Results tagged “Walking” 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: ?
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: ?
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: ?
Woke up by Stu's phone buzzing at 5:30 and couldn't get back to sleep :/

Breakfast - same.

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

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

Buckingham Palace in sunlight
Buckingham Palace in sunlight

Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight
Queen Victoria Monument in sunlight

Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight
Buckingham Palace gates in sunlight

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

London Eye
London Eye

London Eye
London Eye

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

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

Charing Cross station
Charing Cross station

The Thames
The Thames

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

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

Guys taking photos of themselves
Guys taking photos of themselves

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

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Tower of Big Ben
Tower of Big Ben

Clock tower and Westminster Abbey
Clock tower and Westminster Abbey

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

Waterloo Station
Waterloo Station

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

Interior of Tower Bridge
Interior of Tower Bridge

Tower of London
Tower of London

London office buildings
London office buildings

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Looking up the Thames
Looking up the Thames

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

Looking down on the road
Looking down on the road

Furnaces
Furnaces

Engine room
Engine room

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

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

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

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

Tower of London
Tower of London

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

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

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

State room
State room

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

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

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

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

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

Tower of London
Tower of London

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

Canons
Canons

Tower of London
Tower of London

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

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

The Leaky Cauldron!
The Leaky Cauldron!

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

And then back to the hotel to collapse.

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

Geotagging - Day 13
Geotagging - Day 13


Photos on the Canon: 443
Photos on the Sony: 40
Videos on the Sony: 1
Photos on the iPhone: 2
Steps walked: 16056
Pounds Spent: 148.57
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
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
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 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