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Archive for April, 2012

I start my new job tomorrow, so that, coinciding with a flying visit from an American friend, was the perfect excuse to do some sight seeing in my last few days as a tourist rather than a tax-payer!

Jen arrived on Wednesday and after getting her settled and clean after 17 hours of travelling (LA is far too! who knew!) we headed out to the Tower of London. Because it’s made of WIN!

This time i took some good photos on my proper camera instead of the piss-poor phone camera photos i took last time. Not willing to say these are OODLES better, but they are better.

It was, unfortunately, raining, so the Yeoman of the Guard tour was not so much a tour as a hurried walk to the chapel where we got a half hour talk. MADE OF WIN. Our Beefeater was absolutely hilarious and very informative and a great speaker, creating a real sense of sadness at some points and tension as he told of the battle of Argincourt and other epic stories. I could honestly go to the tower just to listen to the Yeomen talk since i think i will hear a new story every time. As our Beafeater explained, he was a soldier (although he was actually a medic) and now he’s a historian. Pretty cool.

The view of the Tower

The White Tower from a window under the Bloody Tower (where they have the torture exhibit!)

What the White Tower actually looks like. Still haven't been inside... Next trip!

Where the Crown Jewels are kept. Saw them this time. My favourite was the MASSIVE diamond on the Queen Mother's crown.

The Memorial on the spot where Anne Boelyn and co lost their heads

So on Thursday we got off to a later start than planned, but we headed to the Natural History Museum. I have a feeling South Kensington is quickly going to become one of my favourite places, since i was already in love with the V&A and now have a massive love for the Natural History Museum too!

Such an impressive building (and diplodocus)

There was a FANTASTIC exhibition – Animals Inside Out. sadly no photos as they weren’t allowed, but also, i don’t want to gross anyone out! It was weird, an elephant cut in half, a sectioned giraffe, a dissected horses head, all fine… but the nervous system of a cat? totally weirded me out. I felt skeezed and completely fascinated all at the same time… So elephant’s heart? bigger than it’s brain. Goats? can have up to 3 kids and they fit together in the womb like one of those wooden puzzles. Hare brain? is in face hare-brained (ie, tiny). Shark livers? MASSIVE. it was all fairly awesome!

Didn’t take a lot of pictures in the rest of the museum … but did have to snap this one – as i’m pretty sure this is the LARGEST POSSUM I HAVE EVER SEEN.

what were they feeding it? check the numbat for size comparison

Also, did find out that opossums are in face marsupials – which i did not know. I was also TERRIBLY disappointed that all the big cats were off exhibit for research 😦

The blue whale was pretty darn impressive though

The scale is a bit off in this photo as was trying to get the giraffe in, but the blue whale takes up the whole room.

On Friday we headed out to Soho to a place called The Breakfast Club. I am a bit in love and this is quite dangerous given that it’s right near my new job… but the food is AMAZING and the atmosphere is very like something you’d find in Melbourne. (must add, Time Out has not let me down for good food joints yet!)

I didn't even mind all the yellow!

Jen wanted a proper English breakky… which is what she got. I personally had pancakes and bacon and it was AMAZING

Black pudding and all... and those potatoes? THE BEST EVER!

In the afternoon we headed back to the NHM since i needed to exchange the worst umbrella ever ™ for a new one. which hopefully will last longer than a day this time. We then went to the V&A to check out the British Design exhibit and have a general poke around. I STILL need to go back though! so much to see there! I also LOVE the shop there. picked up some lovely hand painted buttons!

From there we walked to Albert Hall, along Hyde park and then down to Buckingham Palace – proper sight seeing. I was fricking buggered at the end of it though, so we walked just a little further and ate delicious noodles at Wagamama in Victoria since Jen had never been there. we ended up ordering the same thing – hilarious!

The Royal Albert Hall

Hyde Park at dusk

The sun sets on Buckingham Palace

As we walked through Hyde Park corner I went to check out the Australian War Memorial i had been told was there. I will be very very busy on Anzac day, but it was a goodly reminder to take stock. It’s a very impressive monument, if simple. The back wall ‘weeps’ and all those words are actually made up of the names of Australian towns and suburbs, presumably those that suffered losses… I spotted Sydenham, Modbury, Woolongong, North Brisbane, Fraser Island, Torrens Island, Brighton… too many to take in…

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them.

So that was the last week… yesterday i stayed in bed, caught up on my shows and finished my Aeolian shawl (blogging it soon on my other blog) and today i will head to the shops and then go to the airport to meet a friend who is bringing me 13KG of STUFF! so excited!

Tomorrow i start training at Apple!! wish me luck!

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Today i did something a little different…

The lovely J+D invited me to go walking with them… they are serious walking enthusiasts and I was a bit dubious to be honest, but it sounded interesting. They are walking the Union Canal, from the Thames to it’s origin (i believe in Birmingham) a little at a time. They’d already walked from the Thames, up through Hackney, through Camden (probably the most famous point on the canals) and to Warwick Avenue. The best part about this walk is that at pretty much any time, you can leave the canal, hop on some mode of PT and finish up for the day… A perfect excursion for the faint at heart like myself.

So today I met J+D at Warwick Avenue (yes the Duffy song was in my head constantly) and saw little venice (very little, not really venice like at all), where we hit the tow-path (where the horses would have walked to tow the barges) and headed up river. I was informed by a friendly river-boater, that the canals are about 5 foot deep with slim to no chance of pirates.

There were many interesting sites a long the way and quite a bit of wildlife!

I like to think that this cat is watching these geese thinking... wow, that's a lot of dinner...

It was overcast, but not too cold. I kept all my warm things on without getting too overheated, but also didn’t have frozen ears or nose. It drizzled a bit and i did cave and get my umbrella out (my raincoat is still in transit!) but didn’t really need it. But it is definitely spring…

It’s a bit hard to see in this photo, but at one point the canal goes OVER a ROAD (and a river, but that actually wasn’t as impressive as you would think.) This is where we walked over the north circular (i think that’s what road it was. It’s a massive motorway regardless).

I did take a little video – let me know if you want further proof.

At Perivale, we did some ‘serious’ walking. There’s a very large hill – Horseden Hill – that’s very old and well preserved for all sorts of reasons. we climbed to the summit (i climbed a stile!) and J explained all about the trig point and the mapping of the UK and we looked at planes taking off and landing at Heathrow, had a cuppa and enjoed the very fresh air. The tops of hills are QUITE chilly!

It really didn’t feel like being in one of the world’s largest cities. felt VERY rural. Here are some bluebells!

And this… well, this is London!

All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable walk. I was a little tired (ok, quite tired) by the end of it and I’ve since had a rest and a soak in a hot bath. Sadly my knee did not enjoy the walk as much as i did, so i may not be able to join J+D on further canal adventures, but it was definitely a different side of london and now i REALLY want to go on a canal houseboat for a holiday!!

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