Results tagged “Harry Potter” from Eurasia 2012

So today started beautiful and sunny. I thought I might do a Thames River cruise first up, but it had already clouded over by the time I was going out, and it was raining by 9am :(

So my first stop was Aldgate so I could get a photo of Whitechapel Road for the Monopoly collection.

From there I was going to tube it over to Angel, but after looking for a "you are here" on a bus stop I realised there was a direct bus. I'd never been on a London red double decker bus before, so decided to do that. It took ages because it went through city peak hour traffic, but was still fun.

It was freezing cold and raining by this point. Blah.

Actually left Angel and went and found 12 Grimmauld Place (Claremont Square). Highlight of the morning heh.

Then back to Angel to get a photo of the station, and signs that said Angel Islington.

Considered walking to Kings Cross to get more photos of the platforms, but decided against it and went to Marylebone station instead. So my collection of Monopoly streets is complete. Except for the electric and water utilities.

Walked back to Baker Street to take photos of the Sherlock Holmes museum.

Then into Regents Park. The maps were a bit crap and didn't show you that the garden in the middle is one big dead end. So more walking there than necessary.

And onto the zoo. The whole experience was pretty meh. Certainly not helped by it raining the entire time I was there. So most of the animals were hiding from the rain. And they were doing all sorts of constructions all over the place so there were dead ends everywhere which meant lots of unnecessary walking :( So got my Harry Potter pics of the reptile house (although they're doing rennovations and I think they've blocked off the exact tank that was used. I'd have to see the movie again to check. Went into the butterfly room at one point but had to leave again pretty quickly because it was so hot and humid that my glasses and camera fogged up instantly :( Dread to think of how much condensation got in and stayed in. Pity too because it looked like there were heaps of cool butterflies. The penguins were very cool, but didn't stay for feeding time as really needed to get away. On the way to the part of the zoo on the other side of the road I noticed there was a canal boat ride to Camden. I tried to go for it later but it had either gone early or didn't come at all. So ended up having to walk.

Next stop - Westminster Abbey. I was worried about long queues, but only had to wait a couple of minutes. There's an audio guide (read by Jeremy Irons - yum!) which is reasonably decent, but certainly doesn't cover everything. Missed out on seeing the chapter house because they were setting up for a jubilee exhibition. You can take photos in the cloister area, but not in the abbey itself :( but did sneak one through the front door as I was leaving.

Then next door to the Jewel Tower. This was part of the old old Westminster Palace built around 1365 to house Edward III’s treasures and one of only two buildings from the medieval Palace of Westminster to survive the fire of 1834. The first floor has an exhibition about the history of the British Parliament, and the top floor has a bit more history on the building itself. I'd never heard of this building, and only went there because it was "free" with the London Pass and right next to the abbey. Apparently a lot of Londoners don't know about it either.

So now it's 5pm and the sun is starting to poke through the clouds :/ I thought I didn't want to go back to the hotel just yet if the sun was coming out. So went and found somewhere to get some food to wait a little longer.

Then went down to the river to see about a river cruise. Decided I'd do it, but just missed one. So wandered up to Cleopatra's Needle.

Then back for the last ferry of the day to Tower Bridge. Quite a nice little ride even if the sun wasn't really out. But it did shine on Tower Bridge right at the end which was pretty special.

And hotel, photos, blog, bed!

Distance covered on the GPS: 39 km
Steps walked: 29077
Photos on the Canon: 261
Photos on the Sony: 62
Videos: 3
GBP Spent: 15.40

Busy day in London today, but on paper it doesn't look like all that much.

Breakfast was super late today - 8:00!! I woke up at 5:23, so got up and spent some time organising what I'll be doing for the next three days.

After breakfast I headed into town and out to Elephant and Castle to walk down to Old Kent Road to add to my Monopoly street signs collection. I walked a good way down the street before I gave up and headed back (it seems this place suffers from the same problem as other places - they don't label the main road, only side streets). But then on the side of the overpass was a sign! Yay!

Headed for Tower Bridge, getting there around 10am. And there was sun! And the Tower of London wasn't behind white sheeting.

Thought I'd go rephotograph The Leaky Cauldron mark II before heading for Monument. But on the way I walked past the London Bridge Experience. It was on the todo list for another day, but it was just there and there was no queue out the door, so decided to just go in then. I had no idea what to expect. I guess I was expecting more of a museum. So the "experience" was all a little ridiculous. And the "tombs" was kind of like Inifinity on the Gold Coast, except with "scary" stuff, and guys running around yelling boo essentially, but with far too many sudden loud noises for my ears. You have to put your hands on the shoulders of the person in front and trundle through in a little conga line. Silly silly silly. I'm glad it was "free" on my London Pass otherwise I'd have been pretty disappointed. And it wasted an hour of perfectly good sunlight :/

Went and got my photos of the Leaky Cauldron, then walked across the Southwark bridge, and went and found Monument. It was getting a bit cloudy at this point :( But climbed the 311 steps anyway. Took some photos and continued.

Walked up to Leadenhall markets to get a photo I missed last time of the area of the first Leaky Cauldron.

Headed for Bank station, but it seemed like all the lines through it were shut down for the day. Decided it would be easier to walk back to Monument station. Except then I waited and waited for a train to High Street Kensington. So gave up on that idea and decided to go to Gloucester Road instead.

From there walked up to Kensington Palace. Got to walk through the big front gates this time (last time they were working on the gardens and the entrance was closed and you had to go around the other side behind the garden). Going in was a little confusing about where you had to actually go to get in. But got in, and the things you see are all off one central room. So went and saw the Diana exhibition (just a few of her dresses not seen on display before), then the "King's State Rooms" which were the most impressive, the "Queen's State Rooms" for Queen Mary II, and an exhibition called Victoria Revealed which had a whole lot of memorabilia from her life. There was a lot of stuff there and you could have spent ages looking at it if interested. And the best thing: you can take photos of it all!!

Decided I'd walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park rather than taking the tube so that I could go up Wellington Arch, which closes at 5pm. I got there at 16:32. Guess what time the place *actually* closes? 16:30. So the buttplugs wouldn't let me in :(:(:( And the place isn't open the next two days, so I missed out completely :(:(:(

So I did the only thing a sane person would do - got depressed, gave up on the day and went back to the hotel. Via KFC.

Distance covered on the GPS: 25.2 km
Steps walked: 26027
Photos on the Canon: 189
Photos on the Sony: 57
Videos: 1 (?)
GBP Spent: 5.58

Dear Travel Agents,

When people ask for a window seat on aeroplanes, it's because they want a view of the ground, NOT THE FRICKEN WING!!!!

Not happy.

So anyway.

Up at stoopid o'clock (4:40am, although I'd been awake since 4:00). Breakfast, checkout, and off to the airport.

The other couples all went their separate ways, although did run into a couple of them in my wanderings. Made use of Cairo airport's free wifi (thanks Cairo!).

And then off we went. I was depressed about my seat, so put on some movies. The EgyptAir 777's entertainment systems are pretty good. Nice touch screen, and several options for the GPS maps. Even between-seat dialling (which I didn't use because I didn't know anyone on the plane heh).

I watched Midnight in Paris first up. Knew absolutely nothing about it, so quite enjoyed it, even if it was all a bit silly and extreme coincidences.

Then watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which I also really enjoyed seeing a second time. Still a few things about the movie I disagree with (having just reread the book didn't help).

The alps looked stunning. Have I mentioned how much wing seats suck?

Our approach to London was "interesting". I swear air traffic controllers are just playing Flight Control on their phones, and our planes follow their paths..

So after reading an article DC sent me about the queues at Heathrow, I was fully expecting to have to wait hours to get through immigration. But when I walked into the hall it was practically deserted! Win! So getting through the airport was a breeze. Changed my leftover shekels into pounds (noone in Egypt would do it), although could probably have gotten a better deal in a bank. Then did the long walk to the tube station.

Got to my hotel and checked in. Perfectly adequate hotel, although no safe, and breakfast doesn't start til 7am, 8am on Sundays. And a little too warm. But I have a lovely view of the gardens opposite, and it has free wifi!! Seriously why can't fancy hotels do this??

Pretty much headed straight out again to go pickup my London Pass before the office closed. That was in Leicester Square, so wandered up to Piccadilly Circus, which we'd somehow missed out on doing last time.

Then down to Trafalgar Square (Nelson's column was in sunlight!!).

Past the visitor's entrance to the Ministry of Magic (they were doing construction work last time we were here - turns out they've put in all these bollards along the footpath).

A quick look at the Household Cavalry museum from the courtyard, that we'd also missed seeing last time.

A walkby 10 Downing Street, because last time for some reason I thought the Prime Minister's house was on the other side of the road.

And ended up at Westminster station, where I think I found the escalator used in Order of the Phoenix (there's a *lot* of escalators at Westminster station!) as well as taking another pic of the entrance gates used in the movie.

I really only came back early because I didn't know what time the laundromat closed. Otherwise I would have kept wandering! It was so much fun with such nice weather and lots of people about being Friday night.

So grabbed my washing and loaded it up. Only twenty minutes for a cycle which is pretty good. So I wandered up and down Earl's Court Road looking for somewhere to have dinner. Did the drying, and went to a Chinese place. Had something I haven't had in a month - pork!! It was pretty good, but too much meat and not enough veggies. My bowels *won't* thank me for that!

Then back here to blog and do photos.

Distance covered on the GPS: 3712.5 km
Steps walked: 15005
Photos on the Canon: 19
Photos on the Sony: 163
Videos: 2
EGP Spent: 10
GBP Spent: 18.40