A Travellerspoint blog

London the second time around

overcast 16 °C

London this time around has been much more successful. We have been staying in Parson’s Green, right beside the tube station. We are literally the closest house to the station but in the house it is surprisingly quiet. The general plan is do galleries, museums, markets or other free activities in the day and help out with Paul and Renee’s house and go to events, music, theatre etc at night.
We have seen a few museums and galleries and all the national ones are free to get in so are great for us. We visited Abbey Road made famous by the Beatles, Camden markets and a few other landmarks.
In the evening we went to Stomp, a West End production, and it was great. Tap, body percussion and rhythm. Very tight, well choreographed and entertaining. We saw some open-air dance and a production of Helen of Troy. We are going to the Proms at Albert Hall and The Merchant of Venice. We have to make the most of all the theatre and music there is around.
Max has had a friend visit from Norwich where we spent the last month. He and Helena did their own sightseeing including the giant ferris wheel called the London Eye with great views over London and the markets. It is more interesting to do things with people his own age apparently.
Paul and Renee had a big birthday/house warming party here, so there were lots and lots of Kiwis and Aussies. There are Australians everywhere in London but we hadn’t met many at all before this. It is funny, the English can’t tell the two accents apart but it only takes a few words to know. We could almost sit back and look at the party as outsiders, notice the different accents and cultural differences the Australians and New Zealanders have compared to the English, and appreciate the friendly, relaxed and easy-going nature. You can only see it when you have been away from it for a while.


Posted by dworgan 02:39 Archived in England Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Dress Ups for Big People

sunny 18 °C

The UK is steeped in history – there are ruins of castles everywhere, everyday buildings date back hundreds of years before Australia was even settled. The oldest pub in Norwich where we have been staying was built in 1242! And the English really love their heritage. In particular they like to recreate the old days and during the summer there are medieval re-enactments all over the place. These include the clothes, food, tools, weapons, occupations and sometimes even the battles.

We went to a re-enactment day at Castle Rising Castle (yes that’s its name). It was great. A group of devoted followers of British history were all in costume, and playing the parts of various people in the village – the lord, the priest, the notary (writer), the archer, the cook, the musician. They were having lunch when we arrived – all authentic with wooden bowls and goblets, bone spoons, and some rather nice looking baked food. After that we could talk to each person about their part in the village etc. They stayed in character all the time and it was very interesting. As a highlight to the day they staged a battle – complete with knight in full armour (we watched him get dressed and that alone took 30 minutes) and 6 archers all firing rubber tipped arrows at each other. They were a bit short on numbers but we got the idea and it was very entertaining.

Wooden swords and bow and arrow set were on sale and every kid seemed to have one so at times it felt like you were in the middle of a battle too with arrows flying about. Those sorts of toys are not encouraged in Australia but they are all the go over here because it is history.

Posted by dworgan 07:29 Archived in England Tagged events Comments (0)

Scottish Highlands

semi-overcast 15 °C

I loved Scotland – the cities, the castles, the tall stone buildings, the hills, the lochs, the heather, the sheep and the accent.
Edinburgh was fascinating with its maze of overlapping streets and tall stone buildings, the turrets and towers on ordinary buildings and the masses of chimney pots. The place oozes history – battles, plague and witches. JK Rowling comes from there and we saw where she used to sit to write the first Harry Potter book. The view she took in and places she created are just what she could see and the inspiration for the Hogwarts School. Sean Connery, Ian Rankin and Muriel Spark the authors, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also come from there.

But further north through into the Highlands to the heart of Scotland you get to the untamed hills, moors and lochs. It is like stepping onto the set of Monarch of the Glen. It is very picturesque - every view is a pattern of purple heather, moss covered stone walls, lush green fields, blue lochs and dark green forests. It is wild, unchanged and beautiful. There are distilleries everywhere and unique Scottish ales in the pubs. I could stay there much longer. The villages are stone, small and quaint, and the people are friendly and just a little crazy which probably comes from living in such an out of the way and extreme place – who else would have national sports of caber tossing, hammer throwing, haggis tossing and wellie tossing – all wearing kilts!


Posted by dworgan 05:24 Archived in Scotland Comments (1)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

So much to see

semi-overcast 13 °C

Edinburgh would be an interesting place at any time of the year with its tall stone buildings and amazing castle perched on a rocky crag – but especially when they have their festival.
The FRINGE Festival alone is enormous and over-whelming. There are hundreds of performances covering music, theatre, dance, opera and lots and lots of comedy. There are some great permanent venues, and a lot of purpose made venues. Shows run from about 9.30am to 4.00am in some locations and 1000s of people come from all over the world to join in the fun. I have heard more Aussie accents here than anywhere in Europe. The performers also come from all over the world including Tripod (who Max saw), Adam Hills and Sammy J from Australia.
The city takes on a very theatrical atmosphere with actors doing their stuff, ghost tours, witch tours and performers on every street corner. There are fantastic buskers everwhere – wild Scottish clansmen playing bagpipes and drums, suit-wearing Korean wrap dancers, fire juggling tight rope walkers, people juggling chainsaws, clever magicians, a vacuum cleaner playing a sax, and acapella singers – and they are all free or just a donation.
Over 3 days we saw some fantastic shows. Terrific dance from Czech and England, excellent theatre comedy from Korean and England, great stand up comedians from Australian and England and some good Spsanish and Scottish music, as well as a few pretty terrible comedians (English!) - but on average we managed to see more good than bad.
But for anyone who is interested in going to the Edinburgh Festival don’t be tricked by the fact that it is held in summer – it has been freezing and wet. It didn’t dampen anyone’s sprits though.
We also found a great and cheap place to eat at the Mosque Kitchen, behind the mosque. Meat or veg curries and rice or nan bread for just 3 pound. So with breakfast provided at the hostel and a big curry each day, we managed pretty well.


Posted by dworgan 04:47 Archived in Scotland Tagged events Comments (0)

This is not the way to see London.

overcast 18 °C

Make sure you book train tickets more than a week in advance to get discount fairs; make sure you have a good map or guide book; make sure you have spare camera batteries; make sure it is the right day for the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace; make sure you buy tickets for the theatre early before either the ticket office closes or the tickets sell out or both, make sure that free events listed for a week are really going to happen everyday; make sure that the train tickets you have are transferable to later times without additional cost.

We didn’t.

So we had a very long, tiring and quite expensive day in London without getting to see or do much. We did see some of the mounted horse guards, the outside of a few landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Cathedral and Big Ben. We walked across Tower Bridge, caught a tube or two, went to a pub and came home. Covent Gardens were good though with very entertaining buskers, even a very heavily tattooed one from Australia, and the Thai restaurant had nice food but very strange decor - and it didn’t rain.
It is hard work being a tourist especially with the exchange rate so bad for us at present. The information available on the net is not always accurate and without any local knowledge it is quite hard and frustrating getting around.

Horse_guard.jpg tower_bridge.jpg busker.jpg Max___Jeff_London.jpg

Posted by dworgan 13:02 Archived in England Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 53) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »