doing things by ourselves.  Even came across a couple of Australian Rhodes Scholars (a girl from Brisbane doing law, and a guy (who looked about 16) from Adelaide doing inorganic chemistry).  They'd only been in the country a few days.  The tour finished in the cloisters of New College, where Goblet of Fire was filmed :)


Entrance to Jesus College
Entrance to Jesus College

Jesus College dining hall
Jesus College dining hall

Jesus College quadrangle
Jesus College quadrangle

Jesus College chapel
Jesus College chapel

Jesus College chapel
Jesus College chapel

Exeter College quadrangle
Exeter College quadrangle

Exeter College chapel
Exeter College chapel

Exeter College chapel
Exeter College chapel

I love the detail on the organ of Exeter College chapel
I love the detail on the organ of Exeter College chapel

Exeter College chapel
Exeter College chapel

Exeter College quadrangle
Exeter College quadrangle

South side of the Divinity School
South side of the Divinity School

Radcliffe Camera
Radcliffe Camera

Lincoln College quadrangle
Lincoln College quadrangle

Lincoln College dining hall
Lincoln College dining hall

New College quadrangle
New College quadrangle

New College grounds including the old Oxford city wall
New College grounds including the old Oxford city wall

New College chapel
New College chapel

Beautiful stained glass in New College chapel
Beautiful stained glass in New College chapel

Crook of the crozier of William of Wykeham
Crook of the crozier of William of Wykeham

New College chapel
New College chapel

Cloister of New College featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Cloister of New College featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

New College quadrangle
New College quadrangle

New College quadrangle
New College quadrangle

New College quadrangle featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
New College quadrangle featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Draco gets turned into a ferret under this tree
Draco gets turned into a ferret under this tree

After talking to Cedric, Harry walks through this gate
After talking to Cedric, Harry walks through this gate

So next headed down to Christ Church to go in and see the hall and cathedral.  The hall being the inspiration for the great hall in Harry Potter, and they used the entrance staircase in Philosopher's Stone.  So that was pretty squee.  


Christ Church college
Christ Church college

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church quadrangle
Christ Church quadrangle

There's a shot of Ron and Hermione at the top of these steps at the end of Chamber of Secrets
There's a shot of Ron and Hermione at the top of these steps at the end of Chamber of Secrets

Entrance to Hogwarts!
Entrance to Hogwarts!

Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies
Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies

Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies
Steps used in the first two Harry Potter movies

McGonnagal stood at the top of these stairs to welcome the first years
McGonnagal stood at the top of these stairs to welcome the first years

The kids all walk up here
The kids all walk up here

The real entrance to the Great Hall
The real entrance to the Great Hall

Christ Church dining room
Christ Church dining room

Christ Church dining room
Christ Church dining room

Christ Church ceiling - does it look anything like Hogwarts?
Christ Church ceiling - does it look anything like Hogwarts?

Christ Church dining room
Christ Church dining room

The fireplace with the
The fireplace with the "long necks" that inspired Lewis Carroll

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Another Christ Church quadrangle
Another Christ Church quadrangle

Feet were dead by this point and we were hungry so we headed back to London.


Bicycle parking at Oxford Station
Bicycle parking at Oxford Station

UK trains with built-in GPS and airline style entertainment system (that you had to pay for)
UK trains with built-in GPS and airline style entertainment system (that you had to pay for)

Stopped at a Chinese restaurant near the hotel for dinner - had some very nice szechuan twice fried pork and bok choi in oyster sauce.

Got back to the hotel and my world fell apart...


Geotagging - Day 21
Geotagging - Day 31 

Geotagging - Day 21
Geotagging - Day 31

Photos on the Canon: 294
Photos on the Sony: 158
Photos on the Video: 1
Videos on the Video: 10
Steps walked: 15637
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: ?
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: ?
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: ?
So our morning began at 12:45am when the roadworkers outside decided to start jack-hammering.

Seriously.. WTF???

That would never happen in Australia - there are laws about such things!!

Anyways.  It stopped after about ten minutes, but it took me ages to get back to sleep cause I was anxious about it starting up again.

Breakfast much the same.

First stop of the day was the British Museum.  I knew in advance that you could easily spend a week in that place.  And I wasn't wrong.  We had a couple of "must sees" - the Rosetta Stone, the Mildenhall Treasure, the Lewis Chessmen, the Elgin Parthenon marble, the Sutton Hoos burial stuff.  And in two hours we easily saw those. But there was the hints at so much more.  You could easily spend a hour in each small room.  If we lived in London it'd be cool to pop in for an hour or two on weekends and just explore the place.  We barely scratched the surface of what was there.  

The British Museum
The British Museum

The grand foyer of the British Museum
The grand of the British Museum

Statue of Amenophis III
Statue of Amenophis III

My first view of Egyptian heiroglyphics
My first view of Egyptian heiroglyphics

Red granite head from a colossal figure of a king, about 1390 BC
Red granite head from a colossal figure of a king, about 1390 BC

Quartzite figure of baboon, about 1400 BC
Quartzite figure of baboon, about 1400 BC

Winged human-headed lion, Assyrian
Winged human-headed lion, Assyrian

I loved the amazingly detailed stonework of the Assyrian pieces
I loved the amazingly detailed stonework of the Assyrian pieces

The Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone

Ramesses II
Ramesses II

Gayer-Anderson Cat
Gayer-Anderson Cat

Elgin's Marbles
Elgin's Marbles

Statues from the Parthenon
Statues from the Parthenon

Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue
Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue

The Lewis Chessmen, as seen in Harry Potter :)
The Lewis Chessmen, as seen in Harry Potter :)

Spoons of the Mildenhall Treasure.  Roald Dahl put me onto the Mildenhall Treasure, I've been wanting to see it ever since!
Spoons of the Mildenhall Treasure. Roald Dahl put me onto the Mildenhall Treasure,
I've been wanting to see it ever since!


Flanged bowls
Flanged bowls

The Mildenhall Great Dish
The Mildenhall Great Dish

Fluted bowl
Fluted bowl

The Sutton Hoo helmet
The Sutton Hoo helmet

Roman Glass
Roman Glass

Ancient weapons
Ancient weapons

Pottery
Pottery

The Lindow Man
The Lindow Man

Mold Gold Cape
Mold Gold Cape

Early image of Christ from Hinton St Mary
Early image of Christ from Hinton St Mary

Hadrian
Hadrian

Enlightenment room
"Enlightenment" room

So at 12:15 we headed back to the station to meet Shazzy for lunch.  Went to Pu's Brasserie - Thai - and had some very nice curries.  Lunch was over all too quickly.

Then we headed into town to have a wander past Downing St and onto the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.  Fascinating stuff!  A couple of odd highlights for me - that Churchill was a pretty talented artist!  And that Neville Chamberlain looks exactly like Barty Crouch in Goblet of Fire.  Freaky!  (actually a website I read suggested Barty Crouch looks like Hitler - which is also true! Gah! :) )

If this is a woman she totally took a lot of steroids!  

On Horse Guards Avenue
If this is a woman she totally took a lot of steroids! On Horse Guards Avenue

A horse guard
A horse guard

Horse guards entrance
Horse guards entrance

Entrance to Downing Street
Entrance to Downing Street

Arches on King Charles Street
Arches on King Charles Street

Bomb suspended near the entrance - an original german 250kg bomb.
Bomb suspended near the entrance - an original german 250kg bomb.

Meeting room
Meeting room

Art of Winston Churchill
Art of Winston Churchill

Door to 10 Downing Street
Door to 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister's dining room
Prime Minister's dining room

Chiefs of Staff conference room
Chiefs of Staff conference room

Graffitti of Hitler
Graffitti of Hitler

Communications room
Communications room

Winston Churchill's bedroom
Winston Churchill's bedroom

Winston Churchill's bedroom
Winston Churchill's bedroom

When we were going through Westminster station on the way back I was thinking hey this could be the station from Order of the Phoenix - and sure enough it was!  But I don't have any photos dammit!!  Will have to go back ;)

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Clock tower closeup
Clock tower closeup

Then we headed back to the hotel to pick up our washing to take to the laundromat.  It was a pretty sad place - half the equipment was "out of order" - including the detergent machine which was somewhat annoying.  Fortunately Earl's Court has enough mini-mart type places that we could buy some.  We even donated some to some kiwis in the same predicament as us.  

While we were waiting for washing and drying we went next door to the "New Asia" Indian restaurant for dinner.  Because Indian has to be done when you're in London :)  It was pretty good.  Also had a couple of pints. 

When I was transferring our washing to the dryer I noticed a couple of things that weren't ours.  I thought they must have gotten stuck in the corner of the washer and missed.  But as we pulled the stuff out of the dryer we found more things.  Another couple that had come in at the same time as us said those things were theirs.  They also had had to switch between the small and the big washers.  I'm guessing she threw a handful of stuff into our washer by mistake.  So we gave them back most of their stuff, but we missed a couple of socks.  So they will have to be thrown out as they don't even match - doh!!

So now it's 10pm and I haven't downloaded my photos yet... maybe tomorrow..!

Geotagging - Day 12
Geotagging - Day 12


Photos on the Canon: 389
Photos on the Sony: 14
Photos on the Blackberry: 2
Videos on the Video: 3
Steps walked: 11707
Pounds Spent: 104.48
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
Had another slow start this morning. Didn't get out the door til 10:30 am.

The first stop was to climb a building in Akihabara. Just before the trip I'd seen a video that showed shots from a building in this location, so I went looking to find where it was. Turns out it was an apartment building with an external staircase. There was nothing saying no entry, so up I climbed!

Looking towards Ochanomizu from a building in Akihabara
Looking towards Ochanomizu from a building in Akihabara 

Looking towards Ochanomizu from a building in Akihabara
Looking towards Suidobashi from a building in Akihabara 

The building I climbed up was an apartment building
The building I climbed up was an apartment building 

Train on the Harbour Bridge
Train on the "Harbour Bridge" 

Chuo Line Train
Chuo Line Train 

Went to Denny's again cause it's local and convenient.

Stu eating natto in Denny's
Stu eating natto in Denny's 

After breakfast we went to Ueno to go to the Tokyo National Museum. There were lots if cool bits and pieces there, and with lots of stops we didn't end up leaving til about 4:30pm.

National Museum of Nature and Science
National Museum of Nature and Science (didn't go in here today) 

Fountain in Ueno Park
Fountain in Ueno Park 

Vending machines to buy tickets for the Tokyo National Museum
Vending machines to buy tickets for the Tokyo National Museum 

Honkan Building, Tokyo National Museum
Honkan Building, Tokyo National Museum 

Hyokeikan Building, Tokyo National Museum
Hyokeikan Building, Tokyo National Museum 

Flowers in the grounds of the museum
Flowers in the grounds of the museum 

Keiseikan Building, Tokyo National Museum - we went in here first
Keiseikan Building, Tokyo National Museum - we went in here first 

Mummy of Pasherienptah, excavated at Thebes, Egypt
Mummy of Pasherienptah, excavated at Thebes, Egypt 

Agate and glass Kodama Beads
I really liked the colours of these agate and glass Kodama Beads 

I think the backs of these were mirrors
I think the backs of these were mirrors 

Really cool looking pottery
Really cool looking pottery 

Main staircase in the Honkan Building, which we went into next
Main staircase in the Honkan Building, which we went into next 

Funky glass ball light
Funky glass ball light 

Tierd Box With Cover
Tierd Box With Cover, with camellia, pine, bamboo and plum design in
overglaze enamel with openwork. Kyoto ware, Edo period, 18th century 

More really nice pottery
More really nice pottery 

Up close
Up close 

Writing boxes in maki-e lacquer - these things were amazing!
Writing boxes in maki-e lacquer - these things were amazing! 

Writing boxes in maki-e lacquer - these things were amazing!
Writing boxes in maki-e lacquer.  The resized photos really don't do them justice!

Bamboo comb
Bamboo comb 

Cormorant painting
Cormorant painting 

Arashiyama! We were there a couple of days ago! :)
Arashiyama! We were there a couple of days ago! :) 

Gallery of Horyuji Treasures (we didn't go in here)
Gallery of Horyuji Treasures (we didn't go in here) 

Had a bit of a walk through Ueno Park and it was a little freaky to see all the cherry trees in full leaf after last seeing them a year and a half ago in the beginnings of their blossomming.  And the park on a Thursday is so desolate compared to a Sunday - and no cool food stalls setup anywhere :(

Fountain in Ueno Park
Fountain in Ueno Park 

Ueno Park
Ueno Park 

Tokyo Sky Tree under construction
Tokyo Sky Tree under construction 

So headed back to Ueno station to make our seat reservations on the NEX tomorrow then back to Akihabara.

Had a quiet night in - got our lunch/dinner from the Family Mart downstairs and apart from some washing did a whole lot of nothing :)

Assortment of beers
Assortment of beers 

Geotagging - Day 6
Geotagging - Day 6 

Photos on the Canon: 211
Photos on the Sony: 28
Videos on the Sony: 2
Videos on the Video: 10
Steps walked: 7276
Yen Spent: 8980
Had a bit if a sleep-in this morning. Or at least we attempted to, not very successfully :/ Had trouble with temperature - too hot with the doona, too cold without it.

Wandered out the door a bit after 10am, and went up to Denny's for breakfast. As is a 27-year tradition, I had bacon, sausage and eggs :)


I took a photo of this stand of electronics last time we came to Japan.
At least one thing on there is still the same! 

Bacon, sausage and eggs at Denny's!
Bacon, sausage and eggs at Denny's! 

So then we went into Akihabara electronics town to do an audio walking tour of the place. It would have been really good except for the heat (have I mentioned the epic heatwave they're having?). Got to see lots of things that are hidden away in alcoves and up lifts that we never would have thought to look at otherwise. Highlights were the shops that had model kits of ships and planes, Super Potato (if we'd found that place last time with Nat we never would have gotten her out of there!!) and some of the retro toy collections.

Octopus Game & Watch picture
Octopus Game & Watch picture 

Game & Watches!!!
Game & Watches!!! 

Soups in a can
Soups in a can 

Jawa Sandcrawler RC model
Jawa Sandcrawler RC model 

We were hot and thirsty at the end of the tour so went back to Cafe Moco for a light lunch and drinks.

These electronics mosaics were all over the place and had all different pictures
These electronics mosaics were all over the place and had all different pictures 

Then Stu went back to the hotel while I went across to Yodobashi Camera to have a wander and ask about my camera. But they didn't understand my problem so abandoned hope and also headed back to the hotel.

Yodobashi Camera
Yodobashi Camera 

Sega Gigo
Sega Gigo 

Spent a decent chunk of time organising my photos on Stu's laptop (we got the cable we needed to make it work). Twitpicced some, still have a few more to do.

Around 6pm we headed out again, this time to Ikebukuro. Had a little bit if a wander around the place and had sushi train for dinner.  It was getting a bit late, so there wasn't a lot of choice unfortunately.

Canal in Akihabara
Canal in Akihabara 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Big Apple building by night
Big Apple building by night 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Cosplay store
Cosplay store 

Akihabara buildings by night
Akihabara buildings by night 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Ikebukuro
Ikebukuro 

Then hopped on another train to Shinjuku. We were hoping to find the eye. Took a couple of headings in the wrong directions and a pit stop for coffee/cake, but we finally found it.

The Eye! at Shinjuku station
The Eye! at Shinjuku station 

The Eye!
The Eye! 

There's a lot of train lines at Shinjuku station
There's a lot of train lines at Shinjuku station 

Finally we went to Sibuya to have a look at the scramble intersection and the lights and Hachiko.


Dogs at Shibuya
Dogs at Shibuya 

Buildings in Shibuya
Buildings in Shibuya 

Hachiko at Shibuya station
Hachiko at Shibuya station 

Scramble crossing in Shibuya
Scramble crossing in Shibuya 

Starbucks
Starbucks 

Bubbles in a roving advert truck
Bubbles in a roving advert truck 

Scramble crossing in Shibuya
Scramble crossing in Shibuya 

Scramble crossing in Shibuya
Scramble crossing in Shibuya 

Geotagging - Day 5
Geotagging - Day 5

Photos on the Canon: 185
Photos on the Sony: 80
Videos on the Sony: 3
Photos on the Olympus: 2
Photos on the Video: 6
Videos on the Video: 35
Steps walked: 13626
Yen Spent: 8891
Third day of our Chisun breakfasts but alas no bacon-wrapped asparagus this time. Oh well, three days in a row of takoyaki is nothing to complain about :):)

Breakfast bar at Chi-Sun Shin-Osaka
Breakfast bar at Chi-Sun Shin-Osaka 

Checked out and wandered up to the station and got some reservations for the next Hikari at 10:13.

So sat on the train for the next three hours. Didn't get to see Shiny - it was covered  in clouds again :(

Crossing the Fuji River
Crossing the Fuji River 

Shiny is hiding behind those clouds over there
Shiny is hiding behind those clouds over there 

Freeway bridge on the side of Mount Ashitaka
Freeway bridge on the side of Mount Ashitaka 

Office buildings in Shinagawa, Tokyo
Office buildings in Shinagawa, Tokyo 

Arrived in Tokyo and switched to the Yamonote line to Akihabara. Was exceedingly excited to be back. Felt a bit like we'd never left, especially since the station is still under construction heh :)

Yamonote Line train arriving at Tokyo station
Yamonote Line train arriving at Tokyo station 

Akihabara!
Akihabara! 

Colourful buildings in Akihabara
Colourful buildings in Akihabara 

Big Apple building in Akihabara
Big Apple building in Akihabara 

Denny's!  We had a couple of breakfasts here
Denny's! We had a couple of breakfasts here 

Harbour Bridge in Akihabara
"Harbour Bridge" in Akihabara 

Canal in Akihabara
Canal in Akihabara 

Wandered down to our hotel and suddenly realised why we couldn't book the last one we stayed in - it doesn't friggen exist anymore - it's just a vacant block with some cranes and workers in it - freaky as!!!!

