Results tagged “Zoo” from Eurasia 2012

Have I ever mentioned that heat in hotels is a major pain? Overheated again last night. And woke up with the sun at 3:45. Grunt.

Bit of a slow start. I headed out a bit before nine to withdraw some money and pick up some supplies for breakfast.

So didn't get out of the hotel til a bit after ten.

Headed up to the Asahiyama Zoo, quite a good little zoo outside of Asahikawa. The enclosures for the penguins and seals (and other animals too) are well thought out and you get some *great* views of the animals. For the penguins there's a tube you walk right through their tank, like the sharks at Darling Harbour. And the seals have this vertical tube they dive through right in the middle of this room you walk through. Sometimes they stop in mid flight and nose the perspex, so there's all these people in a room with a seal floating the middle! Extremelly cool!!

The polar bears looked a little miserable in the heat (or maybe they were just bored). Only gripe about viewing them was you queue for ages in a dark stairwell for who knows what. Turns out there's a little "bubble" you can stick your head up in the middle of their enclosure. OK but not really worth waiting in the heat.

But yeah otherwise a great day and took over four hundred photos in four hours.

Then Japan took another opportunity to completely rip us off. We needed to get to Chitose airport, so programmed the GPS with either the back roads or the expressways. The expressways were 30km longer but a bit quicker, and it quoted us 2250 yen, according to the GPS for the tolls. OK so we did that. And then got quite disappointed that the speed limits on the expressways were 80 km/h .. ???? I thought they were meant to be 100. The road certainly would have handled it. But all the signs we saw said 80. Now it *might* have been that the 80 was only for temporary stuff, like lanes merging in, and the default limit was 100. But if that was the case it certainly wasn't obvious. Give me Australian speed indicators any day (which always make it clear what the speed limit should be when it changes). And give me Australian traffic lights too - everywhere else I've seen doesn't have nearly enough lights. Sometimes in Japan there's *one* light, which is pretty easy to miss. Europe was pretty bad too - there's nothing on the far side of the intersection, so pedestrians can't see what's being shown to the traffic coming. Anyway, where was I? Oh, Japan ripping us off again. The expressway from Asahikawa to Sapporo cost us 3800 yen!!! That's like $50 for 100km of road. Absolutely ridiculous. And for not much time saving either! We should have taken the back roads!!! Blah :(:(

But got out to the airport car rental place without any other dramas (filling up with petrol near the airport at a full service petrol station). Returned the car, and got their shuttle bus to the airport.

From there we just needed to find the airport hotel where we were staying the night. It's right in the domestic terminal which is pretty easy. Sadly no view of the planes from our side of the hotel.

Checked in, then went down to the airport food court to get some dinner and watch the planes while we ate. They even have free wifi! Win!

Then back to do photo stuff and blog.

Distance covered on the GPS: 209.4 km
Steps walked: 11793
Photos on the Canon: 406
Photos on the Sony: 26
Videos: 4

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