Former site of Green Hotel
Site of former Green Hotel 

View from our hotel room window
View from our hotel room window 

So after cooling off for a little bit we went down to put some washing on (Japan hotels rock by often having coin laundries, other countries should take note). These washing machines were simple as, not requiring you to understand Japanese to understand the intracacies of operating them! Win!

Washing machine!  Europe/UK should take note of this!!
Washing machine! Europe/UK should take note of this!! 

When everything was dried we got ready and headed out for a wander around Akihabara. Looked at a few places selling cables that might work with Stu's laptop. And Stu took fliers for various places :)

Dad would love all the old electronics in Akihabara
Dad would love all the old electronics in Akihabara 

Having your photo taken with the Colonel is the done thing ;)
Having your photo taken with the Colonel is the done thing ;) 

Streetscape
Streetscape 

Buildings on Chuo Dori
Buildings on Chuo Dori 

Chuo Line Train passing overhead
Chuo Line Train passing overhead 

Lights in Akihabara
Lights in Akihabara 

Lights in Akihabara
Lights in Akihabara 

We decided to have dinner and drinks at Cafe Moco which Gaelian had recommended. We had a cheesy hotdog thing which was huge and we ate it Lady and the Tramp style :) Was a good little place and we had a really nice long talk about *stuff* :)

Cafe Moco
Cafe Moco 

Interior of Cafe Moco
Interior of Cafe Moco 

Hot dog in Cafe Moco
Hot dog in Cafe Moco 

So kept wandering til we found one of the Maid Cafes that we had a flier for. There were three guys that were also looking to go there so when we were trying to figure out where to go I said let's just follow them :) I think they understood me cause they talked to us which was cool :) So went up the lift but the non-smoking floor was closed so the other guys said they were going to find somewhere different. I think we both were sad we didn't decide to follow them heh. Anyway we went in and it was bright and colourful, with the waitresses dressed up in cute sort of maid/cats ears costumes. There were several groups of people there, and a single guy as well. Stu said a lot of "otaku" guys go to those sorts of places to pay to have attention payed to them. We had a couple of drinks and I got a bit stressed that people on the next table were laughing at us but one of them came to talk to us. I think generally people were very impressed that the sweetie understood and was able to speak some Japanese (I certainly was :) ) They made a bit of a fuss of him because it was his birthday  and he had his photo taken with Meru-nya :) So a very very bizarre night but still quite fun :)

Stu and Meru-Nya
Stu and Meru-Nya 

Then came back here to blog and do computery things and have a couple of different Asahi beers. The aircon totally works in here, so will get to sleep with the doona tonight hurrah!!

Assortment of local beers :)
Assortment of local beers :) 

Geotagging - Day 4
Geotagging - Day 4 

Photos on the Canon: 52
Videos on the Canon: 3
Photos on the Sony: 71
Videos on the Sony: 9
Photos on the iPhone: 5
Steps walked: 6936
Yen Spent: 11159
Woke a bit before 8am. Only remember waking up once in the middle of the night so think I slept fairly well.

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

Takoyaki for breakfast!
Takoyaki for breakfast! 

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

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

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

Interior of Kyoto Station
Interior of Kyoto Station 

Astroboy!
Astroboy! 

Kimba!
Kimba! 

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

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

Kyoto Tower
Kyoto Tower 

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

View west from Kyoto Tower
View west from Kyoto Tower 

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

Taxis outside Kyoto Station
Taxis outside Kyoto Station 

Kyoto Station
Kyoto Station 

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

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

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

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

Ōi River at Arashiyama
Ōi River at Arashiyama 

Togetsukyō Bridge
Togetsukyō Bridge 

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

Canoeing on the river
Canoeing on the river 

Ōi River
Ōi River 

Canoes by the river
Canoes by the river 

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

Walking up Iwatayama
Walking up Iwatayama 

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

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park
Monkeys at Iwatayama Monkey Park 

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

Cooling off in the pool
Cooling off in the pool 

Looking across to Kyoto
Looking across to Kyoto 

Looking across to Kyoto
Looking across to Kyoto 

Baby monkey
Baby monkey 

Feeding time!
Feeding time! 

Feeding time!
Feeding time! 

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

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

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

Sagano bamboo forest
Sagano bamboo forest 

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

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

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

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

Early night tonight!

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


Geotagging - Day 2
Geotagging - Day 2 

Geotagging - Day 2
Geotagging - Day 2

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